Written by Neil Hammerton, CEO and Co-founder, Natterbox
Starting a business can be a big risk, but it becomes hugely rewarding once it is up and running successfully. Unfortunately, though, the challenges don’t stop there. Once your business is on track, slowing down is not an option: it’s time to scale up.
Just because your start-up is successful, doesn’t necessarily mean the scale-up will be – although it certainly helps. A number of challenges can come with scaling up a business regardless of leadership, business model or industry – and it often differentiates between the business processes that are capable of scaling with it, from those that aren’t.
I have been on this journey myself, and it’s certainly not over. Throughout that time, I have overcome and enjoyed some of the ups and downs that come with growing a business. I’ve also learnt some tips and tricks along the way that I think are invaluable for any new business owner.
Believe in your own instincts
When scaling your business, it’s important to surround yourself with the right people and connections so that you are ready to take the leap.
But as important as it is to listen to others’ advice, what really matters is to do what you believe is right, because what others tell you to do might not be what makes the most sense to you. Everyone has their own process for doing something, but not all of them can be right. In fact, it’s likely that none of them are ‘right’ if they attain the same end result – but some can certainly be more efficient. If you believe a process can be streamlined, or even that a greater result can be achieved, then figure out how. Naturally it can be hard to change the status quo, but being brave and willing to take risks is what will make you stand out from the crowd.
Don’t let your business get left behind
Everything around us is constantly changing, from market conditions and consumer demand, to quick paced developments in technology. With so much shift in working conditions, no business will ever stay the same, especially as it grows.
Sometimes a small tweak to the business trajectory will be enough to keep up, but other times, a bigger adjustment will be necessary. Whatever the scenario, with the right skills and staff, you shouldn’t be afraid to change track; it simply comes part and parcel of owning a business and working in any new field.
Work to attain the unattainable
Whatever field someone decides to pursue, new or old, everyone has the potential to achieve their best possible potential – but only if working toward the right goals. Granted, working towards attainable goals can be rewarding when you achieve them, but it’s the ambitious goals we set ourselves that will drive us forward to reach our true potential.
As the saying goes – always reach for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll go amongst the stars.
You’re the face of the brand
Customers, partners, potential employees – they are all human, and humans always need a bit of H2H (human to human) communication. As such, it’s of the upmost importance that your partners (individuals or organisations) are able to see a face behind the brand, so that they can develop a real connection with it.
Your personal brand is a way of reinforcing your views and what you stand for, and ultimately what your company stands for. Make sure that others hear it, whether that’s through speaking to a wider group at a conference event or starting small and taking it one person or business at a time.
However, bear in mind the words of Stacey Cohen, CEO of Co-Communication, “Personal brands aren’t reserved for CEOs. A company’s rank and file employees should capitalise, too.” As such, it’s even more important that you hire staff with values that you believe in, who can amplify their own personal brand and form a connection with customers on the front line.
Knowing your place
The minor details of the business are important – if one thing fails, a domino effect will follow. But a founder, CEO or manager’s job is to hire staff to focus on these day-to-day details of the business’ running’s. You need to focus your time on the bigger business objectives and those actions that are going to move your business forward, not let it stagnate.
The force is with sales
It’s all well and good ensuring that your business is running well internally, but it means nothing without a robust sales force that will ultimately act as the backbone of the company. Ensuring this team is in place will allow the business to attract a faster growth of new clients, win larger brand names and see existing clients grow their usage of your business.
Everyone will ultimately have different experiences when scaling their businesses, especially in today’s consistently changing economic climate. But I believe the above will remain consistent for anyone embarking on the journey. As such, learning to take risks and setting ambitious objectives will do very well in setting anyone on the right path to making a success of their business growth.