Business means that you can take on the extra growth without becoming overwhelmed. In other words, you’ll have adequate resources and staffing to meet your increased demand.
That’s why it’s imperative for small business owners to focus on the big picture beyond growing their business to the enterprise level in a matter of months.
Instead, you’ll first need to consider things like your company culture, core values, internal processes, cash flow, and business model.
In other words, you need to learn how to crawl before you take off on a Forrest Gump-style sprint.
One of the best ways to learn how to scale your business successfully is to look at examples and advice from companies that have done it.
That’s precisely what we’re here to do today, so you’ve come to the right place if you’re after a scaling strategy to enjoy sustainable growth.
Read on to learn how you can scale your business to handle rapid growth with ease.
The Difference Between Growing and Scaling a Business
Formally defined, growing your business is when you increase your revenue by adding new resources, such as capital, team members, or technology.
The problem there is that a steadily growing business will require a ton of resources to sustain it, which becomes self-defeating at a certain point.
For instance, say that your business is humming along at full capacity serving 10 clients. In an effort to grow and expand, you take on 10 new employees.
Sounds great, right?
The only problem is that your team currently has all they can handle, so you won’t be able to cater to those new clients without hiring new employees (unless you want to overwork your staff and see a noticeable dip in performance and customer satisfaction).
Hiring new staff means spending even more resources, which can create a vicious cycle of unsustainable growth.
Scaling, on the other hand, is when revenue increases without a significant increase in resources.
An example would be making the switch to cloud-based automation software, enabling you to take on new clients & earn more revenue without having to hire more staff or spend more resources.
With this type of software on board, you will enjoy scalability and sustainable growth without drowning in debt.
You can think of scaling as how you plan for your growth. A scaling strategy, then, is the fertile soil that you plant your business in to grow.
Learning How a Company Scales
Scaling your business is about staying true to your original vision while managing the impact growth has on your company.
It’s about setting yourself up to handle new customer acquisitions en masse without blowing a ton of resources or overworking your team to get them.
To scale a business, you need to establish systems and processes that will set you up for rapid growth – such as developing your brand identity, creating a customer avatar, setting up core values, and optimizing workflows.
This stage is also where you must build your client experience and business plan to take your products and services to market.
In essence, the scaling period is the most important time for your business if you want to make it in the long term.
Do it right, and you’ll be set up for success, no matter how rapidly you intend to grow. Skip a step, or don’t take scaling seriously, and your business will never be able to grow beyond a certain point.
When should you start the scaling process?
It’s never too early to start establishing a solid foundation for scaling up, so you can start planning whenever you’d like. When scaling your business, it’s best to wait until your business plan is in place and you have very few customer complaints.
That’s a sign that what you’re doing is working, and with the proper foundation in place, you can begin selling your products and services on a larger scale.
Successful Examples of Companies That Scaled Up
Now that you know what scaling your business is and why it matters, it’s time to look at some examples of companies that have been there and done that.
These are companies that took scaling their business seriously, and it paid off in a big way, so let’s learn what they did.
Example #1: VanMoof
Dutch company VanMoof sells state-of-the-art city bicycles that feature integrated alarms and intelligent motors.
They’re an example of a small brand that was able to scale internationally due to their tenacity and smart planning.
While they’re now a highly successful international bike company, they didn’t start out that way. Instead, VanMoof had very humble beginnings in the Netherlands, starting out with a simple bike model that had integrated lights and not much else.
Their sales were high locally, but the founders were dreaming far bigger than that – they wanted to go international.
So they went back to the drawing board and devised a plan to make their dream a reality.
They completely retooled and revamped their bicycles and created a new business plan (a direct-to-consumer or D2C model) that made vital cost-cutting improvements on staffing and manufacturing through automation and other methods.
With that, they had the capability to take their bicycles beyond the Netherlands, and they would do just that. By 2018, they had opened six new stores around the world, and 70% of their revenue was coming from international sales. To sweeten the pot, Rabo Investments partnered with them and provided a €12.5 M growth loan.
Example #2: Zevo
Zevo is a plug-in insect and pest remover that’s safe around children and pets. Once they developed their product, they began selling it online with successful results.
At that point, it was clear that they were onto something. They had a unique product that outdid the competition by being non-toxic and pet-friendly.
The only things that needed to be added were a team and a budget large enough to scale the business.
They heavily implemented D2C testing straight from the get-go, and the investment paid off. They A/B tested their ad copy, subject lines, calls to action, images, and other types of content with their audience and stuck with what worked the most.
Zevo’s senior director attributes this testing to shaping their brand communications, which led the brand to strike deals with major retailers Target and Home Depot.
Example #3: BE-CI
BE-CI is a building envelope consulting firm that was able to grow from $3 million to $11 million in revenue due to its scaling strategy.
Once the company hit $3 million, the CEO wanted to start scaling up.
The only issue was communication issues were holding the company back. That’s when the CEO hired a certified communication coach to work with his team.
Besides that, BE-CI also defined its core values, built accountability by setting employee goals, and held regular ‘rhythm’ meetings with the team that included essential reading for everyone to align them on a central vision.
The company was able to grow to nearly $11 million in revenue, and they’re now expanding their offices to the West.
Tips for Scaling Your Business
Your business can become just as successful as the examples above with the right strategy.
That’s why we’ve put together these proven effective tips for scaling any type of business. As a result, you can start building the foundation to scale right here, right now.
That way, whenever your genius business ideas cause you to start growing like wildfire, you’ll be prepared for it.
Tip #1: Map out your milestones
Any great strategy requires a roadmap for success, and scaling your business is no different.
To start, you’ll want to identify key milestones along the way toward your ultimate goal, which is scaling up.
First, define where it is you want to be, or in other words, how high you want to scale. Do you want to grow to become an enterprise-level company, or are you content with being a smaller business?
Once you’ve got a goal in mind, start by identifying when your business will completely run out of cash.
From there, define the milestones you need to hit to ensure that doesn’t happen, complete with a timeline. That will help you keep your eye on the prize without going over budget, which is essential for scaling a business.
Tip #2: Optimize your products & services to perfection
You won’t be able to scale up if you don’t already have valuable products and services that your customers need.
As such, you should strive to perfect your products and services before thinking about scaling your operations. That means taking plenty of time to work out kinks, fix bugs, and ensure the quality of your products.
Otherwise, these issues will only become more severe as you grow.
The early days of your business are when you should focus on perfecting what you do by improving your offerings, listening to customer feedback, and finding potential issues.
All too often, entrepreneurs want to grow like crazy before they do anything else, which is usually a huge mistake.
If you take the time to perfect what you do early on, scaling your business will become a breeze as you’ll have already fixed most growth issues that companies run into as they expand.
With airtight products and services, there’ll also be plenty of demand for what you do, so it won’t be hard to reach new customers. Are you eager to scale up your small business so you can start competing with the big dogs in your field?
If so, you’ll first need to realize the difference between scaling a business and growing a business.
Early on, many young startups & entrepreneurs become obsessed with business growth, but this can lead them to grow beyond their means, which can bring their performance to a screeching halt once they really start to gain momentum.
Properly scaling your bu
Tip #3: Construct your dream team
Another mistake startups make they want to grow before establishing a team that can handle the increased demand.
A gigantic aspect of scaling your business is forming a winning and sustainable team of managers, supervisors, and base-level employees.
Yet, your in-house staff only comprises one part of your team.
You’ll also need to develop positive and long-lasting relationships with suppliers and form partnerships with outside organizations to scale successfully.
Tip #4: Create a customer avatar
You need to understand your target audience intimately if you want to scale your business with any degree of success.
The best way to do so is to create a customer avatar that represents your niche audience’s wants, needs, and desires.
How do you do that?
You do so by conducting audience research and then creating an actual living, breathing persona. Your customer avatar should have a name, address, job, relationships, spending habits, hobbies, and more.
That will help you understand what types of content and new products your audience wants to see the most, which will help you scale your business.
Beyond that, you can use your customer avatar to build your sales funnel in a buyer-centric way. Instead of focusing your sales funnel on your needs as a business, focus on your customer’s typical behavior instead.
For instance, you may discover that your audience prefers discovery calls over filling out lengthy online forms.
Tip #5: Develop Your Story and Brand
To be able to scale and find success, your company needs a strong brand identity.
That means clearly identifying what it is you offer, which problems you solve, and how you’ll improve customers’ lives through your products and services.
Standard brand-building techniques include SEO & content marketing, social media advertising, and influencer marketing.
If your business has a clearly defined brand identity early on, it will make scaling your business that much easier.
Final Thoughts: Scale Your Business
Growing your business is fantastic, but it can’t happen without first establishing a foundation to scale.
That way, your team will be able to meet the increasing demands of taking on more clients and projects.
Automation software, SaaS (software-as-a-service), partnerships, and brand-building are all candid ways to set yourself up to scale.
Do you need some outside help with scaling your business?
If so, don’t wait to check out our white-label marketing services at The HOTH, as we’ll equip you with everything you need to scale successfully. Our digital marketing gurus are always available for consulting, so feel free to book a call today.
Really great post Clayton. Can’t believe I read all of it. Reminds us of what’s important. And you have adequately instilled the ethos of ‘solve your custs problems’ into Greg. He spent 40 mins talking to me one day. It has already paid dividends and will likely pay many more.
Thank you for your time.
Thanks for the kind words!
Great motivational article. Keep up the good work!!
No problem, thanks!
Awesome article Clayton. As a small start-up, it was encouraging to me to read this, BUT also provoked me to ask a lot of really hard questions. Thanks for what you guys do and your massive integrity in an industry with little. I have been trying to get my alumni football business to #1 in the main keyword for some time. I now feel confident that I can do it with your help.
Thanks for the kind words! Crush ’em.
after a long time in the trenches of online business and I can safely say that this is the types of things you only find out after wasting thousands of dollars… great advice! (just where were you 15 years ago?) lol
Thanks! It’s been a rollercoaster of learning for us too!
Very useful article for small businesses like us who are trying to scale up. Thanks for sharing these valuable insights. We had been a client of yours and glad to know that so much of effort and planning is there in the backend to deliver your services
Thanks for the kind words!
Clayton, great article! Your company consistently provides great information for free and by investing in your clients and potential clients you teach us valuable, practical lessons that we can apply to our business for greater success.
The real story of startup glamour lol. Truly comes down to going for broke sometimes. I’ve pawned half my primary laptop inventory before to hang in there one more month. No regrets only lessons!
Great post Clayton! One of the most valuable points are “what you spend your time on…” – I’ve been in the industry for over 15 years and have fallen into the trap of doing way too many tasks myself and focusing on the wrong tasks.
This slows down the growth of your business and teaches you how to be a great employee for your business and not a great business owner.
Outsource and automate and growth will follow.
Thanks again for sharing your insights!
Thanks for the comment!
Thanks for the comment!
Thanks man. Amazingly motivational and I do get few new ideas to move me forward.
Clayton you however go me confused on one of your services: Hoth for HomePage links on sidebar.
In Q & A section, you described the websites as PBN sites? But your letter indicated they are normal sites operated by individual owners, so saying again “most look like PBN”?
Or am I missing something?
Hey, They are not part of a private network that we built or anything like that, however if you look at the actual sites you will see that many of them resemble PBN sites in terms of aesthetics.
Awesome post and congrats!
“Focus your working hours on stuff that aligns with your goals..”
That is key.
You constantly and consistently need to be checking in on yourself to ensure your actions are within alignment of what you truly want out of your business (and life).
Boom!! Now that’s a motivational article. Excel spreadsheets and Dropbox = impossible to scale. Glad you got that all worked out. 😛
Love how candid you are about the mistakes you made along the way. Many people would hide behind that but you just threw it on the table. Cool beans!
Some of this reading reminds me of the Ready Fire Aim philosophy. Its a great article and from all I’ve read, pretty much encapsulates the current thinking – that which is actually working. I loved reading this.
Ready Fire Aim is a GREAT book
Ya , it’s Clayton time for a change ( from the usual Greg that inbox me ). I read end to end rod this 10 post! Amazing stuff and influential for me to take action too.
Thanks for the shot in the arm. We all need these reminders from time to time. #10 resonates with me right now. Thanks Clayton!
Really great article. These tips are really good for all those small buinesses looking to come up.
Thanks for this post! It reminds us that a business that doesn’t make money is basically a hobby. I love seeing how you guys did it and I don’t feel so bad running so lean! Keepnup the business articles, they are appreciated!
You wrote this article at the perfect time haha. I’ve been needing to keep my head in the game, I struggle with it having things on auto pilot, and wearing too many hats.
I do 7/10 on your list well which is why our company has grown so much in just 5 months. But there’s so much more I can do, and reading this was just re affirmation of what I already knew, thanks Clayton!
Thanks for the great read Clayton! I stumbled upon your team on twitter via a searchengineland post. Your emails are the first vendor I wecome in my inbox each day avid actually read. I’ve so far made two purchases one project underway and look forward to doing more business together in 2018.
Thanks Joy 🙂
Congratulations to your 10,000 users. Thank you for a long and interesting read.
Great Article Clayton!
We are just in the Stuck position, wandering from here to there looking out for settling down in the overly crowded digital marketing space.
Your article helped me to find where to focus and how to move ahead.
Thanks a million!
Great post. I’ve learnt a few things I need to do differently.
Thank you John Clayton for your great article. I got your post the time I needed it most. I am in a situation where I am thinking about how to put my websites together for easy management. What I have read in your article has put me in the right direction.
Thanks for your sharing
Thanks sir John Clayton,
This is really a great one encouraging and inpiring article for me.
I loved the article. The most important advice in my opinion is to be profitable from day 1, but all of them are precious advices. Thanks for sharing. Raquel from Brazil.
I have justed started using HOTH and I have been impressed with the information provided and the support for your services. The article provides some great key insights on scaling a business that I will be able to use in my business as it grows. Thanks.
I’m interested in knowing few things that may relate to HOTHs growth:
1. Is it the New Content that you people used to Publish Daily?
2. Are you also doing SEO (Off-Page) for HOTH? And what type of Link Building?
3. Is there any other element important in SEO and growth that you are following?
1. We do publish new content to help rank for organic search traffic.
2. We do guest posts and acquire links from high DA websites whenever we can.
3. For overall growth, we try to go for quality+quantity of backlinks from a variety of sources combined with our content and some paid advertising, but most of our growth is from SEO alone.
Hope that helps, thanks!
Really valuable article. It reminds us that a business that doesn’t make money is basically a hobby. The most important advice in my opinion is to be profitable from day 1. Thanks for sharing.
Agree, thanks Gustavo!
Hi Clayton, I actually read you full article & couple of reviews. I just started an eCommerce site past 4 months & have my hands full, trying to juggle all the balls by myself…Dev, Mkt, Sales, Products, Advert, Site Traffic/ranking etc. There were good takeaways from your article & will try to implement some. Thanks !
This is an inspiring piece for small business people. keep it up sir.
Very good and useful article!
very informative article , thanks for sharing