David Lai is the founder of Hello Design. His creative agency has helped build and execute digital strategies for companies like Sony, Nike, and Toyota. In his youth, his father told him, “We only have 24 hours a day. It’s what we choose to do with that time that defines us.”
Tips on How to Scale Your Business From Successful Entrepreneurs
The difference between a small business or startup and a successful and profitable company typically boils down to time and experience. But, there are certain factors that play a big part in how those companies grew to be successful — things like timing, having the right people, focus, and intensely hard work.
Even though statistics, researchers, and the media tell you that the odds are stacked against you and the probability of failing is high, there are plenty of opportunities to succeed. One of the best ways to steel yourself against the hard times and tough decisions is to look at successful entrepreneurs and CEOs who have already blazed those trails.
They’ve learned the hard lessons and are willing to share knowledge that you can apply to fuel sustainable growth. Here are some insights from a few of them who learned how to overcome the odds and successfully scale their businesses.
Why is scaling a business important?
Scaling a business is important to grow sales, reduce costs and maintain customer satisfaction. Sales growth doesn’t automatically equal profit growth. If you’re adding sales staff as quickly as you’re adding new customers, you’re expanding costs as quickly as revenue. Improving and standardizing sales processes, however, allows the same number of staff to make more sales while investment in infrastructure ensures all orders are met. The goal is to increase revenue, not costs.
Anticipating what your company needs to grow efficiently and effectively can lead to more sales, profit and customer satisfaction. Planning ahead will help ensure that expansion goes as smoothly as possible. This is true not just for small businesses but also for larger incorporated businesses looking to expand to the next level.
When are you ready to scale?
Scaling a business isn’t something you need to do right away. If you’re in the infancy stage of the business cycle , you need to set a solid foundation before you start to think about scaling. First make sure that you have a product or service that will make your business talkably different from others and that you are filling a certain client or customer need. You have to continually add real value that creates raving fan customers . And you’ll need a solid business map and the determination to make your company a success. Only then can you move on to answer the question, “ What does it mean to scale a business? ”
Some organizations will scale more easily than others. Businesses with less physical inventory and low operating overhead are more scalable because you won’t need to build infrastructure or even invest a lot more money in order to scale. This is why tech companies are able to grow so rapidly. But you don’t have to be a tech company to be able to scale like a pro. There are tips anyone can follow for scaling a business mindfully.
Tips for scaling a business
1. Transform your mindset
Scaling a business really centers on your strategy and mindset , which are much more important than your sales model, industry or current business phase . Scaling requires flexibility and problem-solving so you’re able to overcome any obstacle you encounter. To achieve explosive business growth , you must develop the mindset of a champion. This doesn’t mean achieving perfection – it means accepting failures as stepping stones to success. With an attitude of mindful scaling and a thorough understanding of best practices, you’ll be set up for business success.
2. Get the right tools
3. Learn the key metrics for scaling a business
Every business owner must eventually stop wondering “ What does scale mean ?” and take massive action. Start by digging into the numbers. As with everything else in business, scaling – and whether you are doing it successfully – is measurable. Here are a few metrics you can look at:
Customer acquisition cost (CAC):
Lifetime customer value (LCV):
4. Focus on the customer
It’s a common adage in business that acquiring a new customer costs five times as much as retaining an existing customer. Because scaling a business is all about efficiency, customer retention becomes as vital as gaining new customers at this stage. Delivering on what your customers want is the only way to keep them coming back – and keep your acquisition costs down.
How do you know what they want? Ask them, and make sure you are listening to your customers , not falling in love with your product and ignoring feedback. Do your research and create buyer personas so that you’re targeting high-value audience segments . These strategies will allow you to direct your dollars where they will provide the most return and help you scale successfully.
4 tips for successfully scaling your business, from 4 real-life businesses
1. Have a plan for setting up new employees and offices
2. Make sure you have airtight IT support
Whether you have your own IT team or have an outsourced solution, they have to be heavily involved in any scaling program—you can’t afford downtime or glitches when you’re opening new offices or onboarding a big group of new employees.
Using cloud solutions can take some of the burden off of your in-house IT team, since your provider is responsible for the software, and allow them to focus on supporting your employees instead of a bunch of different apps and tools.
That was the case with Enova Community Energy’s IT team, which was tasked to help the company support a remote work transition. They were fully involved in every aspect of that move, from making sure voice quality on calls was good to helping their contact center team stay compliant.
“Within 30 minutes of speaking to Dialpad, our first operator was providing service to our customers. Within 3 hours, seven operators were up and running without any training… We can grow painlessly on Dialpad and have a reliable system that allows us to be a virtual company.” – Ian Smith, IT Manager at Enova
3. Use software or a platform that scales easily
As well as automation software, you’ll need scalable comms for internal and external conversations. Team members need group messaging, task assignment, and file-sharing—and your customers and stakeholders will want the convenience of communicating across various channels.
It makes sense to choose a unified platform (like Dialpad) with all those tools in one place. You don’t have to toggle between different apps, and teams can work from anywhere since everything’s stored in the cloud.
SaaS solutions are also easy to scale. The subscription model makes it simple to add extra users and features, while paying one monthly fee—and you can integrate existing apps for things like CRM, accounting, and marketing. It’s like having multiple toppings on one delicious pizza.
For example, when ClassPass had to open up new offices around the world to support virtual classes globally, they used a phone system that let them spin up new user accounts and phone numbers in a matter of minutes. (Yes, minutes.)
“The biggest driver was the sheer list of countries—the fact that we could expand where we were going to expand and Dialpad basically had it all. The long list of countries we had expanded to and intended to expand to in 2020 was all there.” – Randy Tanenhaus, IT Manager at ClassPass
4. Evaluate your finances for easier budgeting
Apps and tools
There are so many apps out there—if you keep adding new ones, it’ll prove expensive and unwieldy. It’s best to subscribe to one platform incorporating the tools you need, plus integrations with your favorite apps.
If you’re implementing a phone system fit for the 21st century, you may want to upgrade your equipment, although you can adapt existing analog phones and computers for VoIP. The benefit of cloud-based platforms for scaling businesses is that you don’t need to pay for or house hardware or wiring—just the affordable monthly or annual subscription fee.
“Because of Dialpad and Salesforce, our team is able to pack up our laptops and continue providing the 7-time Stevie Award-winning service no matter where we are… We’re saving roughly $3,000 a year.” – Jeff White, CRO at Rocket Matter
New hires and promotions
For example, say you run a contact center or support team. With Dialpad, you can create coaching playlists with call recordings that are good learning opportunities and share them with new hires to listen on their own time:
👉 Dialpad tip: And of course, don’t forget about your marketing. If you’re scaling, you likely are doing okay on a few channels, but make sure you have a plan for things like social media, webinars, podcasts—you should be aware of whatever channels your customers and prospects are on regularly.