5 Tips to Scale Your Business so You Don’t Fail

Most small businesses fail. That is just the plain hard truth.

I have launched nearly a dozen businesses since I set out to be an entrepreneur 12 years ago. A couple of have failed, but for the most part I have been successful because I follow this simple rule… don’t put the cart in front of the horse.

It’s an old saying we have heard a million times, but what it means to me is that you need to plan before you leap. Now im not saying you have to over plan or be too cautious, being a business owner is inherently risky. But a successful businessperson will plan with those risks in mind.

Things will change, you will have to adapt and pivot, but if you have spent adequate time planning you mitigate the risk changes will bring.

Once you make it past start up and you are ready to scale you have to plan all over again. In fact, planning to scale is harder then planning to launch because you generally have so much more at stake. So here are 5 Tips that I follow when I decided it’s time to scale my business.

· Plan Ahead

· Secure Funding

· Know Your Numbers

· Identify Resources

· Create Buzz

Plan Ahead

As you’ve built your business, you’ve probably heard the word “plan” too many times to count. There’s a reason for that — it’s vital to your business, no matter what stage you’re at.

To plan ahead, set realistic goals for growth. These can be quarterly or yearly goals. This gives you time to prepare for upcoming growth. As you near these goals, research what resources or features you will need in your next stage.

Secure Funding

Small business owners are tasked with one large responsibility: securing funding and collateral to run their business. To me there are really three ways to fund business expansion; bootstrapping, investors or credit.

Bootstrapping is the coined business term for relying on either your own personal funds (think your personal savings), a crowdfunding source (e.g., Kickstarter), or money pitched in or loaned from friends and family.

The next logical step for many is pitching to investors. While investors can provide great value to your business — like expertise and funds to execute your business plan — they also take part ownership of the brand.

This option works for many small business owners, but if you’re wary to partner with an investor, there are still many other ways to secure funds.

You can access credit if you have been wise about building it up. If you are stull funding your business from personal accounts, you probably aren’t ready to scale. Get the money in order first.

Know Your Numbers

Monitoring your business’s performance gives you direct insight into the speed of your growth. Sales performance is the first metric you’ll want to begin analyzing when looking to scale.

Look at the trends, is it healthy? How fast are your sales growing? What do you attribute that growth to? Having a strong sales performance is a key indicator of your scalability because it reflects the health of your business. If the metrics are positive and growing, you can confirm growth is in your future.

Other important growth metrics include know the lifetime value of your client. How much does it cost to acquire them, retain them and cross sell or upsell to them?

Keep in mind that having direct insight into your analytics will provide a stronger pitch to investors and more confidence when spending money on updated technology.

Identify Resources

As you grow, you’ll need to add resources to your toolkit, as you won’t be able to manage a large business entirely on your own. Resources for your business refer to both human resources and technical resources.

If you are looking to ramp up your content marketing with a blog on your website, you may want to consider hiring a virtual assistant who can scale your content and make sure you rank on leading search engines and engagement metrics.

Or perhaps you want to quickly build your community on social media. Consider hiring a social media manager who can curate posts, create captions, and drive engagement for your target audience across platforms like Instagram or LinkedIn.

Taking the time to see where you need help or where you can be more productive will help you prioritize what resources to invest in.

Once you do invest in these resources, be sure to evaluate their performance to ensure you are getting value for your spend… it’s the numbers again.

Create Buzz

As your business builds traffic, it’s important you stay engaged and create more buzz for your brand.

Building off of existing interest and traffic is a great way to optimize growth. For many, the first step to creating buzz is on social media. Depending on the nature of your business, you can look into:

· Hosting a webinar (e.g., how to decorate for the holidays with your product, sharing your expertise on a specific topic, etc.),

· Sharing your story on a landing page on your website,

· Executing an email marketing strategy and building your subscriber list,

· Pitching your brand by speaking on stages

· Reaching out to influencers to partner with them and leverage their audience.

Regardless of how you do it, the bottom line is you want to get you and your story in front of you target audience as often as possible. You want to give them something of value, whether it be of physical value, monetary value or intellectual value and follow up that value with an offer.

As you scale the most important thing is to bring potential clients into some sort of active community where you keep offering value and following with the offer.

You do the same thing for current customers, making them feel like VIPs by giving them exclusive content, membership pricing and look for ways to cross sell or up sell to get even more of their business.

We’ve covered a lot, but in order to successful scale a business it takes a lot. Hope these tips helped. Connect with me if you’d like to work with me to scale your business or follow me on social media for even more tips.

Daniel Meyer heads both Sonic Analytics and Sonic Virtual Staffing, sister companies that deliver both data analytics solutions and virtual staffing to businesses in the United States and the Philippines. With over 20 years in Big Data and Virtual Staffing, Dan is one of the most sought-after public speakers in Asia and offers big data coaching and analytics training seminars on both sides of the Pacific.

Sonic Analytics(www.sonicanalytics.com) brings big data analytics solutions like business intelligence, business dashboards and data storytelling to small and medium sized organizations looking to enhance their data-driven decision-making capabilities.

Sonic Virtual Staffing (www.sonicva.com) brings virtual staffing solutions like graphic design, social media management, video editing and specialized virtual assistants for authors and professional speakers to small and medium sized organizations looking to scale on a budget and looking for dynamic staffing options.

When not training current and future analysts, you can find Dan championing the use of analytics to empower data-driven citizenship by volunteering his expertise with schools and non-profits dedicated to evidence-based social progress.