Those embarking on a brand new business venture will find no shortage of advice, whether they actively seek it out or, conversely, don’t go looking for it at all. It is inevitable that, for every recent success story in the near-endless world of business, there will be at least a small handful of well-intentioned businesspeople willing to offer their two cents. It is also inevitable, of course, that the advice-of-the-moment will change, evolve, and replace itself like any other modern trend.
Still, that’s not to say that certain pieces of business advice don’t subsist through time and space. On the contrary, plenty of fundamental principles and practices hold as true today as they did years, decades, or even centuries ago. They will never be replaced by modern techniques and tricks of the trade – and there will always be creative, new ways of complementing one with the other.
Arguably one of the most fundamental rules for new businesses is laying down a foundation defined by its scalability – or, in other words, its ability to accommodate, welcome and adapt to growth as and when that growth occurs. Thing of it as the difference between a brick wall, and one that is made out of Lego, wherein the latter can, in time, be altered, redesigned and reconstructed with far greater ease than the former.
But, even when we are aware of the importance of scalability, actually establishing an environment which will lend itself to development on an as-and-when basis is harder in practice than it sounds in theory. Particularly amid the usual chaos of launching a new business, putting these measures in place can all too easy slow us down. But, does it have to? Read more below.
A big part of the drive toward scalability stems from the ever-increasing significance of business’s online profiles, simply by virtue of the fact that scalability is far more manageable away from brick-and-mortar locations – and, of course, far more rewarding.
Online, we can reach markets that would, in the real world, require many separate physical locations (and, of course, a monetary investment beyond the scope of most SMEs).
Still, scalability is not inherent to your online presence. Rather, it is essential that you understand where to begin, in order to create an effective springboard for the future.
The most obvious place to begin is, of course, with your company’s website, which must present a high standard to your first, hundredth, and thousandth visitor alike. A strong, industry-leading website builder offers the most scalable resource, from answering beginner friendly questions like what is a domain and why do I need one? To, of course, the questions that will inevitably arise when your business begins to see significant growth and development: How do I facilitate orders on a larger scale, and how do I surpass my competitors’ SEO?
Whether it’s on the customer-facing side of your site, or behind the scenes, laying the groundwork for flexibility and scalability at the very beginning will always prove far more valuable than simply ‘winging it’ at every stage.
Beyond the digital aspect of your business, preparing for scalability is an art in and of itself.
Take, for instance, the subject of stock – or, alternatively, your services. When looking ahead to the future, and considering how you will facilitate an increased demand, one of the easiest traps to fall into is the belief that offering as many products – or as many hours – as possible is the best way to create and cater to a growing client-base. If you are a carpenter offering bespoke work, for instance, then taking on far more orders than you are comfortable with could be an example of this.
If, on the other hand, you are selling a range of products, then growing that range well beyond its initial scope, rather than focusing on honing that core range, then the outcome will likely be the same. Learning how to say no to doing too much is an essential practice for any small business owner.
In both instances, the key is almost invariably to focus on perfecting your initial offering before attempting to grow beyond it. This may well sound like something of a contradiction when the topic of the conversation is scalability, but only those practices that prove sustainable will turn out to be truly beneficial to your business’s growth and development. From your products to your packaging, fees, and time, all aspects should feel like second nature before development occurs.
For anyone just embarking on a new business venture, it is very easy to feel preoccupied by the future, and your ideas for the ways in which your business will grow. This is, of course, natural, but by far the most effective way of preparing for that future is to instate a number of practices and methods now, rather than later.
Growth certainly represents the ideal for any business, whether it is just starting out, or already a ways into its development. It must, however, be underpinned by a solid foundation, or it will prove to be a hindrance, rather than a blessing.