By: Sara Popovic
Growth is a primary objective for most entrepreneurs. However, scaling to a new level comes with many unexpected challenges. It is surprisingly easy to make detrimental mistakes that can lose you a lot of money or even shut down your business. The best way to avoid these mistakes is learning from those who already scaled their business and learn from them. In this article, we gathered five largest mistakes from our experience and that from other entrepreneurs. Identify these mistakes in your own business, eliminate them and watch how your scaling process begins to flourish.
When your company is still in its initial phase, you might be able to make all the decisions and handle every functional task. In the long run, however, not letting go of the reins might prove fatal to your growth. You start working long hours, trying to handle too many tasks simultaneously and as a result, starting to overlook important things. This attitude won’t only have a negative impact on your mental and physical health, but will also slow down or even completely shut down your scaling process. What you need to do instead is focusing on your role as a leader, rather than manager. Find people who understand your vision and who you can trust to make the right decisions, and build a team that can move faster than you could ever do alone. Consequently, you will be able to work solely on the areas where you can make the greatest impact. Give up control, share your vision, continue making connections and ensure secured funding for your company. This change in your role alone can significantly accelerate the scaling process of your organization.
Many entrepreneurs focus only on the hard skills when hiring. Although an A player with the right set of skills is always a valuable addition to your business, don’t completely disregard their passion. Take time with your hiring process and go through a test period, where both you and the potential employee can determine whether they are a good fit for your company. Their attitude, willingness to learn and alignment with your vision might prove crucial for the long-term growth of your business. Additionally, make sure to hire people on time and before you actually need them. Give them enough time to adapt and prepare so they’re ready to show their A game when the serious challenges arrive.
It is surprising how many entrepreneurs try to scale their business without having a solid plan in place. Yet having a plan and being proactive, rather than reactive, will allow you to prevent problems instead of fighting fires when they already arrive. To do so, you need to set up a clear aim on where you’re headed in all aspects of the business. This aim might be based simply on your intuition or past experience when you start. However, once your company starts evolving, understanding and effectively using analytics as well as continuous testing and experiments will be crucial to establish processes for long- term and steady growth.
One of the most ironic but also most common mistakes new entrepreneurs make is scaling prematurely. Although you might feel optimistic and motivated, if you still haven’t established a good product-market fit or don’t have sufficient resources to support your scaling plan, it might give mediocre results or even flop. Therefore, before trying to skyrocket your business, make sure you already have repeat customers, a product that constantly improves, a strong and passionate team, and a solid financial structure. All of these aspects ensure your company can handle the growth and all the challenges that come with it.
If you want to build solid foundations for your company, start managing its culture from the beginning. Culture can tremendously accelerate growth as it encompasses all the steps already mentioned in this article. Having a clear vision and values operating in your business will help you and your team to make the right decisions, set up solid processes and correctly determine the ideal time to start scaling.
So, now you know what are the biggest and most common mistakes entrepreneurs make when scaling their business. Did you recognize some of your own mistakes among them? If you did, don’t be discouraged. Every day is a good day to grow and improve your business, and your openness to change will ensure your scaling goes exactly as planned.