Are you planning on scaling a business? There really is no single way in which every individual business can be successfully scaled, but there are tried and tested steps that can help to minimise the risks and best lay the groundwork for potential success.

What is scaling a business?

Scaling a business is a way to exponentially grow your business to increase market reach and share, profitability, operations and overall expansion. 

While the terms “scaling” and “growing” are often used interchangeably in the context of businesses, there’s an important if subtle difference. 

A growing business means that your company is increasing in terms of size and output. You might be hiring more staff, producing more products and making more sales. In other words, you’re doing more and making more.

Scaling, on the other hand, refers to creating more substantial and sustainable growth that is not necessarily linear but actually produces outsized returns on investment. That’s why many entrepreneurs and business owners are interested in scaling their business. Nonetheless, it’s one thing to want to scale and another thing to know how to do it. 

How to scale a business in 9 steps

1. Determine your goal and purpose

Every business needs a goal and every scaling mission requires purpose. Part of your purpose may be to create enhanced customer loyalty or to increase the reach of your products and services across the market.

The easiest way to determine your overall purpose is to work out the ‘why’ of your business, in addition to just the ‘what’ and a ‘how’. Once you have worked out your why you can better focus on improving customer, employee and stakeholder loyalty. All three of which are integral for the success of your scaling endeavour. 

2. Put together a plan

Having a business roadmap is essential to keep you and your organisation on track and knowing what strategic moves to make to help realise your goal.

Your business map will encourage you to identify your strengths and weaknesses, as well as determine the opportunities and threats from the market. Part of your initial business plan probably incorporated financial projections, outlined marketing strategies, and defined funding structures. Your scaling business plan should reflect the same approach to ensure you know not just where you’re going but how you’re planning on getting there.

3. Consider your financial position

Businesses looking to scale are going to be incurring large operating and growth costs with (at least) delayed returns. This investment is likely going to require outside funding and/or financial solutions. While traditional banks have various facilities and lines of credit, non-bank lenders such as ScotPac, can provide an even more flexible, accessible and fast working capital solution.

4. Invest in human resources

Whether you’re opening new brick-and-mortar stores, factories or even working with remote and offshore teams, you’ll need a team behind you to help you scale. The more prepared you can be in determining who you need and what you need them for, the easier you’ll find the process of scaling your business.

As you’re establishing your team, you’ll need to consider how you’ll be structuring the management side of things as well as determining what sort of office or working space you need to set up. 

Learning to delegate is another component of investing properly and effectively in human resources. That way you can be freed up to focus on your specific tasks.

5. Ensuring IT support

IT support is no longer a luxury but a necessity. The larger your company gets and the more business you start to take on the more essential it is to have a robust and completely airtight IT network.

The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, accounting programs, communication channels and cloud storage and security you use are all basic yet essential components to a comprehensive IT network.

Scaling a business can put undue amounts of pressure on an IT system and if it’s not up to the task in terms of complexity or size, then you might find that the previously undeterred cracks cause unwanted issues down the line.

Remember that not all software and IT programs are designed to scale. That’s why it’s important to consider migrating to better or newer IT infrastructure if necessary before small problems become big problems. 

6. Focus on your offering

Whether you offer a product or a service, now’s the opportunity to truly perfect it. Make sure you’ve taken customer feedback onboard and that your market offering takes advantage of your competitive advantage.

There are a lot of growth pains inherent to scaling a business, so it’s best to ensure your product or service is one thing that you’ve worked on and perfected prior to turning your focus to the rest of your scaling strategy. 

7. Adapt your operations and procedures accordingly

Scaling a business requires thoughtful adaptations across the operational process. Your procedures should be as seamless as possible to maintain the growth you’re trying to achieve. The smoother your business’s functioning, despite or even because of your growth, the better empowered you and your business will be to reach its full potential.

Small issues in operational procedures in a small to medium sized business can grow to be rather catastrophic in the context of larger and scaled operations. 

8. Build your brand through marketing and networking

You’ll need more (or more loyal) customers to help fuel and drive your scaling business. Think about how your brand building can work to disrupt your chosen industry, entice new customers, gain market share and otherwise build your brand. From marketing and advertising to sales and business development, you’ll need to ensure that you have all your ducks in a row to help your business bring in the revenue it needs for sustainable and long term growth. 

9. Don’t stop innovating

While necessity might be the mother of inventing, it is also the mother of innovation. And all businesses need to continue adapting and innovating to ensure continued growth, brand awareness and longevity. 

Markets and customer sentiments change, competitors evolve and the general business landscape poses new and varied challenges. By keeping your business agile, your eyes open and your team open to improvement through change, you can best prepare for any necessary innovation and improve accordingly. 

Scaling a business? Speak to ScotPac!

ScotPac has helped businesses of all kinds and stages access fast and flexible funding. From fledgling start-ups to large and complex organisations, our many clients have benefitted from our expertise and experience as the largest non-bank lender in Australia to fuel their scaling ambitions.

Thinking of scaling your business but not sure how to secure the funding necessary? Speak to your local ScotPac office about the financial solutions available for you today!