Scaling your tech startup can be both exciting and challenging. By this point, you have worn our your MVP and are now seeing increased demand from paying customers. This would require streamlined systems and processes with systems to support them. I’d like to share my 2c on what have learned on my journey in the various businesses I had. I hope these tips will give you a good foundation or at least food for thought to get you started on this journey. Let’s dive in.
Tip #1 - Clearly define your growth strategy
Don’t underestimate the need to plan. Having a clear growth strategy, that incorporates our evolving customer base, the competitive landscape, your product, roadmap, and a solid sales plan (all of which may pivot as you execute) is crucial. Your growth plan should incorporate all the aspects that form the golden thread to attaining your growth goals. Each of these should link back to your vision and be measured in a meaningful way that allows you to quickly ascertain what needs to be changed/adjusted as you grow.
Tip #2 - How fast do you want to scale?
Organic or inorganic growth is another aspect to consider. Organic is slower and involves growing the business gradually over time, through customer growth, improved products and services, and improved marketing efforts. Inorganic growth, on the other hand, involves expansion through mergers and acquisitions, and other strategic partnerships. Which is best for you and how will you fund it?
Tip #3 - Build a kick-ass team
You may be brilliant, but you can’t do this alone. Attitude, commitment, and competency go hand-in-hand, and team efforts should be aligned with your vision and growth plan. Someone once shared some wisdom that his mentor shared with him - the saying goes - “Talk the talk and walk the walk”. Know that your walk will always talk louder than your talk, so stop talking and start walking.” This holds true with teams. You have the talkers and then you have the doers - figure out the balance and cut deadweight. Build bridges with those who are going to battle with you.
Tip #4 - Invest in your people, processes and systems
Your business, at any stage, can be broken down into distinct divisions, from Strategy to operations and PR. Defining the workflow to ensure efficient delivery to the customer is core to the systems you will need to implement to cope with demand. Balancing these will inevitably lead to growth. Make sure people know what they need to be doing, and how they will be measured, and ensure that they are clear about the processes and policies by which they need to abide. All this must be supported with the right tools to get shit done! Look after the right people and they will make sure the processes and systems are always tracking, meeting your targets, and attaining your vision.
Tip #5 - You are no one without your customers
Attracting and acquiring customers on the one side is great, but keeping them coming back is even better. To my detriment, I have previously underestimated the power of retention. Never assume a happy customer will remain a loyal customer. Invest in customer support and engagement. If you understand your customer and their problems, which they are paying you to solve, you will find yourself in a better place than your competition. This contributes to getting a greater piece of the pie in comparison to your competition.
Tip #6 - Always be improving
You can manage what you don’t measure. You can’t improve anything you don’t measure either. You should be measuring all aspects of performance in an organisation. Develop key metrics that measure the attainment of your goals - we know these as SMART goals (Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based). Always be improving by finding ways to do things better. You need to be agile and flexible to respond to changing market conditions and your customers' evolving needs. Continuously survey your audience.
Tip #7 - Keep an eye on the money
Scaling a business required money….in some cases, lots of it! Get your cash flow in order and know how you spend your money. There are different funding options, but it all boils down to what will work for our business and when will it be needed. To accompany your growth plan, have a clear funding strategy - which may include raising from external investors. Hint hint! Nudge Nudge! We can help with Angel investments and VC…and even relocate your brilliant ass to Canada!
Building a startup and then scaling it, is hard! These are just tips that are at the forefront of my mind, based on my experience and failings, and successes. You win some and you lose some, but it's important to know what the situation is at all times so you can pivot as you need. A well-defined and even better-executed growth strategy will cover it all.
I hope this helps! Please like, share, comment, and get others to subscribe. You never know how you are impacting millions with little gestures like a share!
How can we help you:
I’m preparing several workshops and webinars starting in March. I would love to know what topics would interest you most and the types of people you would like to learn from. Comment below or DM me via the chat. You will be helping many Founders and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Our Funding Fix Programme is always open to applications, for those raising their seed to series C rounds - please feel free to apply.