5 top tips on how to scale your business successfully

5 top tips on how to scale your business successfully

Your start-up is successful.  Business is good.  Another idea is brewing.  The inkling to start your portfolio has begun …

But before you can launch yourself into that initial phase once again you need to know how to successfully scale your existing business so it can continue to fund your future adventures in business.

Scaling a business is about more than just growing your sales and employing more people. To successfully scale, your business needs to be based on the right foundations which ensure it is equipped to deal with a continued higher volume of transactions. It will undoubtedly involve further investment and a good amount of time invested in strategizing for future success.

At Streamlion, we work with clients at all stages of building and scaling businesses so we thought it would be useful to capture our top 5 tips on how to scale your business successfully.

Top Tip #1: Start at the beginning

It’s all too easy for excitable entrepreneurs to leap over the initial stages of scaling a business and move straight to the increase in marketing or selling. Before that, it’s essential to ensure your business is equipped to handle this extra throughput. Not doing so could result in disappointed customers which, in turn, could seriously damage your reputation and put paid to any future plans for growth. Premature scaling is cited as one of the leading causes of startup failure.

The beginning is planning. Scaling a business is not the same as growing it. Scaling involves innovating your business model as well as your product or service. You need to invest time in working out potential new markets, back-office automation and funding.

Top Tip #2: The price of growth

Scaling a business effectively is never cheap. In fact, one of the most common reasons that startups fail to scale is down to funding. And funding a scale-up is an entirely different prospect to funding a startup so it’s essential to work with experts who can help with creating a sustained growth plan as well as helping you understand the transformations that need to happen to set the business up for a successful future.

Like scaling, finding funding is down to putting in the right preparation and demonstrating that your business is ready for change and growth.

Top Tip #3: Optimisation is key to transformation

To quote Einstein “If I had one hour to save the world, I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution.” Scaling a business needs the same approach; success is all about understanding how things work and how they need improving to cope with a larger volume.

Achieving automation and integration, which are the likely outcomes of optimisation, will likely involve technology. The happy fact is, there’s no shortage of packages, apps and products that can help make things easier. However, finding the right one for your business is critical.

CRMs, automated marketing, accounting and your overall IT network all need to come under the microscope at this stage.

Top Tip #4: A change of pace

Your business goals might be clearer but it’s a well-documented fact that change management needs careful handling.

As well as any team members involved, it’s well worth getting under the skin of your customer experience journey. Plotting out every touchpoint between you and your clients will help to identify any areas that might need attention prior to scaling. We use Customer Journey Maps to help our clients to see any areas of friction which might cause problems when scaled. Additionally, you can identify areas for investment, which could be wrapped up with the other areas that need funding in order to create the very best version of your business.

Top Tip #5: It’s not all about you

Creating a business is a little like having a baby, you bring it into being, nurture and help it to grow and, inevitably, you eventually leave it to stand on its own two feet. This time is now.

For a business to scale, it needs to be able to operate consistently based on the policies and processes you’ve spent so long on assessing and improving. You have options as to whether you outsource some of the regular activities, or whether you hire a team to run things for you. Either way, taking a step back for the first time can be daunting.

The key thing to remember is that you’ve invested time in getting things right, so your business is ready for this, even if you aren’t. It’s also really important to hire the right people – people you know share your values and will continue to inject enthusiasm and innovation into the business.

Finally, as with most things in business, successful scaling is also a mindset. By working with a strong team of advisers and having faith in your own ideas, scalability becomes infinitely easier.

How to scale your business – part two

How to scale your business – part two

Our last blog discussed the differences between – and challenges associated with – growing and scaling a business. This time, we want to share some tips to help you successfully scale your business.

Scaling a business is about more than just growing your sales and employing more people. To successfully scale, your business needs to be based on the right foundations which ensure it is equipped to deal with a continued higher volume of transactions. It will undoubtedly involve further investment and a good amount of time invested in strategizing for future success.

At Streamlion, we work with clients at all stages of building and scaling businesses so we thought it would be useful to capture our top 5 tips on how to scale your business successfully.

Top Tip #1: Start at the beginning

It’s all too easy for excitable entrepreneurs to leap over the initial stages of scaling a business and move straight to the increase in marketing or selling. Before that, it’s essential to ensure your business is equipped to handle this extra throughput. Not doing so could result in disappointed customers which, in turn, could seriously damage your reputation and put paid to any future plans for growth. Premature scaling is cited as one of the leading causes of startup failure.

The beginning is the planning. Scaling a business is not the same as growing it. Scaling involves innovating your business model as well as your product or service. You need to invest time in working out potential new markets, back-office automation and funding.

Top Tip #2: The price of growth

Scaling a business effectively is never cheap. In fact, one of the most common reasons that startups fail to scale is down to funding. And funding a scale-up is an entirely different prospect to funding a startup so it’s essential to work with experts who can help with creating a sustained growth plan as well as helping you understand the transformations that need to happen to set the business up for a successful future.

Like scaling, finding funding is down to putting in the right preparation and demonstrating that your business is ready for change and growth.

Top Tip #3: Optimisation is key to transformation

To quote Einstein “If I had one hour to save the world, I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution.” Scaling a business needs the same approach; success is all about understanding how things work and how they need improving to cope with larger volume.

Achieving automation and integration, which are the likely outcomes of optimisation, will likely involve technology. The happy fact is, there’s no shortage of packages, apps and products that can help make things easier. However, finding the right one for your business is critical.

CRMs, automated marketing, accounting and your overall IT network all need to come under the microscope at this stage.

Top Tip #4: A change of pace

Your business goals might be clearer but it’s a well-documented fact that change management needs careful handling.

As well as any team members involved, it’s well worth getting under the skin of your customer experience journey. Plotting out every touchpoint between you and your clients will help to identify any areas that might need attention prior to scaling. We use Customer Journey Maps to help our clients to see any areas of friction which might cause problems when scaled. Additionally, you can identify areas for investment, which could be wrapped up with the other areas that need funding in order to create the very best version of your business.

Top Tip #5: It’s not all about you

Creating a business is a little like having a baby, you bring it into being, nurture and help it to grow and, inevitably, you eventually leave it to stand on its own two feet. This time is now.

For a business to scale, it needs to be able to operate consistently based on the policies and processes you’ve spent so long assessing and improving. You have options as to whether you outsource some of the regular activities, or whether you hire a team to run things for you. Either way, taking a step back for the first time can be daunting.

The key thing to remember is that you’ve invested time in getting things right, so your business is ready for this, even if you aren’t. It’s also really important to hire the right people – people you know share your values and will continue to inject enthusiasm and innovation into the business.

Finally, as with most things in business, successful scaling is also a mindset. By working with a strong team of advisers and having faith in your own ideas, scalability becomes infinitely easier.

At Streamlion Consulting, we are experts in knowing and advising on the difference between growing and scaling your business.

Our scale-up workshops are designed to help entrepreneurs face exactly this type of challenge. We spend time looking at your business, acting as your trusted advisor to help you to make the decision that’s right for you and your business goals and aspirations. And we can then help find funding for this type of expansion.

If you’re interested in finding out more, contact Helen on helen@streamlionconsulting.com or call 07790 493033.

How to scale your business – part one

How to scale your business – part one

Your business is established.  Your customers keep coming back time after time, and they are recommending you to their friends.  It’s time to move to the next level.

When we look at the next level for businesses, we talk about growth and we talk about scaling.

But what does that really mean and which should you be doing?

The difference between growing and scaling

Growth is about increasing your revenue in linear terms.  You add resources, such as capital, people or technology and your revenue increases as a result.

Scaling on the other hand is when your revenue increases without a substantial increase in resources. You can expand without being hampered.

For example, take a food truck which cooks and delivers take away meals.

Business is good with lots of customers. The standard of cooking is high and all meals are consistently well made and delivered warm and on time.

If you’re looking to grow an obvious thing to do is to replicate what you’re doing with your first truck. You buy one or more new trucks and hire a different person to run that truck, cook the food, organise deliveries etc.

Your revenue will increase, but so will the resources to maintain that growth.  Resources that will often drain profits, time and energy.

Scaling: taking a different approach

If you scale, however, you take a different approach.

Scaling is about increasing revenue without incurring significant increased costs to the running the business.

It’s about finding ways of doing things more efficiently in order to keep the costs down and be able to grow faster than previously possible.

Think about these problems within the growth business:

  1. How do you maintain consistently high-quality food when you have many more trucks in different places with different people cooking?
  2. How do you manage the different food truck owners to make sure the deliveries are done effectively, avoiding longer waiting times and deliveries of food that’s not warm enough?

You’re stretched having to train 5 different chefs, the delivery drivers are inconsistent, and you’re limited in the amount of food you can supply for both take-away and delivery because it’s all coming out of individual trucks.

We need to start thinking differently.  To look at how the business can work with less resources, to be able to expand your current reach, potentially even reach new audiences, or unlock new markets without adding to the costs.

So with our food truck example, rather than replicating the model, we look at how else the business could run.

  1. Multiple food trucks: But the food is prepped in a central kitchen and then delivered just before service to be finished off.  This allows you to maintain high-quality food.  It can be cooked more quickly at the truck because it’s already been prepped and so you can serve more customers per truck.
  2. Delivery is conducted centrally: Rather than delivery drivers going to each truck, they go from one central location, where the food is cooked fresh.  Control over quality, control over delivery times and no distractions for those who are serving in the trucks.

Rethink the model and you’ll be able to grow faster than previously possible.

How Streamlion can help

At Streamlion Consulting, we are experts in knowing and advising on the difference between growing and scaling your business.

Our scale-up workshops are designed to help entrepreneurs face exactly this type of challenge. We spend time looking at your business, acting as your trusted advisor to help you to make the decision that’s right for you and your business goals and aspirations. And we can then help find funding for this type of expansion.

We are experienced and trusted by many of our clients to step in and help with this process as and when further scaling up means more funding is needed. We can give you the peace of mind that you haven’t missed anything when planning the future of your business by acting as your trusted business advisor.

If you’re interested in finding out more, contact Helen on helen@streamlionconsulting.com or call 07790 493033.

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