As a business owner, one of your main concerns is probably about how you’re going to grow your business so you can follow a forward growth trajectory. After all, a stagnant company might as well be a dying one. Sure, there is a time (especially for new startups) for merely learning, trying new methods, and honing in on your product and brand values, but you’ll know when it’s time to start pushing for growth.
When asked about their best advice on how businesses can successfully scale their growth, these business owners and CEOs provided exceptional, tried-and-true advice. By learning from their own trial and error and methods for success, you can implement their top tips into your own business model to launch your company to new heights.
Keep reading to hear the best ways you can effectively grow your company.
The Preparation Stages:
The advice from the top business professionals fits into two clear categories based on the stage your company is in. The first level for companies is the early stages, also known as the time for preparation before fully launching into growth.
Make Sure You’re Ready for Growth
“The first thing I would say to anyone wondering how they can scale their business is to first ensure that they’re ready for growth. If you start to push your company too hard too soon, it can all fall apart. The early years for small and startup businesses are a time for learning, making mistakes, building a team, learning who to turn to for advice, perfecting your product, and forming solid relationships. You should first identify whether you’re truly ready to enter the growth phase or if you still need to take time in the learning stage. And if you realize it’s too early to focus on growth, don’t feel any shame about it; really take the time to gather all the knowledge, tools, and financial stability you’ll need in the next step,” says Shaun Price, Head of Customer Acquisition of MitoQ.
Create a Growth Plan
“Before you start scaling your business, you need a plan. Map out your objectives and include your sales growth forecast. When you strategize the steps you need to take, you should also organize the numbers and ensure your trajectory is feasible. By figuring everything out before you implement your plan, you’ll know it’s possible,” says Michael Jankie, Founder of The Natural Patch Co.
Learn Your Business Inside Out and Work on Your Leadership Style
“I learned the hard way that [as a CEO] you need to become credible and enlist support inside the company before you start trying to be a change agent. If you think you’re going to make change happen simply by force of personality or position or intellect, you’d better think again.
“So [at Amgen] I set out to learn the business from the ground up—and to show my desire to learn. I listened in executive meetings. I made calls with sales representatives. I asked one of our scientists…to teach me biology. He gave me reading assignments, and we’d have regular sessions in his office in front of a blackboard. Seven years later, as I was preparing to become CEO, I took six months and devoted roughly half my time to furthering my knowledge: I spent time in our labs, got tutored by a PhD biologist from McKinsey, and visited research chiefs at several pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
“Well, for one thing, a CEO must always be switching between what I call different altitudes—tasks of different levels of abstraction and specificity. At the highest altitude, you’re asking the big questions: What are the company’s mission and strategy? Do people understand and believe in these aims? Are decisions consistent with them?
“At the lowest altitude, you’re looking at on-the-ground operations: Did we make that sale? What was the yield on the last lot in that factory? How many days of inventory do we have for a particular drug?
“And then there’s everything in between… You have to be working at all of these levels simultaneously, and that’s not easy. I’ve decided that I need to look at these big-picture options two or three times a year and then put them away, unless a dramatic event changes the landscape. Otherwise, it can be destabilizing to the organization,” says Kevin Sharer, CEO of Amgen.
Focus on Social Media
“Being present and active on social media is paramount for businesses in 2021, but even more so for your brand to be marketing itself on social platforms. Why? It’s simple: that’s where the consumers are. Before you launch into scaling your business, and during your forward momentum, promote your business on social media. You should consider it a necessary daily focus because if you stop being active on the various apps, your ranking will decrease, meaning less people will view and interact with your content. Social media upkeep is a full time job, so make sure you have the right team prioritizing your social presence,” says Lauren Kleinman, Co-Founder of The Quality Edit.
Be Ready to Make Sacrifices
“If you want to scale your business, be aware that expansion will probably require sacrifices from you and your team members. No person achieves greatness without some deal of hardship. Your business will need to sacrifice, but you might need to as well. Be ready to start putting more time in at work and possibly investing more of your personal finances into the company. Your business may need to redistribute finances from department to department as well. Have a plan for each of these struggles beforehand so they don’t catch you off guard,” says James Ville, Chief Product Officer of GunSkins.
Pinpoint Where the Funds Will Come From
“If you’re going to further develop your company, one of the first priorities is knowing where the funds will come from. There are extensive options available for small business funding that you’re probably already utilizing, but take some time to reconsider them for the excess funding you’ll need for your growth plan. Perhaps consider a bank loan or business line of credit; and if your product has proven success, you may be able to attract a venture capitalist or angel investor. Be sure to widely assess all your options before moving forward,” says Adelle Archer, CEO and Co-Founder of Eterneva.
Network and Gather People You Trust Into Your Team
“You need a strong team of people coming alongside you during your business’s scaling mission because, as they say, it takes an army. You should be networking often to find those who are in the same boat as you. Take the opportunity beforehand to find mentors and team members you trust. These will be the people who take your company to new heights, so choose them wisely. You can even survey your competitors and learn from their mistakes and successes,” says Katie Kiernan, Co-Founder of Nue Life.
The Growth Stages:
Once you’ve arranged the necessary beforehand steps to ensure your company is ready to fully focus on growth, it is time to take measures that will set your business on a forward growth trajectory. The following steps are prime for any business that has already made arrangements to prepare for scaling.
Work on Your Customer Service
“To scale your business you need to prioritize having strong customer relations so you build a brand with credibility and solid customer reviews. Accept all feedback and strive to put the customers’ satisfaction first. Just think of businesses known for their fantastic customer service approach, like Trader Joe’s: the company is renowned for its friendly and personable customer service, and the workers’ hearts for adapting the policies in order to go above and beyond to provide more for their customers. Perhaps the best name you can make for yourself is a company that cares about its customers,” says Ann McFerran, CEO of Glamnetic.
Communicate Your Company’s Brand
“When scaling your business, it’s important to start with successfully branding your company. In other words, you will need to paint a clear picture of what consumers can expect when purchasing your products or signing up for your services. Be sure your company goals are visible, and make communication with your customers a priority,” says Marc Atiyeh, CEO of Pawp.
Make Long Term Investments
“Start investing in the long term. One of the best examples of this is in terms of your people. As you begin to scale your business, pouring into your employees, supplying opportunities for learning, and working with your team to find a way to scale with them effectively will not only help you grow, but help you remain stable. These long term investments include understanding your funds, and your direction so that you can properly plan with your team and budget. This investment in the human element, however, connects to all other aspects of the company, and is the cornerstone of healthy growth,” says Karina Karassev, Founder and COO of Stori.
Have Empathetic and Understanding Leaders
“This has been a sustained period of uncertainty and fear, but also a great opportunity to forge a stronger, more cohesive and motivated workforce. If CEOs can step into a ministerial role—extending hands virtually, truly listening, relating to and connecting with people where they are—there is enormous potential to inspire people and strengthen bonds and loyalties within the company. The people you are leading have big expectations of you. They want you to be perfect and often forget that you are human. But the more human you are with them, the more trust and empathy they lend to you. They understand you better. That gives you the ability to do so much more, as people give you the benefit of the doubt,” says Alain Bejjani, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim (MAF).
Protect Your Values
“Through all of the expansion and change your company is undergoing while you scale your business, your values should not waver. Stick to your brand and protect its principles. When a company doesn’t stray from its core values even in the midst of great success, customers recognize the authenticity and like to reward it with their commitment. You can’t hide genuinity,” says Sarah Pirrie, Brand Director of Healist Naturals.
Don’t Skimp on Product or Customer Service Quality in Order to Reach Growth Goals
“Although it can be tempting to cut corners during your company’s growth phase because it seems like doing so will speed up your forward progression, don’t give in to the desire! Growth is never worth it at the expense of product or service quality. If you aren’t able to scale your business and still match your usual level of quality, then you aren’t ready to be growing your company yet. You don’t want your brand to become known as poor in product quality or customer service. You will still reach your growth when you don’t skimp on quality, even though it might take a bit longer,” says Rachel Jones, Head of PR of Hope Health.
Hire the Right Employees
“Your team can really be the reason for or against your success. That is why it is so crucial to choose the right people who will accompany your business on its road to expansion. You can do yourself a huge favor early on by checking that everyone is on the same page about the goals, priorities, and growth trajectory, and that they are committed to doing their part to make it happen,” says Jae Pak, Founder of Jae Pak M.D. Medical.
Focus on Preparation for the Future
“The world is different in 2021 than it was even two years ago; the business world has changed too. As such, your leadership needs to adapt with what the times call for. For instance, employees need a solid rock they can depend on in the workspace to alleviate the stress and uncertainty circling their work life. Listen to your team members and do your best to offer them a different kind of leadership focused around preparation for the future. If you can boost their confidence over their stable position, company morale will rise, which in turn will lead to a happier, more productive team. And everyone needs to be at their best if your business is going to undergo radical growth,” says Lindsay McCormick, Founder and CEO of Bite.
Now that you have such a comprehensive list of the best ways to successfully scale your business, you should have no doubt about where to begin. If it’s time to grow your company, simply follow the advice above and watch your company expand. Organization and preparedness is key, so whether you’re at the early stages or already thoroughly invested in your growth, remember to keep everything in order.