By Samuel Thimothy, VP at OneIMS.com.
There's nothing quite like scaling a business. Finding the right strategies, processes and ideas to help bring a business to the next level is challenging, especially if you've never done it before. Although scaling can be intimidating, it's necessary to keep a business healthy and growing. However, if you're walking into the scaling process without a clue what you're doing, it can feel like you're never making any progress.
I was a 24-year-old entrepreneur when I first successfully scaled my business. While I thought I knew what I was doing, I often look back and wish I could give myself some advice. If I could go back and advise my 24-year-old self, here are the four scaling lessons I would share.
Create Clear Systems and Processes
Don't waste your time trying to scale a business without a clear and distinct plan. While there will be changes, lessons and hurdles you will need to overcome as you go, hoping to "just figure it out" rarely works for entrepreneurs.
If you want to successfully scale your business as efficiently as possible, clearly identify the systems and processes you and your team will need to follow. By documenting the steps, guidelines and procedures, you can ensure consistency and control the quality of your output.
Make Your Expectations Clear
Your team is there to help you through the scaling process. However, each team member needs to be giving it their all. If someone is slipping by only doing the bare minimum or they're not following the appropriate procedures you've laid out, it could hold your business back.
Work with your team to ensure everyone is on the same page. Make your goals and expectations clear but speak with your team to make sure they have the materials and resources they need to get the job done. Develop a system of checks and balances that keep everyone working towards the same larger goal.
Delegate and Elevate
When I was just starting my career, I wanted to control everything. I didn't trust that other members of my team could get the job done as well as I could. And the growth of my business seriously suffered for it. I tied myself down with too many tasks and I just couldn't do it all.
Don't be afraid to delegate responsibilities to the members of your team. As the CEO or founder, it's important that you stay focused on the bigger picture. By assigning certain tasks to specific individuals, teams or departments, you can get more done while also thinking strategically about the direction you need the business to move.
Become a Leader, Not a Manager
The biggest lesson I've learned from scaling a business is that it takes a team. In order to bring a brand to the next level, you need to have the right people working beside you. To motivate, influence or encourage your team members to help you achieve your goals, you need to be a leader rather than a manager.
As founder, assume the role of company leader. Help your team overcome their hurdles while encouraging them to try harder to reach their goals. Listen to their concerns, fears or problems and work with them to find the right solutions. When you make the people on your team a priority, they'll go above and beyond to help your business successfully scale.
As a young entrepreneur, I quickly realized that scaling a business isn't easy. But it isn't supposed to be.
It took trial and error, a few mistakes and a lot of hard work to successfully scale to the next level. However, when you have the right systems in place, the right team beside you and the right attitude to tackle the challenges you'll face along the way, you can get there.
Samuel Thimothy is the VP at OneIMS.com, an inbound marketing agency and co-founded Clickx.io, the digital marketing intelligence platform.