A transformation of a startup to a market leader requires a lot of time and effort. If you feel like you’re ready to grow into something bigger than a startup, it’s time to scale. In this post, you’ll find out when it’s better to scale up and how to prepare your startup for scaling up.
Growth vs. Scaling
Firstly, you have to understand the difference between scaling and growth. The term growing means that a company’s profit and expenses grow at a similar pace. However, scaling doesn’t trigger an increase in expenses. It means that you’ll get the highest profit with minimum investments.
What’s the Right Time for Scaling Up?
The most important step in scaling up is to catch the moment when your startup is ready for it. In this section, we’ll go through 4 signs that your company is ready to take this step.
You Achieved Previously Defined Foals
When launching the startup, entrepreneurs have blurry predictions about the revenue, further objectives, and costs. That’s why they gather information during the development of the project and set goals according to this data.
But when they see that the project met their expectations and all the goals are achieved, it’s time to scale up the startup.
Rapid Increase of Customers and Income
Finances are another crucial point in scaling. Before scaling, you have to answer several questions:
- Am I able to invest a part of revenue into scaling without risks?
- Do I have enough money to save my company in case something goes wrong?
If you’re in doubt, you have to think through your resources clearly. Create a list of all the expenses. Then calculate your profit and decide whether you can spend the required amount of money. Keep in mind that the scaling up won’t bring immediate profit. It’ll need up to 4 months to pay off.
If you’re using business software, you have to make sure that it can handle the load of expanding the client base. Scaling up will lead to storing more information. That’s why if your software is meant to deal with small tasks, you’ll have to invest in upgrading it.
Your team is the basis of a startup’s success. Analyze your employees. Will they handle new tasks? Do they have passion and ideas for your project? Some of them may be good at current tasks. However, it may be a chance that they won’t deal with the new workflow. If that’s your case, think twice before scaling up.
Preparation before the Scaling Up
If you already know that your startup is scalable, then it’s time to find out more about the preparation phase.
Develop Right Strategy
Your startup needs a fine and simple strategy. Firstly, outline your startup’s strengths, weaknesses, and prospects. Then, according to this information, set goals for certain periods of time. If you’re struggling to define the objectives, it may be a good idea to contact experts.
Invest in Technologies
Labor intensive startup can’t call itself scalable. We’re living in the digital age, so you have to streamline as many work processes as possible. CRM systems can help organize the data about your clients. There’s a variety of turnkey solutions, but you can also consider a custom CRM software development that will match all your needs.
After scaling up, it makes sense using the ERP system. Enterprise Resource Planning is a reliable assistant in terms of business data, workflow reports, and planning. It also lets you access all the data at any time and any place.
Small companies and startups often hire the services of outsourced development teams. This approach allows you to save money on in-house employees. Let’s imagine that you want to build a custom ERP system. Hiring a team of developers is a long and expensive process. Outsourced software developers can build a product of the same quality for a lower price.
What’s the point of scaling up if no one knows about you? Think about the ways how you will reach out to your potential clients.
The advice is obvious — focus on marketing. There are different types of marketing, but not all of them may suit startups. Direct marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, and influencer marketing are the most promising approaches for a developing company.
Branding plays a vital role in the client’s perception of your company. If you still don’t have a website, it’s high time to build it. Attractive websites inspire client’s trust. Adorable design, together with the right marketing strategy, will definitely help you gain new customers.
Scaling the startup requires hiring more employees. In-house teams should perform essential tasks. For secondary assignments, hire the services of an outsourced development team.
Employees should do the work that machines can’t. Otherwise, it’s a waste of money and human resource. Finally, employees should be multifunctional. In terms of saving resources, one person should handle several tasks.
Startup Should Function Without You
A truly scalable startup brings profits without your actual presence. Employees and software should work in symbiosis while you can rest or work on other projects. Try to take a deliberate absence for a few days. That’s a great way to make your employees more independent.
How to Save Resources?
To save human resources and finances, you have to approach the following areas carefully.
A number of startups failed because of poor financial management. It’s the most difficult challenge in the scaling process. Be responsible with money and invest in necessary improvements.
Don’t get carried away with hiring personnel, especially when it comes to hiring non-core specialists. When starting a scaling process, focus on essential areas, everything else can be outsourced.
When you realize that your product fits the market, it doesn’t mean that you need to develop new functionalities. At first, gather reviews and adjust the product to your customer needs.
Scaling Up a Startup: Companies’ Experience
Now, let’s overview a couple of examples of scalable startups.
Ecochain helps companies get the highest profit from investments by estimating and monitoring the ecologic and economic impact of resources within the company and the supply chain as a whole.
This company has only 35 employees, but with the rapid scaling, they managed to streamline sales processes, operations, and development.
Squla is a company providing e-learning services from the Netherlands. It was founded by André Haard, who scaled up this project from a startup to a self-sufficient company. Now, a dedicated team is expanding Squla internationally. The target audience also expands because Squla provides services up to the K12 age group.