July 31, 2014
So your startup is really getting off the ground, and you’re ready to be more than a team of core co-founders. Taking the plunge to scaling your startup can be tricky, as your startup is your baby, your most prized possession, and, most likely, your entire life. It’s important to scale your startup at the right time and have a solid foundation of product-market fit before taking your business to the next level. But scaling is a good thing, so be excited! We’ve finally come to the point of scaling and getting our very own office, so here are the five tips we’ve learned in scaling a startup.
1. Let Go and Delegate. This is probably the hardest part. You’re used to having control over every single product development and promotional piece, but those days are over. Remember the Pareto Principle – focus on the most effective 20% and delegate 80% that does not need to be controlled by you.
2. Keep your Finances Extremely Organized. With more people, costs go up (and sales as well), so it’s extremely important to make sure you have a close eye on finances so you don’t spend too much or skimp where it’s necessary. Tools like Wave and inDinero can analyze your spending habits and even compares that to competition so you have an idea of your spending in comparison to other companies. Tools like these offer visual financial dashboards that make tracking finances easy, so you don’t have to hire someone else for this task.
3. Build Relationships and Promote Yourself. Now that your company is getting bigger, your network must grow as well. You may be a shy CEO, but you can’t be online. As your company is scaling, your network is going to become more and more important, so you must be utilizing sites like LinkedIn and Google+. Your online reputation will become synonymous with your brand, so watch what you’re saying out there, as it will reflect your company.
4. Make a Process for Everything. Take every single task your company has and make a process — seriously. Imagine that your staff is gone one day – would someone be able to take over their tasks? How easily? If the answer is no, then you have some work to do. Sites like Lucidchart are a great way to visually show how tasks move forward. They also make it really easy for new employees to jump on board fast.
5. Outsource. What you can’t do – outsource! If you can’t program, outsource development. If you can’t design, freelance a designer. There are many sites like Freelancer out there where you can find talent willing to take on short-term projects. Just because you don’t have a marketer on the team, doesn’t mean you don’t need it — it means you need to find someone fast. Though startups are a small core group of people that work day in and day out together, some tasks are more affordable or simply better done by someone outsourced.
These tools can help any startup go from 1 person to 10 people quickly, so it’s a good idea to start thinking about these steps even in the early stages of a company. A lot of times when you start to scale, it’s fast and chaotic, so having processes and tools in order will help it be a smooth transition.
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