How to Scale Your Business? (Part 1)

As business owners, the two main issues that we contend with on a daily basis are - 1) survivability and 2) growth. Once the first objective has been secured (reflected through a steady and healthy cash flow), all attention will be channeled towards growth. While it is true that some business owners may not interested to scale up, for those who have the intention to grow, here are 3 key factors (3Ps - People, Partnerships and Pitch) that you may wish to consider:

 

1) People

Forming an unstoppable partnership

Great talents form the backbone of every successful organisation. Your first ten hires will likely determine the course of your business. To grow a business, you need a strong core team with diverse skill sets, talents and experience.

A recent analysis shows that a massive 80% of all successful startup companies have more than one founder. If you intend to conquer the world all by yourself, do think twice. 

So, if all of us are convinced that we have to start forming partnerships to be successful, what do you think are some characteristics of an unstoppable partnership?

For a partnership to be successful, there are several key factors to consider. Each partner from the partnership needs to derive a sense of achievement, receive tangible rewards, maintain open communication, manage team morale, be willing to serve, help each other to grow and the list goes on and on. An article published by Business Insider gives us insight about some the most successful business partnerships. One of the common trend is that most well-rounded pairs recognised their individual limitations and respected what the other party could bring to the partnership.  

Partners are crucial and getting the dynamics right is even more important. The usual suspect would be the visionary - technically proficient pairing, think about Steve Jobs' business foresight and Steve Wozniak's technical skills, making the pair an ultimate match.  Similar background and passion is also the right formulae for success in the case of Google's founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Both have similar technology backgrounds, enjoyed computers, had university professors for parents. They came together because of their passion for data mining and having a similar vision for their company.

 

What about employees?

After finding the right partner(s), your next move is to form a strong core team. Finding the right employees that fit into your culture and vision is crucial. Given that the team is small, anyone who does not have the same vision or mindset will easily destabilise the team morale and negatively influence the rest of the organisation.

Your first few employees will be the core group that influence the corporate culture when the company begins to grow. Making the right hiring choice will eventually result in greater employee engagement and retention rate. We are all aware that the cost of recruiting and training is high, losing a star employee to a competitor is even more costly. Though no employee is indispensable, losses and re-hiring often come at a great cost. 

2) Partnerships

Forming Strategic Alliances

No man (or company) is an island. The digital revolution has empowered collaborations to be more effective and beneficial to organisations. Building strategic alliances and identifying reliable outsourcing partners will position your company to take on larger and more projects. By purely depending on your internal resources and capacity, you would be easily constrained by the lack of manpower, resources, time and expertise. 

Strategic alliances and partnerships take time to form and they require effort to nurture the relationship. Therefore, it has to be an outright commitment from day one that as a business owner, you have to look out for potential partners to collaborate with. 

The topic of outsourcing has always been a contentious one, with decision-makers often deliberating between the issue of maintaining internal quality control versus managing cost of production. With the world being more connected through digital channels and the wide availability of free-lancing platforms, there is no lack for outsourcing partners as many talented individuals and efficient organisations could be accessed at merely a few clicks. 

In order to find the right fit, you may wish to consider the following factors: 1) Ease of communication - Do they speak your language? Do they understand the technical terms? 2) Cultural compatibility - Are they able to understand your local nuances? How fast are they able to adapt to your working style and requirements? 3) Availability of outsourcing solutions - Do you need end to end solutions? Or a specialised task to be completed?

Growing through coaching and mentoring

Most of us see partnerships as forging external relationships. However, internal "partnerships" are just as important for an organisation to grow (remember your company cannot grow beyond the capabilities and talent of your people). Building internal partnerships involve providing the right degree of coaching/mentoring (both peer to peer and leader to follower), helping your employees reach their maximum potential and managing dynamics to enable them to grow as a team.