It’s often stated that 90% of startups fail. For entrepreneurs, this statistic can be rather intimidating.
Startups can fail for a myriad of reasons, including financial problems, marketing issues and an inability to fit into the market. However, one of the biggest problems facing startups is a lack of scalability. When a startup isn’t scalable, the ultimate goal of growth can become a curse.
If you own a startup, you must integrate scalability into your business model if you want to achieve success. Keep reading this helpful guide to learn how to build a scalable startup.
What Is Scalability?
Scalability doesn’t just mean growth. Of course, every business aims to continuously grow and expand, but without scalability, your efforts may be for nothing.
Scalability refers to a business’s ability to handle the pressures of growth. For example, a business must be able to handle the increased workload that comes with growth, and the operational costs of the business must not continue to increase and cut into profit as the business expands.
This is how growth - a goal for all entrepreneurs - can become a curse for poorly established startups. If you don’t ensure that your business is scalable, you may drown in the increasing costs and workload that your startup faces.
How to Build a Scalable Startup
So, how can you avoid these issues as an entrepreneur running a new startup?
Here are the top six tips:
1) Invest in Software
One of the largest burdens that startups face as they grow is an increased workload. In the beginning, you may be able to handle all processes within a small team, but as time goes on and you secure new clients, it can become more difficult to keep track of everything.
The right software tools can handle large amounts of data and automate complicated tasks, which will reduce the workload within your organisation and allow your team to spend their time more efficiently. This will ultimately reduce labour costs as you won’t have to hire extra employees to keep the business afloat.
In particular, accounting software can save an incredible amount of time and money. Although there’s an initial investment, you’ll reduce costs over time by avoiding the need to hire a full-time accountant to handle your finances. You can also avoid time-consuming mistakes by having all data checked and managed by state-of-the-art software.
2) Create a Business Plan
Perhaps the biggest mistake you could make right at the beginning of your journey is not creating an in-depth business plan.
Without a clear set of aims and a strategy for meeting them, you won’t be able to handle challenges and obstacles in the future. Planning ahead is a key part of scalability; you need to structure your business according to the growth you anticipate, rather than waiting for the growth to happen and then rushing to restructure the company.
A detailed and comprehensive business plan is also extremely important for attracting investors. Having the backing of large investors could be the difference between sinking and swimming for your startup.
3) Focus on Marketing
A global marketing strategy can help your business expand far beyond your local market and achieve endless growth opportunities.
Nowadays, social media is an integral part of any business’s marketing strategy. With its global reach, social media marketing has vastly outpaced traditional marketing channels and allowed businesses to interact with customers around the world.
By setting up social media accounts on relevant platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, you can attract international interest in your business and open up the possibility of global expansion.
4) Learn How to Delegate
As your business grows, it can be hard to learn how to let go of certain tasks and let your employees take charge. However, delegating tasks is a crucial part of leadership and scalability.
A scalable business has a clear management structure where everyone knows their tasks and who to report to. This makes workflows more seamless and efficient, which is especially important when workloads increase as a result of growth.
Therefore, rather than trying to take charge of everything and overloading your plate, you should delegate leadership responsibilities to your top employees. Delegating these tasks will save time and help you create a better company structure to handle more work.
Your employees will grow and develop with the company, but you may reach a point where your team isn’t large enough to handle the workload, hiring new employees is too costly, or your team doesn’t have the right expertise for certain tasks beyond their scope. In this case, you may want to consider outsourcing certain business operations.
Although you don’t want to rely too heavily on outsourced labour, outsourcing can be particularly beneficial to a business that needs help with an issue outside of its area of expertise. For example, your business could outsource its marketing, accounting or legal processes.
The main advantages of outsourcing include saving time for your team, reducing costs by not hiring new employees, and gaining access to expert help in areas outside the business’s scope. By outsourcing particular tasks, your business can grow sustainably and not overstretch itself.
6) Automate as Much as Possible
When your workload increases and processes become more complex due to growth, you’ll need to figure out all the things in your workflow that slow you down and eliminate all tedious tasks. Automation can help you do this.
As mentioned earlier, tools like accounting software can automate difficult tasks that take up a lot of your time. Overall, there are so many software tools that will automate various aspects of your business, including email marketing, project management, file backup and social media posting.
Prioritising scalability in your startup is one of the best ways to ensure sustainable growth. By creating an in-depth business plan, expanding your marketing strategy, learning how to delegate, outsourcing certain operations and using software to automate time-consuming processes, you can scale your business successfully.
The risk of failure can be high for many startups. However, if you simply follow the six tips listed in this guide, you can learn how to build a scalable business and defy the odds.