Any good entrepreneur wants to hit the ground running, but sometimes that can come at the expense of proper infrastructure.
But why does infrastructure even matter? In short, your business may not be small forever.
Every business starts small, and you need to be prepared for future growth. Sometimes that comes in the form of employees, sometimes it comes in funding, and at other times it can mean increased capabilities—and you need to be prepared whatever the case may be.
Here are the three foundational elements of a scalable business—start now, while you’re still small.
It’s Never too Early to Invest in the Right People
The logic is simple: “Scaling is hard and fast, and the top 1% of your talent will be the difference between success or failure,” Negus-Fancey said.
Many small businesses feel like they can’t afford to pay for the same talent as an enterprise company, but the truth is that second or third-tier employees will cost you far greater amounts of revenue when the scaling process hits.
And when scaling hits and you’re ready for a true rock star on your team, it’ll be too late—especially since the hiring process can take several months.
The advice: get a top-tier employee base in place and pay them like you mean it. You will make your money back when it’s time to scale.
Start off with the right Software Infrastructure
On average, businesses are losing around $11,000 per employee annually because of inefficient communications.
Many small businesses try to build a budget-friendly communications strategy by combining traditional landlines, Skype, and possibly virtual meeting software, but the truth is that cloud-based office phone systems are the most efficient option.
The most important thing: a virtual phone service will help you scale. As you add more meetings to your schedule, you can use the included virtual meeting software to enjoy HD conferencing without the cost of travel When you want to add an employee (or a call center!), you can do so with a marginal, calculated cost. Best of all, you aren’t responsible for your own hardware, and you can scale on demand without any extra work.
The same applies to data centers—by storing your data in the cloud, you won’t run short on storage during the unpredictable scaling stage.
Cloud communications bring other benefits, like mobile twinning capabilities and the option of hiring qualified remote workers. VoIP is cheaper, safer, and more scalable.
Can you Productize Your Service?
Many service-based small business are limited in their scalability because in order to scale, they have to constantly add more people and time.
When you productize your service, you can either make your process more efficient, or you can make your business infinitely more scalable. First off, you can make your business more efficient by organizing your services into distinct “products” with set prices. When you market and sell your services online in this manner, you are essentially pushing a product, and not a nebulous group of services with varying price tags. This both simplifies your funnel and streamlines your time.
Secondly, consider building an app or software that can partially take over for you (you’ll probably have to contract the building part, and this won’t work for everyone). If your service can be replicated by a SaaS model, your revenue potential will be unlimited—here are some examples.
The key takeaway is this: start thinking about scalability well before your business starts to grow. It’s true that you must be successful on a smaller scale before you can be successful on the big stage, but without the right infrastructure in place, you won’t be scaling anywhere anytime soon.