5 tips for building a scalable startupNovember 26, 2014 10:29 am
Scalability is a way for startups to increase their revenue while keeping costs low. This is an attractive quality that potential investors look for; they’re not just interested in your product, but your future goals as well.
To be ready to scale you need to have a proven product and business model capable of expanding to new geographies and markets. We’ve compiled five tips to consider if you’re taking the first steps towards launching your own startup and want to ensure it is scalable.
1. Start with a minimum viable product (MVP)
One of your initial steps should be to ensure there is demand for your idea. You don’t want to throw away money working on a product or service that no one will pay for. This is why it’s essential to know what your minimum viable product is (the basic form of your product which has the highest return on investment, versus risk).
Early market research is the best way to verify that people are happy to use and pay for your product or service. Once your target audience has approved it, then you can start to think about how this can work on a larger scale to meet the demands of multiple paying customers.
2. Have an evolving business plan
Once you have your MVP, the next step towards scalability is to have a business strategy and plan in place that shows continuous innovation. How can your product or service improve and stand out in a busy market? Are there any follow-on complementary ‘bolt-on’ solutions that you can add to your business to help you expand in the future? If your business model is based around a product or service that only solves one problem and can’t evolve, you may find it difficult to scale.
There will also be external factors out of your control, such as the economy or digital advancements that your business plan may need to adapt to and take advantage of.
For example, the introduction of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) this year, including the new .uk domain name, has given businesses new opportunities by opening up exciting new uncharted online territory to explore.
3. Get your online credentials in order
What does your website say about your business? Is it ready to grow with your startup, adding in new products and services? If you’re upgrading your servers, or migrating between hosts, will you be ready for the changes to ensure a smooth online transition?
Since 2006, there have been 21 million people and more accessing the internet in the UK every day. With your website at the forefront of your business it’s crucial to make sure your online credentials are up to scratch. Slow, incapable systems or even a confusing domain name can be off-putting to customers and ultimately impact on your scalability success. We have helpful tips on our website for choosing the right domain name.
4. Surround yourself with a strong team
Building a scalable business requires stepping back and looking at the bigger picture. This can often result in removing yourself from the day-to-day running of your business, so ensuring your team is trustworthy and reliable is a no-brainer.
Employ those you can depend on to help you make important decisions and add value to your business. With the right people in place, you can concentrate on the more complicated details of growing your startup and expanding your horizon.
5. Outsource what you can’t handle
Don’t try to do everything in-house. Identify your strongest and weakest areas of expertise. As your business starts to grow decide which tasks you could be outsourcing, such as accounting and human resources, so that you can focus on your core goals.
Startups and growing businesses often don’t know how many resources they really need. Outsourcing tasks rather than hiring in-house experts makes it easier to remain flexible when you need to adapt with your growing business. Leveraging the skills of others by outsourcing and paying per task could also help you reduce financial costs. That money can then be spent better on scaling your business and securing your future ventures.
Many entrepreneurs will tell you that growing a business is harder than starting one. So before you decide to take those steps towards starting your own business, think about your future objectives. Do you want to grow from a small community startup into a renowned international business? If the answer is yes, these tips will help you along the way.
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