You outgrew your spare room. Then you outgrew the garage. Now you’re ready to shed your coworking skin and branch out completely on your own.
This is an exciting and, frankly, overwhelming time for you and for your company. There are a lot of details to manage and if you don’t manage them well, you could put your company behind the eight ball.
Here are some techniques to help you avoid making mistakes that can cost your company time, money, and energy.
1. Scaling Your Operations Management
Managing your company’s operations was relatively painless when you were working in the same co-working suite. Now that you’re on your own, operations are going to get a little bit more complicated.
The Enterprise Resource Planning tools you choose are going to have a huge effect on your day to day life and profitability. If you’re not sure which methodology is right for you, start by comparing two ERP software giants in the field to see all that these tools have to offer.
Then,deepen your exploration of tools depending on your unique business requirements (e.g. do you require a distribution or manufacturing-focused ERP system).
2. Fake It Till You Make It
There comes a time when being the “scrappy little startup” stops working in your favor and becomes more of a hindrance. Most often the transition happens once you’ve become reliably profitable and your small/closely knit workforce starts feeling overworked–and not in a good way.
This is when you need to start convincing people that you really are one of your industry’s more important players. And while you might not be Fortune 500 yet, you need to look as close to that as you can.
You can find some simple ways of doing this: growing your social presence, content, statistics and market psychology to make it look like you’re further along than you are.
3. Anticipation Trumps Reaction
When you’re scaling your business, you need to anticipate future growth-related issues and figure out plans to deal with them…before they happen.
For example, if you currently manufacture products or send physical goods, you’ll need to find a way to accommodate the increase in demand. Will you be able to afford a larger warehouse space and the employees needed to keep everything running on time?
We don’t mean are you pretty sure you’ll have the profit to cover these operating expenses. We mean do you already have enough saved up to cover these operating expenses for at least six months to a year?
If you don’t have that in the bank already and demand is already increasing, you should start looking into drop shipping companies or outsourcing your manufacturing and shipping procedures. Yes, outsourcing is a dirty word but outsourcing doesn’t have to be a permanent solution. You can use it as a stop gap.
4. De-Personalize Your Employee Pool
We understand: you love each and every one of your employees. You want to build an atmosphere of positivity and trust. The problem is that, as you scale, you’re going to need to hire more people. And, while we would never encourage you to see those people as expendable, if you want your business to be successful, you’ll need to take a step back.
In a larger business, it is vitally important that the wheels keep turning even if you lose a member of your team temporarily. If you allow personal attachment to get in the way of your hiring practices, you’ll risk your productivity.
A great way to reduce the amount of time you spend finding new team members is to work with recruiters. These are professionals who can help you expand your workforce quickly and reduce the amount of time you spend searching for, interviewing, and vetting potential employees.
5. Objectivity is Profitable
As the braintrust behind your business, it’s understandable that you are attached to it. You worked hard to build your company and perfect your product or service line. Unfortunately, as we’ve already suggested, this level of attachment isn’t exactly healthy for the scaling process.
If you’re new to scaling and expanding companies, hiring a consultant or advisor is definitely worth the investment. These are professionals who can objectively evaluate your company’s strengths and weaknesses.
They can help you play to your strengths and fortify areas that need improvement, without your having to pause your company’s productivity. Good consultants can help you expand your business and increase your profit margin.
The expanding and scaling of your business is an exciting time and it is something you should be proud of doing. Use these tips to help you keep from making the mistakes that have tripped up so many other startups as they’ve gone from scrappy to established.