Challenges in scaling a business and how to solve them

By Sarra Bejaoui, Co-founder and Managing Director of SmartPA
Published: 26 September 2017

Small business owners often find that they have to juggle many aspects of their business at any one time such as finance, HR management, and day-to-day administration. As you progress, however, you will soon discover that it’s essential to let go of some of these tasks to expand your business. Outsourcing certain parts of your business such as administration can be a great idea as it allows your management team to focus on the core aspects of the business.

Here are some common challenges and suggested solutions to consider when scaling a business:

Processes and procedures
Before you even think about scaling your business, take a step back and look at the various core business functions that exist such as finance, sales and marketing, legal and HR. Do a stock check to see which processes and systems already exist within your business and which ones don’t; if there are some missing, you’ll need to create them. Ask yourself questions such as ‘can your business run without you?’ or are you the ‘process?’

Processes are the foundation by which you can build and scale your business. Mapping your processes can help clarify and standardise what needs to be done, when, by whom and how. Businesses built around people are generally restricted by the amount of time each employee can provide; however, businesses built around systems can usually scale more efficiently. When you start outsourcing various aspects of your business, you begin to switch from a people-focused model to a system-focused model. As you grow, consider outsourcing professional PA and admin services from companies such as SmartPA, who can take care of specific tasks such as data entry, answering calls, social media and inbox management. It is, however, important to ensure that you have your processes in place before you begin outsourcing.

Managing staff
Forward planning is crucial when accounting for your resources as your current structure and team may not have had the time or experience to prepare for sudden or rapid growth. Process and structure will empower your team to deliver their KPIs. Focus on automating your processes and only hire those who have a multifaceted skillset to ensure that they would be a great asset to the team. A business is only scalable when it has the right people on board.

Hiring the right candidate can be time consuming and costly. An alternative option is to outsource professional freelancers as it can reduce operational costs and eliminate expenses associated with a full-time employee such as renting a workspace, training, paid holidays, etc. These savings can then be channelled to other core aspects of your business such as upgrading current processes. Using a professional outsourcer or freelancer can make it easier for you to scale your business both up and down depending on requirements.. It’s also a great alternative if you’re looking for specialised talent on short notice and are struggling to find the right people locally as outsourcing gives you access to qualified individuals from all around the world.

When you are a small company, you and your work force are fully invested in the values and vision of the company, as well as the direction you want to see it grow. As you scale up, you need to make sure that these values aren’t lost in the transition, so ensure that anyone you hire is on the same page as you. A key element to success is down to recruiting the right people who are just as passionate about the brand and core values as you are. Moreover, it’s important to continue training and cultivating the talent of current employees so that new hires are encouraged to adapt and carry forward your company’s culture.

Financial management
Every entrepreneur knows how important new business and cash flow management is to their company. One of the biggest challenges in scaling your business can be staying on top of cash flow and prioritising those payments. Although this might seem obvious, cash flow is closely tied to an efficient operational system to chase customer and supplier payments regularly. This allows the bills and salaries to be paid and keeps your business running.

Customer service
Customers are the essence of any business, so it’s vital to keep generating leads and retain your existing customers. Your existing customers are a key element to growth as they drive the demand for your product or service, can help you spread the word and, in turn, become advocates for your company or brand.

It’s equally important to evaluate your customer services and ensure that you respond to customers quickly. Monitor your social media channels and be sure to respond to all questions and comments – positive or negative.

Growth is an important element of any business and there are various aspects that you need to focus on before you dive into the deep end. To scale successfully, ensure that all your processes are in place and that you’re able to manage the core aspects of your business such as existing and new staff, finances and customer service before you choose to expand.