Scaling up a business is challenging task and at times more daunting than setting up a new business. People, processes, funding and demographical understanding for scaling up a set business pose strong challenges and, more importantly, it requires an in-depth understanding of the needs and preferences of the new set of end users.
Scaling up a business also requires a lot of internalising with current business analysis of product and production capabilities and resource assessment to understand existing loopholes and glitches in service delivery, product innovation and consumer sentiments.
There are many aspects for consideration while designing expansion plans for a business. But the following factors provide a planned roadmap that no entrepreneur can risk ignoring.
Communications: The biggest challenge lies in bringing about the change in existing processes and, more importantly, in people. It is important for a business leader to communicate his vision to his team, motivate and prepare them for growth and seek strong association through the entire process.
An entrepreneur should make sure that all pillars of every vertical and department are well informed, aligned in processes and ready for all possible challenges before scaling up.
Communicating growth plans to existing investors is also an important factor as in certain unavoidable situations their monetary support, network or mentoring can provide the required impetus for sustenance.
Strong foundation in terms of resources goes a long way in assuring that the planned expansion process is smooth and productive.
Company Processes: Getting future ready. The probability of failure is much higher than success if the company processes are not defined, updated regularly and operationalized accordingly.
Early stage start-ups are a chaos and they go through various phases in their life cycle from surviving, getting funded to being profitable. There is a huge learning in this process and every entrepreneur should build necessary avenues to be future ready. Bring in innovation and be updated. Make resources accountable for their actions and impact. Get teams function in planned manners and understand gaps and dead ends in the delivery chain process.
It is imperative for any business to plan and design its business processes and procedures for seamless operations, expansion and service delivery.
Product innovation for customized delivery: Every entrepreneur has strong aspirations to have a national or global presence. But he has to remember that ‘One shoe does not fit all’ and this is a very apt example of differential preference and requirement for similar service requirement in a country like India where the preferences and needs change every few hundred kilometres.
End user requirements are also dependent on factors like culture, geography and religion to begin and understanding these user requirements along with factors like geographical constraints, competition assessment and purchasing power goes a long way in redefining processes for successful expansion.
Grass root knowledge about these preferences becomes quite crucial in delivering customised solutions. ‘Local expertise’ or ‘Ground Reality’ forms an important part of business growth, especially, during planned expansion where the service delivery is to an entirely new set of customers.
Contingency plan: This is one of the most important factors to consider in every aspect of business life. Keep your contingency plans ready for all possible scenarios.
There can be external factors that are beyond ones control which can hamper plan and have negative impact on cost, time and brand. It is advisable to have situation assessment with various possible outcomes and plan accordingly in case of unavoidable events or situations.
The start-up world is full of surprises and pivots are an integral part of a business strategy.
Funds: Money never goes out of fashion. With expansion comes the additional burden of expenses and it becomes very important to have control on cash burns with planned optimal utilization of available resources.
Along with a planned utilization of the existing funds, it is equally imperative for an entrepreneur to be ready with a plan for the next round of funding as well. This will help in planned geographical forays and in establishing required brand presence with uninterrupted operations due to financial support.
Namit Jain is the founder of ONN Bikes, India’s biggest and fastest growing Bike Rental Company.