Sadly, small businesses fail more often than not – even those built on great ideas. While there are no shortcuts to success, there are certainly some practical actions you can take to scale your small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) – and a lot of things to avoid, too. I’ve learnt many things from scaling my own businesses, so here’s a list of growth-boosting dos and don’ts.
1. Do be a team player
Hire smart individuals that need you, not to provide answers, but to facilitate collaborative solutions to problems. Get comfortable sharing your responsibility and let your colleagues support you as much as you support them.
2. Don’t advertise your jobs
As a small business owner, you’ve worked hard to build up networks, making connections with interesting, intelligent people. Take advantage of this: ask your contacts for recommendations – and extend this to your team by offering an employee referral fee.
3. Do talk money early
Raise the topic of money and benefits early on. You don’t have time to waste on unnecessary interviews, and neither do they… although you should always be open to negotiation for the right person.
4. Don’t keep problems to yourself
Remaining transparent with your employees will keep them as informed as you are. It also allows them to make better decisions and solve problems earlier.
5. Do invest in HR early
Hiring a HR leader will improve your hiring process and retention. They’ll introduce solid policies that motivate and reward – a team of happy, engaged employees leads to sustainable long-term growth.
6. Do empower your employees
Your ability to scale often depends on how well you can empower your team. Give your staff real autonomy so they can truly influence outcomes. When this is done right, your team will care more about their work and deliver beyond your expectation.
7. Do predict the future
Get smart with your financial forecasting to understand your position today and what’s possible in the near future and beyond. Insight like this helps you control your cashflow and expenditure, prepare for pitfalls and make strategic decisions.
8. Don’t take funding too early
Build your business and prove its worth before looking for outside investment. Potential investors will be more impressed by a validated business that’s primed to scale for success.
9. Do maintain a start-up mindset
Try to maintain an agile, flexible and reactive approach for as long as possible and maintain your original values. Capture and document this information to preserve your culture across dispersed teams.
10. Don’t lose touch
Don’t let your communication suffer as your SME grows. Simple tools like Slack, Asana and Google Hangouts, help everyone keep in touch and stay focused.
11. Do look after yourself
You can’t run a business while running yourself into the ground. Look after your wellbeing and lean on your team for support – there’s freedom to be gained from showing them you’re human and need help too.