Your team is growing, your customer base is exploding, and funding is (hopefully) flowing. Your startup is in the midst of a growth stage and the energy is electric. You’re not diving in blind – you know that 50% of new businesses fail in the first five years. But did you know that scaling too fast, too soon, is the number one reason for startup failure?
As an accounting service provider for growth-stage technology companies, Acuity is no stranger to scalability. Make no mistake – scaling a startup or small business is hard and the journey is full of highs and lows. So, how can you get to that next level of growth without losing that startup magic?
Here are three ways you as a business owner can help your organization scale at every stage of growth, without losing your balance:
Outsourcing to the Rescue
Hiring outside companies to knock out tasks outside of your key competency can be a great solution for businesses looking to scale faster. In fact, Inc.com considers outsourcing to be “one of the least understood tools available for growing your business.” Outsourcing can help your business innovate and gain instant scale in areas where you’re falling short internally.
Outsourcing is not always the best answer. Our advice? Start by making a list to differentiate the core and non-core aspects of your business. Keep anything mission critical or customer-facing in-house. Outsource the non-core, rinse and repeat tasks. A lot of our clients outsource HR, accounting, back office and even appointment setting – gotta love technology.
Make Sure Your Business Culture is Rock Solid
The biggest danger in scaling unfolds when founders prioritize growth over culture. It’s important to recognize that, when it comes right down to it, running a scalable business is about people. Successful scaling will only come from a strong team and an even stronger culture.
To achieve growth while keeping your business culture intact, we recommend placing culture advocates in VP and hiring roles and while monitoring KPIs that balance each other out. For example, if you’re incentivizing fast growth, make sure you’re equally incentivizing churn on gross margin. Your team should feel empowered by a balanced incentive structure. Make culture a core distinguisher of your business and your team will prioritize and protect it.
Eliminate Your Ego
By nature, scaling takes a village, not a single individual. One of the best pieces of advice to heed in your journey to scale? Take your ego out of the equation. You must face the fact that you’re likely not the best person to run certain tasks. Don’t let not being able to get out of your own way become your biggest inhibitor of incredible growth.
To acknowledge that your company is better off having someone other than you running things is humbling, but it’s something you MUST accept to create a business that scales. By letting other people take credit, giving credit where it’s due, having some humility and always acknowledging the strength of others, you’ll be well on your way.
Know That It’s Ultimately a Decision
Fundamentally, scaling is a decision. It doesn’t need to be your end-all-be-all measure of success. Whether you choose to bootstrap or seek funding, you must act with intention on your journey to scale and attract the right people who support your vision. So, ask yourself, “Can my business run without me?” And, more importantly, “Do I want it to?”
Looking for a financial expert to help you scale your business? You’re in the right place. Here’s our COO, Matthew May, sharing a few additional insights into scaling your small business the right way.