If you are thinking of scaling your business the first thing to consider is: How is your business doing? Do customers really want what you have? Marketing guru Dan Kennedy famously said, “If your business stinks, the last thing you want to do is get the word out about it”.
So once you are content that you have sound business foundations, together with products or services that your customers want, it’s now time to consider what steps you can take to start your scaling process! It is key to think big, act bold and create a scale up plan!
Step One – The Team
It is essential that you have the right team. This will not only be the immediate team around you, but also mentors, business connections and collaborations. It is often who you know in business, so do capitalise on your connections and their networks.
All of these key players will assist you in setting and achieving your goals.
It is not possible, as the business owner, to be a master of all and everything to everyone, so recruit the best to compensate for your weaknesses. You need to identify your strengths and then look to the areas you need to address. If you are great at operations you may need to invest in a dynamics sales manager. However, if sales is your driver then you will need to ensure you have an operational master to ensure your orders are fulfilled and customers kept happy. Don’t forget you need to have someone watching the numbers!
If you’re able to recruit, bringing in new faces could breathe new life into your firm. Pick the right people and they can bring fresh ideas that could make yours a much more efficient and profitable business.
Remember while you and your team focus on the core day-to-day activities, you are the leader and visionary – you need to focus your attention to working on the business, not just in it!
Step Two – Existing Customers
Many businesses focus on how to get more customers, forgetting they have a target market with their existing customers. This is a mistake.
New customers can be costly and time consuming to acquire. Investing time in enhancing your existing products and services or developing new products and services to offer to your existing customer base can have an immediate impact on your revenue and profit margin. It is also important to make sure all your customers, old and new, are aware of all your products and services. Try to upsell at every opportunity. Why not reward your customers’ loyalty? This will make them feel appreciated and valued.
They cannot buy if they are not aware.
Step Three – New Customers
Make sure you undertake market research when developing new products and services. You may know what your existing customer base requires; however, new customers may be looking for something different. Offer new customers incentives to buy from you whilst ensuring high levels of service to encourage them to stay. Set monthly new sales targets and track your progress.
Step Four – Growing Your Revenue
Consider your location. Would it be beneficial to relocate or open another premises in a different location? A cost analysis would be critical to ensure this is cost effective, and this is where your finance team comes into play. Your business mentor, accountant and internal finance manager will know your numbers and also have an objective view of your plans.
Diversification can also improve and increase your business. Are there products and services that complement yours? This may involve investment and risk, but if it works it can reap rewards. Research is key, analyse what your competitors do and how you can do it better.
Also examine your sales channels. Can they be expanded? Can you find new channels? Do you sell online? If you are an online business, can you sell offline? If your business has a strong brand, proven products or services and your success can be replicated by others elsewhere, you may be able to franchise or license your products or services. These are all questions a business mentor may assist with.
Another question to ask is could your business target new customers overseas. Organisations such as Open To Export, the Department for International Trade and British Chambers of Commerce offer assistance to UK firms seeking to grow their business through exports. The EXPORTING IS GREAT website is also worth a visit, however, you may need to seek guidance on taxes and professional legal advice.
Step Five – Your Public Profile
It is essential to ensure your website is a true reflection of your business. Customers want to know who you are and what you do. It needs to provide your customer with at least the basic information they require. Your website is your shop front – if your customers are turned off or have difficulty navigating your site they will not return.
Social media and social media marketing is a great way to promote your business. Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites allow you to attract, engage and retain customers. Not only can you sell to them, you can also offer information about your subject area and provide great customer service.
LinkedIn is a great channel to not only attract and connect with customers but also make professional business connections, which can lead to commercial opportunities. It is also an avenue to find potential new employees.
Step six – Money
In order to scale up you will need money to finance your growth. Check out our article Navigating the myriad options in the world of Alternative Finance and if you’re looking for funding for your business, get in touch with us.
Don’t lose focus; revisit your scale-up plan – do focus on where you want your business to be!