All businesses start small, but the best don’t stay that way for long. There will arise a time when you need to scale your business up by hiring new staff and investing in infrastructure. It can seem like a intimidating process, but the correct strategy can guarantee years of continued growth.
If you are running your own business usually means that you’re dedicated, passionate, and have utter faith in your work. Those are admirable qualities, but they can sometimes lead business owners to rush ahead with expansion when the time isn’t quite right. Before you scale up, consider the following criteria. Have you met and exceeded your previous goals? Is your cashflow reliable and are sales dependable, every quarter? Is your infrastructure (digital and physical) robust? Are you turning away clients and opportunities because you aren’t big enough to handle them? If your business fulfills some or (even better) all of these criteria then it might be time to take the next step on the rung.
You won’t get a better opportunity to invest than when you begin to upscale your business, and technology is the best place to start. Technology lowers costs and makes it easier to take the next step. Look for innovative solutions that cut down on manual labor and automate everyday tasks. Shipping, sales management, manufacturing, HR, accounting, and much more can all be fully automated with the correct software. Bolster your cybersecurity to prevent costly breaches and hacks. Integrate your computer systems so that employees can communicate cross-platform for more efficient day to day running. Investing in new technology early can give you an advantage in the market and it should always be a top priority.
Benefits including health and dental care are a prerequisite for a business that’s growing from small to medium. Not only are these benefits ethically important, but they’re the best way to attract highly trained employees and keep retention rates high. Employee benefits can seem myriad but you should (at the very least) offer health care, a retirement plan, and life insurance. Without these, you won’t be able to compete with bigger businesses and employees will simply look elsewhere. Rather than tackling benefits individually, many businesses nowadays streamline the process using an employee benefits platform that consolidates them in one place and handles all the accompanying administration. This saves time and makes your newly upscaled business much more efficient.
It stands to reason that if you’re expanding you’re going to need new staff, but don’t hire simply for the sake of it. Look for areas that will need additional support after the expansion. That might be in customer relations, it might be in shipping. You might even need a dedicated in-house IT support team as you install and maintain a brand new network. By the time you expand you should have a good idea about which areas of the business are under strain. Be selective and hire staff to cover those weaknesses rather than adopting a blanket approach. Remember that when a business expands it doesn’t just grow, it also changes shape.