A lot of customers come to us wanting to scale their business. Others are looking for extra support or struggling to keep up with the uptick in customer demand as they grow. As a company that supports businesses through every stage of development, we want to share some insights that can help safeguard you against some of the problems business owners face during the transition to growth.
1. Invest in processes now. Save on resources later.
Whether you’re a natural planner or tend to avoid planning at all costs – you don’t want to have to reinvent the wheel every time you deliver a routine service. We all have processes that need to stay organic and flexible but it’s the repeat processes that tend to take up a lot of time and money. Formstack (2023) found that the average organisation that uses Workflow Automation tools, can save up to $46,000 per year. Start by mining and defining the ‘things’ that are costing your business on a regular basis. Perhaps you’re lost in budget tracking or swimming in head hours. Then, optimise your processes by using Workflow Automation systems such as Zapier or Integrately. These tools are great at helping business owners measure their Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) and Customer Acquisition Cost (CTC) ratio. By optimising these processes now, you’ll be in a far more manageable position once you scale.
2. Know your brand values. Build your business.
It might sound a little ‘Marketing 101’ but creating a clear set of brand guidelines including a brand vision and mission will give you the confidence and insights you need to build your business. Some call it a brand bible, others a brand book – whatever it is, your brand guidelines are a crucial component of any business strategy. They’ll help you communicate, sell and nurture your brand within your team and to prospective clients. After all, clients aren’t going to buy into your business if they don’t have an in-depth understanding of your brand. We have a lot of customers who refer to their brand guidelines on a daily basis to ensure they’re producing consistent, high-quality outputs. This way you’ll be better positioned to manage the rise in work demand once you scale.
3. Know your customer. Actualise your target market.
For many businesses, a high-growth phase starts when they begin selling to fewer customers. This doesn’t mean fewer sales – it means selling your services to more of the right people. Begin researching your target market and start fleshing out your customer profile with characteristics like their buying habits and experiences. Your customer profile will evolve over time as you acquire more information about your target demographic. Once you know who you’re selling to, you’ll be able to streamline your services and tighten up your communications. Never assume you know all there is to know about your target market (it’s an easy trap to fall into).
4. Choose the right people. Develop a shared value set.
When you’re a Solopreneur, you have control over your brand values, your brand persona and your work ethic. However, the old adage ‘there’s no I in team’ holds true – no matter how big your team is, you cannot scale your business alone. Choosing to work with the right people with complementary skills to you is key. Start by identifying your own strengths and non-strengths to see who you need to onboard in order to strengthen your business and develop your business offering. Evaluating the capabilities within your team will also help you understand your own business values and your mission (ahem point 2…). Then focus on communicating your brand values and expectations around your product or service in a way that all team members can understand. This way, you’ll have a whole team who can vouch for your business and communicate your shared value set once you scale.
5. Nurture your team. Build a healthy business.
The key to building a successful business is nurturing your team. It sounds like a no-brainer but so many businesses fail to look after their people. We’re not talking about the way you pitch your business to clients or market your brand externally. We’re talking about actionable steps you can take to invest in your team. McKinsey (2022) found that effective communication can increase team productivity by 20-25%. To build relationships with your team, it’s important that business owners show face (whether it’s in-office or on Zoom). Start by scheduling weekly or fortnightly team meetings and invest in one-on-one catch-ups to ensure your employees feel seen and heard. When you’re struggling to find free time, remind yourself of the healthy culture you want to build and the high retention rates you can achieve in the long term.
6. Know your limits. Have an Exit strategy.
So you might be thinking, why would a hungry entrepreneur want to exit their business baby? The short answer is, having an exit strategy can help you manage your personal boundaries. Start by building an exit strategy with clear, steady goals you can work towards. So many of our customers are focused on acquiring partners and pushing user numbers. While these are both vital, having an upper-acquisition limit in mind will help you manage the other 101 smaller business decisions you need to make before you reach these goals. These figures will help you stay grounded and help you make more informed business decisions before you grow your business and during the entire transition to growth.
Ready to grow your business or looking for some additional support? Get in touch.