While there isn’t a universal blueprint for scaling a business, there’s a number of things to consider that will help you along the way. An entrepreneur whose company has been growing sevenfold each year since its conception shares his tips on growth.
Have a clear vision of the future – and follow it rigorously When you set out to scale your company you embark on a journey somewhere new. As with any progression, it’s important to identify where you’re headed and set a clear course at a high level. It sounds remarkably obvious yet it is something that’s often neglected. Having a well-defined mission will make it clear to everyone where the company is heading, ensuring that everyone’s efforts are aiding the growth and any obstacles on the way are put in perspective of the greater goal.
Get your product right before anything else Before you even think about scaling your business, make sure your business is sound. That is, get your product or service right and ensure that what you have got is exactly what your customer wants. It sounds paradoxical, but being comfortable doing things that don’t scale in the beginning can help establish and retain the fit between your product or service and the customer’s need. For example, I still have conversations with new users of Depop every day just to make sure I get their feedback directly and whereas it is not a scalable method of market research, it has proven to be very helpful so far to ensure we are in tune with the customer needs.
Hire people who scale Great people are your greatest asset and consistently hiring employees who have a positive work attitude and embrace cross-functional skills pays off when scaling your business. Working alongside people who share your vision and want to see the business grow is key. Look for untapped potential that is waiting to be unleashed with exposure to the right kind of challenges and leadership, as this is the sort of cross-functional skill-set that will set you up for success when you need to scale your business later. In my experience, people who are good at doing “their job” but don’t have the interest or skills to widen their impact will prefer the status quo. The reality of scaling is that their limits will show and slow you down when your company hits the next phase of rapid growth. Some of our best hires have started their career with us as interns and have become indispensable within the space of a three-month internship. That’s the kind of talent that scales. Continue reading on the next page to find out why Depop has channeled a staff member’s experience of working with sailors and why certain assumptions should be avoided.
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