If your small business is showing steady growth, the day will come when you need to take it to the next level. Scaling your business can be tricky and, if not done properly, can actually set you back rather than propel you forward. Getting the right systems and people in place is key. Let’s look at five things you need to successfully scale your small business.
1. Acquire the Right Talent
Your employees are your greatest asset, yet many companies continue to fail at finding the right talent. McKinsey & Co. reports that 82% of executives believe their companies are not recruiting highly talented people. Of the companies that do, only 7% believe they can retain top talent.
Your talent acquisition and retention strategy are crucial to scaling your business. Who you choose to bring on board at this stage is an important decision. Hire the wrong people and your business will suffer. Hire the right talent and productivity levels can increase dramatically.
According to McKinsey & Co., high-performing employees are eight times more productive than average ones. In highly complex jobs, high performers are shown to be 800% more productive. Imagine what a difference that can make to your business’s growth.
2. Install a Customer Relationship Management System
Your customers are just as important as your employees. No doubt your business is growing because you’re acquiring more customers. Are you coping with the increase?
- Do you have enough in-store sales staff?
- If you run an e-commerce store, are orders being dispatched promptly?
- Do you have enough customer service representatives to handle queries and complaints?
- Is your after-sales service weak?
- Are you able to follow up on new leads and cross-sell or upsell to existing customers?
Poor customer service can cause your small business to stagnate or go to ruin. In the U.S., bad customer service is costing businesses a whopping $75 billion a year in lost revenue.
One way to improve customer service is to install customer relationship management software. CRM systems are designed to nurture existing customers, generate new leads, and convert more of those leads into customers.
If your business primarily uses Microsoft, Dynamics 365 is Microsoft’s CRM and ERP (enterprise resource planning) software that integrates with their other products as well as some external applications. Alternatively, HubSpot has a free version that is an ideal CRM starting point for small to medium-sized businesses.
3. Invest in a Robust Management Information System
As your business starts to expand, the management information system (MIS) you use becomes more important. An MIS system is the central backbone of the company. It collects, stores, and reports data from various systems like financial, operational, marketing, sales, procurement, inventory, and human resources.
Without data, you can’t evaluate the company’s performance, predict future growth, identify obstacles, and make adjustments to business strategies. If you haven’t already, it’s time to invest in an integrated MIS system and hire more trained IT staff such as database administrators, network technicians, and a system architect.
4. Automate Processes
Manual processes are time-consuming and lower productivity. They result in a high percentage of errors that lead to rework. All of this ultimately costs the business in increased expenses and reduced revenue. To scale your business faster, you’ll need to have employees performing at an optimal level.
According to Kofax, 22% of employees’ time is spent on repetitive tasks, many of which can be automated. When you automate tasks, you increase efficiency and free up employees’ time to focus on higher-value work.
CRM systems automate sales and marketing processes. Other areas you can implement automation include HR and payroll, order processing, accounts and invoicing processes, customer support, and data analytics.
Chatbots on your website can interact with customers, email marketing campaigns can send auto-reply messages, and your e-commerce site can automatically send abandoned cart reminders to customers who don’t complete a transaction.
5. Expand Your Digital Marketing Team
Online shopping is the norm today and continues to grow every year. By 2023, it is predicted that 300 million shoppers in the U.S. will be shopping online. That’s around 91% of the population. That’s why digital marketing is an essential part of building your brand and attracting online customers.
Digital marketing includes content marketing, email marketing, and social media marketing. It’s not a function that can be handled by one person. If you’ve been getting by with one content manager, it’s time to expand your digital marketing team.
You’ll need to consider adding roles like a content strategist, content editor, copywriter, social media manager, email marketing manager, and SEO specialist. If you can’t afford to grow your digital marketing team, consider outsourcing it to a reputable agency.
Scaling Your Business Requires The Right Resources
It’s exciting when your business starts to show sharp growth but it can also be overwhelming. Staff capacity may be stretched and that will inevitably impact the customer’s experience. To level up, management needs a plan and budget to recruit new talent and implement systems and processes that can support that growth.