Did you know that 90% of the new startups fail? Moreover, rarely does an entrepreneur succeed in their first attempt to grow their idea into a successful and sustainable business.
And while you shouldn’t be afraid of failure, as we all know that failure teaches you more valuable lessons than success, you are probably not too eager to fail. As a matter of fact, you should always try to learn from someone else’s mistakes.
When it comes to early-stage startups, the most common obstacle on the path to success is the inability to scale the business. As your market share and client base increase, you may think that the best thing to do is to grow your company, but this often leads to overestimating your budget and hitting rock bottom.
This is where scaling enters the stage. Scaling is different from growing inasmuch as it allows your revenue to grow without the increase in expenses resulting from hiring more people or deploying more resources.
Below are listed the four essential strategies that can help your startup get a maximum profit with a minimum investment.
Use your resources wisely
What are the main three resources besides money that new startups have at their disposal?
The first two are time and knowledge. The success of a startup largely depends on how it manages time and knowledge.
The third and most important resource is the people working at a startup. Without the right people, you can hardly do anything.
Therefore, when trying to scale your new startup, pay attention to these three resources.
Good time management means better productivity, and better productivity means more high-quality work done in the same or less amount of time. It is as simple as that.
To become more productive, you should:
- Focus on what you’re best at and delegate other tasks to your employees.
- Stop multitasking and procrastination. These two are among the greatest enemies of productivity.
- Reduce or eliminate activities that distract you. Checking your email and social media apps are at the head of the list of the top distractions in a modern workspace.
Knowledge is power. But if you fail to acquire and use the information at hand, you are effectively undermining your growth.
Knowledge management is crucial for your startup’s success, as it affects how information is compiled, organized, stored, and accessed by individuals in the company.
Nowadays, it is common for startups to use knowledge base software tools, as they are particularly convenient for fast-growing startups that deal with a lot of documentation.
Such a tool can make a great difference when it comes to:
- timely distribution of knowledge across your departments
- compensating for labor turnover
- reducing the time and resources required for training
- business growth prospects
Now we come to the most important resource each startup will ever have – its people.
When you have a team of passionate people working toward a common goal, while their primary motivation is not money, you are a lucky boss.
As a leader, you have to set the best possible example for your team, making them never want to leave. But how are you exactly supposed to do it?
Here are some tips:
- Train them regularly while staying patient and full of understanding.
- Understand all types of personalities in your team, especially your introverted employees.
- Trust them. If you have trained them well, this shouldn’t be a problem.
- Always be polite and compassionate with your team members.
Communicate and collaborate
In every startup, communication and collaboration are vital to maintaining a healthy working environment.
If you are not so sure whether to promote communication and collaboration in your startup, maybe you will change your mind after finding out that:
- Collaboration at work enhances personal communication skills, making your team more likely to reach agreement faster.
- More interaction produces more opportunities to create value. If two pairs of eyes are better than one, can you imagine what a dozen ears can do?
Hopefully, that is enough to convince you that there is no substitute for effective and regular communication.
To encourage collaboration and communication in your startup, you need to listen to your team, as well as to explain your expectations and understand theirs. You can do this by running effective meetings on a regular basis.
On the other hand, if managing a remote team, communication may be a bit more challenging. However, you can always arrange video calls or communicate through apps like Slack to gather feedback and stay in touch with your team members.
Outsource what you can’t do
Entrepreneurs, startup founders and business owners love outsourcing. If you have a revolutionary idea, but your in-house team doesn’t have the expertise in all the fields required to turn this idea into reality, the sooner you admit this to yourself, the better.
There is nothing wrong with knowing your strengths and weaknesses. As the matter of fact, once you know what your team can do best, you should focus on that and outsource all the things of less importance that would take you a lot of time to learn.
Why should you outsource your startup tasks?
- Firstly, and most obviously, it decreases your workload and lets you focus on scaling/growing your business.
- It minimizes critical errors which would come from the fact that you have no in-house experts in the given area.
- Finally, believe it or not, outsourcing reduces various expenses: overhead and utility costs, hardware and technology expenses, as well as the need to make investments in office space and infrastructure.
A large number of startups fail precisely because of their lack of expertise in different areas essential for running a business. They think they don’t have enough budget to cover expenses associated with outsourcing, so they try to do everything on their own.
Unfortunately, this mistake is fatal to many startups.
If you think outsourcing is too expensive, think again. Hiring a freelancer from a developing country can be much more affordable than outsourcing your task to a leading company in your city or country.
So, what are the tasks your startup should outsource?
Accounting and bookkeeping
CEO should be a CEO, not an accountant. If a CEO goes too deep into accounting and bookkeeping, they will waste the time and money they should invest in other activities.
Not only should you outsource your accounting, but you should also consider outsourcing CFO tasks. When you hire an outsourced CFO, they can help you with the bigger financial picture by managing your financial plans, budgeting, forecasting, fundraising, pricing, etc.
Basically, any daily recurring tasks that don’t require your input should be outsourced to a person who can digitize it. This is one of the best areas to outsource to experts from developing countries, as they can do magnificent work at significantly lower prices.
Automate customer feedback
Finally, we switch from startup teams to startup customers. After all, just like no startup would exist without its customers, this article on scaling early stage startups wouldn’t be complete without covering at least one customer-related aspect.
Customer feedback is essential, as it can help you improve your NPS score. But as your customer base starts growing, you will find yourself needing more and more time to gather customer feedback. This, in turn, will keep you away from the activities you should really do and reduce your focus on what really matters.
The best way to tackle this issue is to automate customer feedback. Wondering about the best ways to do it?
Here they are:
Automate your emails.
Email automation is a topic for a whole new article. However, if you really want to scale, you need to automate your emails. For example, when a customer makes a purchase, send them an automated email that asks them about their opinion on the product they bought.
IVR (Interactive Voice Response) surveys are still one of the most popular ways of collecting feedback. These pre-recorded automated surveys allow your customers to respond to questions by voice or by typing numerical responses on their phones.
This method is straightforward and extremely time-efficient. Basically, after someone purchases your product or service, you ask them to send a missed call to your number if they are satisfied with your services.
Final thoughts about Scaling Early Stage Startups
Growing a startup usually requires investing in personnel and other resources. That is, unless you know how to scale it.
Scaling your startup is a great opportunity for you to grow your business in a sustainable way and long-term without increasing your expenses significantly or at all.
But this is not to say that scaling is easy, as it requires you to juggle various aspects of your business, especially in the beginning while you are still a new startup.
However, if you follow the tips listed above, you will see that scaling is not only possible but preferable. As time goes by, you will start wondering how on earth you could ever do things differently.
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