Firstly, what does scalable mean?
Investopedia defines scalability as “a characteristic of an organization, system, model, or function that describes its capability to cope and perform well under an increased or expanding workload or scope.”
So, what does it mean to build a ‘scalable business’? To build a scalable business, you have to strategically build a foundation that can grow in tandem with your business success. A scalable business will be able to adapt to growing demands, with minimal disturbance.
Why is it important to build a scalable business?
Although operations might be running smoothly right now, your small business could blow up any time. It’s always better to be prepared for anything, especially when it comes to success. Think of scalability as preparation for success.
Imagine you get a sudden influx of customers, sales, or orders, far beyond your usual scope. If you’re prepared for the sudden growth you’ll be able to handle it and your business will continue flourishing. However, if you’re not prepared for the high demand, your business could suffer and potentially fail.
How to build a scalable business
Be strategic when hiring.
It might seem like an obvious tip to hire the right people. Startups and small businesses sometimes tend to bring their friends and family on board, or rely on their own solo entrepreneur – however, this is usually not the most beneficial strategy when it comes to a scalable business.
When hiring your team, think of the future of your business. You want to hire employees who will be able to help your business in the long run, and potentially take on a greater leadership role down the line when your business expands. If your business grows rapidly, you won’t be able to take on as much work as the earlier stages of your business. So, you need a team to delegate the core responsibilities of your business.
When hiring, there are a few things to look for. Firstly, a similar interest or passion in line with your business goals is always a great sign, as they’re more likely to stick with you in your mutual mission.
Also look for individuals who are reliable and trustworthy. This might be obvious, but it’s essential. When building your core team, you need to have faith in your employee and trust that they’ll do their best.
Finally, when building a scalable business team, you also want someone who has strong leadership skills. When building a scalable business, you need to have a team, or a team member, you can delegate the big tasks to. These individuals will have to take charge and make decisions, and potentially manage other team members or other aspects of your business. Hiring the right person can be the difference between failing and flourishing.
Create a Healthy Work Environment
Hiring the right people is one thing, keeping them is another challenge. If you’re looking to build a long-term team of strong, dependable staff, we suggest investing in your staff to ensure your business is a hospitable work environment. Steps to create a good working environment include giving your staff livable wages, a reasonable schedule, and encouraging open communication and feedback.
Invest in business tools
Right now, you might be able to run your business mostly on your own.
However, it might not always be that way.
That’s why it’s essential to invest in business management tools now, and begin automating your management so that when you do inevitably become swamped with business, you won’t have to scramble to adjust your inventory.
Business management tools will help you save time and money, make operations less prone to human error, and give you more time to focus on driving growth to your business.
Investing in a good inventory management software, for example, will save you lots of time and energy, and it will be a lifesaver when you’re so busy you don’t have time to manually manage your stock.
Likewise, if you’re a retail shop with an online store, a point of sale system to help you streamline both retail channels will be essential . With a point of sale system like Oliver POS, you can sync your online orders with your in-store sales and unify your inventory, sales, customers, staff, and all of your shop’s data. Their free plan is ideal for small businesses like yours, and their more advanced plans make it easy to scale your business as your success grows.
You can try the free demo here.
As previously mentioned, you may feel as though you can do everything yourself when it comes to your business. But, as pointed out, this ambition becomes less and less realistic the more your business grows. In order to build a more scalable business, it’s important to know when to outsource.
Hiring external freelancers or agencies can be an excellent way to keep your own time and energy focused on your core business goals. The tasks you decide to outsource should be strategic, and will rely on your unique business.
Generally, outsource when the task at hand does not fall in the realm of your core business. For example, many small businesses and startups outsource accounting and financial tasks, or certain marketing projects such as web or brand design. Not only does the task at hand generally get handled with more expertise, but you save time and energy and that can be spent on more fundamental business tasks.