Oct 25, 2019 10:34 PM EDT
Building a Scalable Startup: What to Know
Scalability is more than just a buzzword in the business world. Scalability plays an integral role in the success of any business. When your business is scalable it allows you to grow seamlessly without so many hiccups along the way. If you're scalable, you're probably also agile, meaning you're more resilient against challenges and possible headwinds.
Scalability tends to mean that you're more innovative as well because you have a strong foundation.
Scalability can look different in every business. One of the ways a business is scalable is through its IT infrastructure and managed IT services. For example, the objectives of a scalable network include more security and reliability.
There's more to it than just a network infrastructure, however. The following are some guidelines for building a scalable startup.
Strengthen Your Core
Strengthening your core might sound like a workout routine, but it can apply to your business as well. You want strength in the foundational elements of your business. For example, how well does your core product or service fit within the market? It doesn't have to be perfect and you can make changes along the way, but it needs to have relevance, and it needs to be something that the market wants to see.
You also need to have a defined set of customers or users. These are the people that buy your product or service, and they're what your future customers are most likely to look like in terms of buying habits and demographics.
Another area of your core relates to your market. Your marketing will grow and evolve with your business, but what are those channels where your core focus should be? You can start with a small budget and experiment to see where you're getting the most return on your investment.
Automate everything possible. For example, you might automate elements of your IT services to meet those objectives of reliability and scalability. The more you're automating, the more you can focus on business growth.
Even things that are seemingly simple such as setting up automated payroll processing and marketing automation, can go a long way in helping ensure you build a scalable business.
Cloud storage and organization tools are important, as well.
When you have good automation in place, it means that you're going to be able to access valuable data faster and make better use of it, improve your marketing and manage your team better even if you're bringing new people on.
If you can't automate it, outsource it. There's too much of a tendency among startup leaders to want to do everything in-house because they want to retain a sense of control.
That can end up diminishing your scalability, and it creates a business that isn't functional without you. The value of the business becomes the work that you do, and that is not scalable.
In a truly scalable business, you can leave and it should still keep functioning the way it's supposed to. You want a business that keeps making money no matter what you're doing.
You ideally want to create standardized processes as part of all this. For example, standardize employee training and quality assurance. Standardize how you hire employees and make sure your processes can be replicated easily.
Hire the Right People
Learning how to hire is essential for scalability. You need people on your team that are a cultural fit, have a growth mindset and are the people that are working in your business while you work on the strategy of your business.
If you can't find a way to hire well, scalability will be a struggle.
Along with hiring the right people, you want a general structure that's going to scale out easily.
This goes back to what was stated above-a hindrance to scalability for the vast majority of startups is that they are too dependent on founders. Delegation has to happen, and you're not going to feel comfortable delegating unless you have a great team, and that comes from strategic hiring.
Finally, when you hire great people, make sure you're putting enough time and money into them. You have to invest in your people so that they want to stay with you on your journey. If there's a problem or behavior that needs to be corrected, fix it early on through training and development initiatives.
Let your team know what's expected of them and how to get there so that you don't start scaling up their bad habits.
Join the Conversation