Every business starts with a good idea. You developed a new product or service from a unique idea. You found a way to enter the market and stand out from your competitors. You built a customer base by providing a product or service that beats what everyone else has to offer.
However, as time goes by, many businesses fail to continue their growth with scalability and instead grow without it. In fact, it is quite rare that a business is able to thrive and grow indefinitely in this way. Without scalability, growth limits growth.
A classic example of this could be an online retailer that sells household furniture. The seller could manufacture more and more product, however, without a better system in place, this seller cannot encourage repeat sales or expand their business into online marketplaces where more customers are waiting.
Growth vs Scaling in Business
In business, growth is growth: it is where a business has increased its revenue through expansion or other means. If your business is doing well and you acquire a new warehouse to better service customers in a different location, your business is growing. If you sign a deal with a big box retailer who will now be selling your products, your business is growing.
You get the idea.
So, what is scaling? Scaling is growing, but it is growing in the right way. Scaling happens when a business capitalizes on what it has learned (and continues to learn) to grow smarter. It is where a business increases its output and revenue more quickly than the effort put in or the costs incurred.
Returning to the warehouse example, scaling would occur when a new location is opened and begins operating. You start by hiring the staff you need to work in the warehouse, however, you don’t hire extra HR staff because the new team can be handled by your existing HR department. This is scaling—you are increasing output and revenue while incurring fewer costs.
Best Practices for Scaling Your Business
Any company can scale by streamlining its operations and planning for growth. In fact, this is where it all starts, with planning. And, for some companies such as early stage start-ups, planning is the only thing that they can do to scale, because growing too quickly can be fatal to an otherwise promising business.
Scaling is something that takes place throughout a company’s growth stages. It is not something that can be backdated nor forced. So, as you are working hard on the day-to-day, take some time to think strategically and imagine how you want your business to look in six months, a year, or even five years down the line, and think about the processes you are putting in place now will accommodate this.
Unfortunately, scaling a business is not something that can be taught. There are no instructions, nor is there a pre-defined process set in stone. There are many factors at play such as your industry, your growth stage, and even the time of year.
Still, there are four general ‘best practices’ that you can draw inspiration from.
1. Make sure your processes are the best they can possibly be
Streamline and standardize your processes to make them as efficient as possible. Not every single department needs its own hiring process, its own senior management team, or its own dedicated office. By keeping everything uniform, you create a more cohesive culture as well as keep things running efficiently.
Additionally, automate as much as possible. There are lots of basic workflows and job roles that do not need human capital working on them. From payroll to customer support and social media, there are lots of solutions you can use to automate entire workflows or certain elements of larger ones.
Not only do streamlined processes and automated workflows save you money, but they also free up the time of your workforce and allow more of a focus on the things that matter.
2. Consolidate knowledge and make it shareable
When your business is small, being a little disorganized is fine. If there are only a few people running a business, and they regularly see and communicate with one another, most answers can be received by a flying visit to an office or a quick phone call.
When more and more people join the organization, however, things get more complicated. Flying visits can’t always happen and phone calls aren’t always convenient… and that’s assuming that an employee who needs an answer to something knows who has this information and how to contact them.
With growth and scaling, it becomes essential to have all your company’s data and documentation (its ‘knowledge’) stored in one place that employees can access easily. Find a solution that does this for your business and implement it. Each moment spent centralizing and organizing business knowledge will save your staff time further down the line.
Also, consider looking into other software solutions such as org chart tools. Using an org chart, you can quickly and easily plot out your company’s staff structure in an easy-to-follow flow diagram-style chart. This makes it easy for your staff to know who’s who, where they work, what their responsibilities are, and what their contact details are.
3. Work to improve internal communications
This is particularly important for organizations that have dispersed teams and offices.
With the growth of the internet has come a whole suite of useful software tools and applications that can be used to facilitate good internal communications. Email platforms have become more sophisticated and can be used to do more than send messages, project management software makes projects more transparent and people accountable, and tools like Slack enable instantaneous global communications between people and teams.
Decide on your organization’s communications priorities and any problems it may have surrounding this and invest in the right technologies to make sure everyone can communicate with one another with ease.
Try Organimi for Free Today
If you like the idea of creating an org chart to paint a clear picture of your company’s structure, why not try out Organimi for free today
Organimi is the go-to tool for organizations that want to create intuitive organizational charts for use in the onboarding process and beyond.
Our cloud-based SaaS platform is easily deployable in companies big and small and can be customized to a high degree to allow for seamless use with or alongside your company’s existing tools, processes, and workflows.
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