The Great British Entrepreneur Scale-Up Conference will attract an audience of 500 founders, entrepreneurs and business owners from ambitious businesses.
Working in association with Coutts, NatWest and RBS alongside significant partners and the media the inaugural Scale-Up Conference will take place in Central London on 20th November 2017 touching upon several areas of how to scale up your business from experienced entrepreneurs. Nimisha Brahmbhatt, coach for creative entrepreneurs and offers her top five tips to get businesses scaling up.
The first practical tip to scale starts with you, the entrepreneur. Get clear, now more than ever on why you are in business (especially if your start-up phase has involved a lot of trial and error), because scaling up requires more grit as a person than it does just practical advice! Invest in your own self-awareness. As a start-up or in the early stages of your business you have been learning and if you aren’t a seasoned Entrepreneur those lessons would have not only taught you more about your business but would have also highlighted where there are aspects of your own self that may be limiting you from moving forward (procrastination, self-worth, etc.). Your self-awareness and knowing who you are will impact your decision-making, your ability to manage people, challenges the list is endless. This is my own personal learning. I have invested more into myself before I scaled because I knew there was work to be done and that would impact the success of everything I did moving forward.
Invest in your customer. As businesses get bigger they can sometimes forget the one person who is going to make them survive, their customer. Think about customer service, think about after-care, and build water-tight processes which ensure they are happy and well looked-after! That doesn’t just mean getting them through the door and securing the sale. Think about engaging them after, turn them into fans. It takes a thousand good interactions with a customer to build credibility but only one bad incident to un-do it all and potentially lose out on new business! If you are stuck model your best clients to date, what was it about their experience with your brand or business that they loved, and build that further. Build resources in your business such as customer journey maps, which show every interaction with the customer that you would need to or like to have. This will influence all the tech you need, the team, the resources and the marketing you will need to do. A great resource I love to use with my clients is www.customerchampions.co.uk who are experts in on converting customer feedback into profitable action!
Know your finances! Don’t leave it to your accountant or financial advisor. If you don’t like numbers… learn how to. Let’s take a moment here. No-one on ever said business was all roses and sunshine! Like any job, there are parts of it you will love and parts you won’t. For many of you it’s the numbers, you see a spreadsheet or talk of finances and you cease up. Financial control can be something you assign to someone else but knowing how your finances are on day-to-day basis is the key to understanding how to succeed in your scaling up journey! https://www.waveapps.com/ offers free online accounting and invoicing to help you keep track of your finances.
Automate! The concept of a ‘Lean Organisation’ couldn’t be more real than it is today. The Digital Age, the explosion of free-lancers and now with Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence becoming more present in our lives, automating couldn’t be more relevant to your business. It frees up time and resource which you will need in buckets as you grow. We all operate most of our businesses using some if not a lot of technology. Explore every facet of your business and start exploring what new products and digital services that exist that can support you. Customer engagement being the easiest one, start there- what sorts of tools and automation can you utilise to engage customers? Data is another one, systems that can collate data and consolidate it into one view that will allow you to get a single snapshot of all aspects of your business (c’mon iron man isn’t meant to have all the fun himself!) I am personally excited at how I could scale my businesses using Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence.
Build a reliable, motivated and engaged team! These people are the back-bone of your business! Scaling means building a team to support you and your business. Make sure they are bought into your vision, there is nothing worse than a customer having to interact with a staff member who just doesn’t convey the essence and ethos of your business and brand. One of my most eye-opening client experiences was working for brand who focused entirely on the customer experience of their service and didn’t factor in the their team. The result? They built a fantastic customer experience journey for what I considered to be a very cutting-edge digital proposition that would revolutionise the industry they were in… but had a very poorly engaged team. Whilst the existence of job roles, team structure and lines of responsibility was all there, the clarity of what the team had to achieve, the bigger picture, and each person’s contribution to the growth of the company. Add to that lack of transparency between leadership and no engagement between leadership and their delivery team meant the whole enterprise came to a grinding halt! People are the life-force of your business and most businesses that are looking to scale, fall massively down in this area. They assume that their staff and suppliers just ‘get’ why they are there, understand what they are expected to do and can motivate themselves. It’s not always the case. It requires work every day so make sure this is at the forefront of your mind.
To leave you on a sweet note, the best lesson I have learnt in Entrepreneurship and scaling your business is to make it something bigger than just profit! In my ten years in the world of advising and running businesses, those who are likely to survive the long-haul know that their businesses bottomline isn’t just profit… its about creating lasting change, adding value or making a difference in people’s lives!
For more information on the The Great British Entrepreneur Scale-Up Conference visit here.