Scaling up your business isn't about steady growth over time. It's about having a clear strategy for quickly expanding the business to achieve full-scale hypergrowth.
Most startups grow organically, adding customers here and there and gradually expanding over time. Scaling up aims to accelerate this process, pushing your growth to move beyond that slow, organic pace. To achieve this, every element of your business model needs to be reviewed, refined and systemised - so you have scalability built into the company from the ground up.
Systemise your processes and build scalability into your DNA
Scaling up is a fast-paced, hectic and transformative process for any business. But with the right planning, strategy and funding, the return on your scale-up investment can be significant. Systemisation is the starting point and the driver of your efficiency.
The aim of your systemisation process is to make the business ordered, standardised and efficient. Look at how the business works. Write down every process and operational action. Then see how these processes can be made as lean and effective as possible, and aim to make these operations easily repeatable - so they can scale on demand as the business grows.
If any processes can be automated, automate them. Automation is a key driver of productivity and efficiency, so make use of any tech that could help you get more streamlined.
Remove yourself from the everyday running of the business
This may sound counterproductive, but a big goal of a scale-up strategy is to make yourself redundant from the everyday business. If all the operational elements of the business have to pass through you, as the founder and CEO, then that limits your ability to scale.
Remove yourself from the equation, so the business can grow without your everyday input at the operational level. This allows the business to function without you, leaving you with more time to focus on the high-level strategic work. That's more time for business development. More time working on innovation. More time building relationships with customers and suppliers.
Expand your executive team and workforce
Once you've stepped back from the day-to-day tasks, your CEO role can become far more of a driving force behind the growth of the business. But you can't do this single-handedly. You'll need a close and trusted executive team to work with. Plus an experienced management team who you can delegate to. And an expanded workforce at all levels of the organisation.
As the startup evolves into scale-up, the business will become more complex and the workload will increase. To cope with this and keep the company running like a well-oiled machine you need a team who are ready for the task and fully on-board with your aims for the business.
Increase your operational infrastructure
Hypergrowth of the business means a greater volume of sales and work. To meet this demand, you urgently need to expand your operational infrastructure. That means looking at the size of your workspace. The amount of tech, equipment and machinery you have. And the ways you deliver your end product/service to your increased customer base.
The key here is to apply a LEAN methodology - keeping everything as simple and basic as possible, while also building in the capacity to deal with this increased volume of work. Get the operational procedures out of your own head and turn them into lean, seamless processes. And invest in the equipment and operational systems needed to cope with your increased output.
Look at investment and access to funding
To bring your scale-up plans to life, there's a need to invest heavily in the future of the business. You're likely to need new assets and equipment. Larger premises or multiple workspaces. More raw materials or stock. And a bigger workforce - which will mean a larger payroll each month.
You may be in the fortunate position of having plenty of spare cash in your reserves. But for most potential scale-ups, there's going to be a need for external funding. This could mean you and your fellow directors putting money into the business. It could mean approach lenders and business finance providers to take out a loan. Or it could mean looking for private investors to plough money into the business. Whatever the source of this additional funding, you a clear funding strategy to work from - a funding plan that's aligned with your scale-up plan.
Share your strategic goal and growth plan
For scaling up to be a success, everyone in the company must be on board with the idea. Make your growth aim and key numbers transparent, so the whole team is engaged and motivated by this common aim. And make sure you have a detailed scale-up plan that factors in the challenges of expanding your workforce, resources and operational infrastructure.
- WHY you want to scale and what the end goal will be
- HOW you will achieve this - and what the timescales will be
- WHO you need on board to make this work
- WHAT new assets and equipment will be needed
- WHERE the funding will come from to bankroll this plan.
If you're thinking about scaling up your established startup, please do get in touch. We'll help you build a viable scale-up plan, with costings, budgets and achievable targets to meet.