One thing that’s scarier than starting a business is growing one. The truth is that many entrepreneurs will end up stunting their own growth, instead of making necessary changes for expansion. From exploring new markets and investing in technology to improving global presence with VoIP 800 numbers for business telecoms, there are many ways to scale up. However, fear of failure can often prevent business owners from taking the plunge.

 

Think of your business as a seedling. To begin with, it needs delicate nurturing – just the right amount of food, water, light, and heat. As your seedling transforms into a plant, it needs to be re-potted to grow to its full potential. Sometimes dead leaves need to be trimmed, and unruly foliage needs to be cut away. This is all just an inevitable part of learning how to scale your business. If you want to do it safely and effectively, follow these 11 tips as backed by industry experts.

 

 

1. Put Time into Planning and Research   

Poor planning can be detrimental to even the most promising of business start-ups. If you want to know how to scale your business effectively, you need to plan your growth every step of the way. That being said, if things change, there’s no need to stubbornly stick to your business plan just because it’s on paper. You should follow official documents, but with some flexibility.

 

Business plans should be reviewed at least once a year so you can make minor tweaks. A good plan should also be well-researched and thorough, so get as much feedback as possible from experts in your field.

 

2. Assess the Risks of Scaling

 Some common risks to scaling a business are poor cash flow, getting caught in tidal growth, strain on resources, exposure to legal problems, and increased risk of cybercrime. Therefore, risk assessment is necessary for every type of business.

 

Ted Bilich, CEO of Risk Alternatives LLC, drives home the importance of having a risk assessment in place: “Small businesses run on tight margins, which is why they need to be alert to the risks before threats overwhelm them or opportunities pass them by. Taking a risk inventory, by getting their core team to identify threats and opportunities throughout the organization, can make the difference between failure and success.”

 

3. Learn From Your Competitors

Knowing your competition helps you differentiate yourself in a saturated market. More importantly, studying industry leaders and analyzing their road to success will give insight on how to be successful yourself.

 

Your research can be as basic as finding out the number of staff to give yourself an idea of resources safe for scaling. Research can also be more in-depth, such as studying business models and getting under the skin of a brand.

 

 

4. Spend on Data-Driven Marketing

Marketing is always a worthwhile investment. But some marketing techniques are more measurable than others. If you’re worried about time and resources and need tangible results, data-driven marketing can be the perfect solution.

 

Examples include using demographic data in your advertising, targeted email campaigns, A/B testing for retail websites, PPC advertising, data-driven vouchers, or analyzing rates of conversion. These techniques can help you scale your business in a quantifiable way, allowing you to manage and measure your rate of growth.

 

5. Increase Productivity

Scaling a business is about achieving growth without the need for additional resources. This means recruitment will be on the backburner, and your teams may be at risk of being overworked.

 

To avoid this, you should create processes and introduce working methods that can boost productivity.

 

Shawn Breyer, owner of Breyer Home Buyers, says: “As businesses, we tend to not take the time to sit down and write out checklist procedures for all of our major tasks that are performed in our business. The issue with this is that if you have five different people performing a task, then they are most likely doing it five different ways, wasting time and getting varying results. As business leaders, we need to have our teams focus on creating these guidance documents so that we can train our current employees and new hires coming in as we scale up.”

 

6. Address Customer Service Issues

­­If you want to know how to scale up a service business, you first have to work on your customer care. Research tells us that 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service.

 

Bad reputations are destructive, especially in the digital age. Consumers are more likely to share bad experiences than good ones. If you don’t address problems and mistakes, you could find yourself dealing with negative reviews that are visible to the public.  To avoid this, review call recordings, ask for customer feedback, and make sure that your service reps are fully equipped to resolve issues when they happen.

 

It’s also important to understand the shift in how customers reach out when you scale your business, particularly with online retail. More and more customers prefer to contact brands through social media, and they expect a fast response no matter where you are based in the world. Customer services teams should be trained to respond via social platforms, and it’s worth getting 800 numbers for business sectors where B2C communications need to be international.

 

7. Don’t Just Focus on New Business

Businesses in the midst of scaling tend to focus their time and energy on new business. However, according to Vince Massara of The Content Friends, making the most of the customers you already have comes with many benefits.

 

He tells us why: “By finding the riches in your existing client list through referral and retention systems, you can scale your business without gambling on new advertising. For example, did you know that while most businesses list referral as one of their biggest lead-generators, over half do not have a referral system in place? For every referral, a customer’s lifetime value essentially doubles, yet we leave it all up to chance and unsolicited referrals.”

 

8. Stay On Top of Technology

Research by Forrester reveals that 42% of customer service representatives are unable to efficiently resolve customer issues due to disconnected systems, archaic user interfaces, and multiple applications. So falling behind the times can be harmful to the interactions you have with your customers.

 

To make room for growth and to scale your business, have at least the basics in place such as a scalable phone system to handle a higher volume of calls and a sophisticated IT infrastructure for improved connectivity and security. These are all vital elements of scaling a business successfully.

 

Beyond the basics, you should think about the importance of mobile presence and other technological advancements. According to stats, global e-commerce revenue is projected to hit 669 billion US dollars in 2018, a huge rise from 184 billion US dollars reported in 2014.

 

Technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices, Virtual Reality (VR), and automation shouldn’t be ignored either. Automated processes can be particularly important for industries such as manufacturing, packaging and shipping, retail, finance, and healthcare.

 

Amy Radin, author of The Change Maker’s Playbook: How to Seek, Seed and Scale Innovation In Any Company, says: “Expect to continue to adapt and anticipate. Scaling may feel like an end point, but it is also a new beginning. No business sits still. Success is temporary in a world where change makers must continue to imagine and move towards the next horizon line”

 

9. Spend Time on Social Media

Social media is an important platform for advertising and communication, particularly in B2C markets. For retail, potential customers will seek information about your brand or shop through Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. They might check out your Instagram to see what your products really look like, or search YouTube for reviews and demonstrations.

 

According to Nate Masterson, CEO of Maple Holistics, there’s even more to using social platforms: “This isn’t just a way of keeping up with your customer. Social media should be used to learn more about your target audience – who they are and what they like. You need attention to detail but connecting with your customer is an important aspect of any business.”

 

10. Scale Your Business Internationally  

 With a good web presence and international phone lines, you can market your product anywhere in the world without the costs of physical relocation. This makes scaling overseas easier than it’s ever been.

 

VoIP 800 numbers for business are a great way of showing customers that you cater to people in their country. These toll free numbers work virtually by forwarding all calls to your main office. Not only does this save on relocation costs, but you can make the most of existing resources without expensive recruitment. And, because they’re free to call, you can make your brand accessible to your customer base worldwide.

 

To retain international customers, make sure you have multilingual operators, and check that all of your mobile apps and web pages are translation-compatible.

11. Be Careful with Rapid Scaling

Entrepreneurs are often interested in how to scale a business quickly. However, do this too hastily and you can enter dangerous territory. If you want to know how to scale a business fast, you must first slow down.

 

Daniel Wachtel, Founding Partner of Harbour Capital Partners, shares his advice: Scaling up slowly protects you from changing economic cycles because you won’t be stuck with so much inventory that you’ll eventually have to sell off at a discount.”

 

Talking about stock and inventory, he also added: “My advice is to know your market, know where it is heading, prepare for the worst, and gradually build up. You’ll see within a month or two if you need to buy more.”

 

To find out more about scaling internationally in a low-cost way, visit our page about virtual 800 numbers for business.