No matter the type of business you operate, there will come a time when you need to upscale. This is every entrepreneur’s dream, but it’s an often fraught process with many pitfalls. Getting it wrong can be costly, but these short tips should help you stay on the right track.
#1 Is the timing right?
Trying to upscale prematurely can have a negative impact on your business. Think carefully about why you need to upscale. If you’re receiving more orders than you can fulfill, it might be time for expansion. Similarly, if you exceed profit forecasts every quarter, then the chances are that you’ve outgrown your current model. Other factors, including a loyal customer base, a stable team of employees who are committed to the business’s “vision”, and a growing market, are all reasons to consider expansion.
#2 Do you have the right software?
Software is the backbone of a business, and that’s never truer than when it’s expanding. First and foremost, you’ll need to increase the scale and scope of your IT network. That might mean upgrading to a faster connection; it might even mean segregating the network using a VLAN. Cybersecurity is another area you should pay special attention to. Make sure that you’re running all the latest security patches, both for your sake and your customer’s. As the business grows, so too does time pressure. Software designed to streamline payroll will save you hours and also ensure that you never miss a payment. An effective payroll is crucial as your workforce grows, so this software is always worth considering. Elsewhere, everything from emails to customer support and IT updates can be fully automated.
#3 Leverage social media
An expanding business must increase its marketing budget to reach new customers. Marketing can be expensive, but all too many businesses neglect social media as a way to reach people completely free of charge. While it’s true that social media algorithms have been cutting down on organic (free) reach for years, there’s still a lot of value to be eked out by the clever marketer. Establishing a routine post schedule, using the correct hashtags, building relationships with your followers, and mixing up content all lead to higher reach. Businesses don’t necessarily need to pay for social media adverts, so it’s always worth dedicating at least one person or even a small team to your company’s social media presence.
Also Read: The Power of Virtual Employment
#4 Hire new staff (but do it strategically)
Your team will inevitably grow with your business, but you should be selective about who and where you hire. Rather than hiring with numbers in mind, look to plug gaps and weaknesses. Perhaps your customer support department is buckling under the strain. In that case, hire there. Maybe fulfillment is struggling to cope with an influx of new orders. Let the unique shape of your business dictate who you hire and the positions that you seek to fill. When it comes to the hiring process, experience is important, but seek out candidates who understand and are invested in your vision for the company. These will be assets and likely remain for the long haul.
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