Scaling a business can sometimes be confused with growing a business. Though there are similarities between the two, there are also key differences:
Common mistakes made by businesses trying to scale include doing so too fast or too early – such as when a new business is still establishing its core goals/product lines/customer profiles.
Before diving in with an ambitious scaling plan, it’s important to really understand the market you’re operating in. Consider the current health of the economy: in times of recession, consumers watch their spending more closely which you should factor in when exploring new opportunities.
It’s also important to research your competitors. Knowing what they’re offering – and just as importantly, what they’re not – will help you identify where your business can meet gaps. A great place to start is with a competitor analysis. Our guide to conducting a competitor analysis (with free template) will show you how to uncover market trends that can influence your scale up strategy.
You need to really understand your target customers to identify growth opportunities. A good place to start is by analyzing your current customers’ behaviors:
These questions will help you identify the most effective route(s) to acquiring new customers.
Though scaling up your business emphasizes increasing revenue with minimal investment in resources, there are some areas where you will need to spend. It’s about strategically allocating resources – time, money, technology – to where the biggest Return on Investment (ROI) will be achieved. Once you have defined your priorities for scaling, you can balance that with your budget – whilst not neglecting your existing core activities. Automating and outsourcing jobs are things to consider, too.
Automating your logistics processes can support your business as it scales. For example, inventory management software uses predictive analytics to help you better forecast demand surges and automatically order new materials from your suppliers when needed. This means you’ll never face stock outs or missed sales opportunities. Meanwhile, automated picking technology in your warehouse can increase the number of products packed and shipped out to customers per hour.
From autonomous delivery vehicles to artificial intelligence, these are the technologies that can help your business meet demand as it scales.
A big part of scaling up your business involves improving existing processes. This includes:
Turning your employees from good to great will have an impact on your business’ bottom line. As your business scales up, motivated and proficient employees will help you meet increased demand. You may identify skill gaps amongst your existing team which you will need to fill in order for your business to meet its growth goals.
It can be tempting to get carried away with plans for your new business, especially if it has enjoyed a successful start. But scaling too early or too fast comes with several risks – such as being unable to meet demand – which will impact the quality of the experience you give customers.
To know whether your business is truly ready to scale, ask yourself these questions:
Remember, it’s better to do things slowly and get it right then rush ahead blindly! Scale in stages. You should create a detailed scaling plan, with small and measurable KPIs along the way.
With attention and resources diverted to scale, it can be easy to get caught up in numbers, revenue and profit. Yet, sustainable business growth is about more than that…
The key to long-term success is:
Feeling inspired to take your business to the next level? With a DHL Express Business Account, you’ll have dedicated advice and support from the small business experts.