Explosive growth is exciting for any business, and it feels rewarding to watch your brand succeed. While you and your team should definitely celebrate that victory, you also need to be prepared for the side effects of explosive growth. Your team may need to expand to meet demand and increase production and marketing efforts.
These are all decisions that can be made strategically in advance of unexpected growth to help your team better adapt to the changes. To help you with this, a panel of gotechbusiness.com Business Council experts shared their recommendations for scaling operations to handle the influx of new customers.
1. Rent for where you want to be
I got some of the best advice from a mastermind member: don’t rent for where you are; rent for where you want to be. I have always shown the growth of my businesses and always use that advice. Having the right staff that fits your culture and living your core values will increase when needed to serve all of your customers. † Adam Berezowski † AMB Solutions Inc DBA Epic Fitness
2. Prepare a growth strategy
All businesses, regardless of size and revenue, must develop a growth strategy, plan for responding to threats and opportunities, and manage resources accordingly. Actions such as forecasting money needs and clearly communicating changes to the workforce will also provide a solid foundation to support the needs associated with rapid growth. † Marcie Dickson† alternative ADR
3. Have great leaders in your team
Surround yourself with leaders who can set up systems and processes for operations and coach and mentor more leaders. Alternatively, improve operations to organize the chaos and build a strong culture of growth-oriented or high-ownership people. Let leaders focus on strategy, vision and overall direction without getting lost in the whirlwind. † Robert Harbols† artisanal
4. Use a CRM to collect contacts
When you experience rapid growth in your business with an influx of new customers, you need to have the right systems, such as CRM, to record their contacts and nurture relationships so that they will buy from you again. Remember that acquiring a customer costs more than selling to an existing customer. † Ethan Lu† SME Finance
5. Identify any inefficiencies and work to eliminate them
Rapid growth for the first time is both exciting and terrifying. The best way to initially scale is to identify existing operational inefficiencies and correct them first. This may mean hiring new staff or expanding existing CRM capabilities. However, if not addressed immediately, massive growth will amplify these problems and cause catastrophic failure. † Steve Alkandros† New England Management Group/AR Property Services, LLC
6. Focus operations around your ROI
When scaling an operations function for a high-growth company, make sure you still work carefully with business objectives in mind and ROI at the core of what you do. If you can get your operations to take over some of the painful and time-consuming parts of your revenue-generating function, you’ll get great ROI and something you can scale quickly. † Ryan Surry† intaso
It’s easier to invest in your team up front than when the chaos of growth sets in. If you can’t rent in advance, make sure you hire experience you can rely on. Handing over operational responsibility can be stressful, so make sure you understand your candidates. The goal should be to find someone with more experience than you in the areas you need. † Christopher White† Equis, Inc.
8. Make sure your business model supports scale
With rapid growth, your business model must support scalability. This is often overlooked. To scale effectively, your business needs a scalable core offering and your existing systems must support taking on more customers without sacrificing profit. † Libby Rothschild† Dietitian boss
9. Hire freelancers
Small business owners have access to a vast network of skilled professional freelancers like never before. Instead of hiring a full-time team member, consider using outsourced or gig worker talents to bridge the gap. If growth continues or stabilizes, you can then take the step with certainty. † Todd Bavol† Integrity Human Resources Solutions
10. Have well-documented processes
Prepare for it by performing operations that are scalable. Have processes to deliver your services that are documented, known throughout your organization and part of the company DNA so that they happen every time. Develop relationships that can complement technology and resources just in case. Automate with a low-entry marketing stack to make it easier to train new hires. † Veronica Buitron† Tango Code Inc.
11. Follow the ‘Scale In Five’ methodology
For scaling a company with rapid growth, there really is a very specific ‘scale in five’ methodology that I recommend. It includes developing a high-performing team, building procedures and processes, designing KPIs and scorecards to manage the business and team, reviewing timely and accurate financial reports, and developing your leadership skills as an owner. † Tyler Martin† ThinkTyler Business Coaching & Consulting
12. Selective hiring
Rapidly scaling up can be overwhelming and you could try to just hire everyone. Do not do that. Take the time to build the team that will continue to help you grow. Hire people in areas where you don’t excel and trust that the people you have hired are skilled enough to do the job without micromanagement. You get time back in the long run if you hire the right people. † Chase Flashman† ShipSigma
13. Keep a Healthy Number of Employees
Always ensure a healthy bank in your organization. The prevalence of lean manufacturing principles has slowly eroded many companies’ ability to be resilient and manage change well. Don’t get so skinny that it makes you too vulnerable to disturbance. † Dustin Snyder† Wayforward Associates
14. Limit Knee-Jerk Reactions
Keep scalability in mind when setting up procedures and processes. When you’re experiencing explosive growth, it can feel very much like the pressure is on and immediate action is required. Try to limit these reflex reactions and focus on methodically identifying the right kind of process that can be replicated and scaled up, which can ultimately relieve the pressure you perceive. † Udi Dorner† Set schedule