Scalability is an important goal for all small businesses. Scalability is a company’s ability to handle a growing number of customers, orders, and purchases. All businesses begin with the hope of growing their consumer base and increasing their sales revenue over time. If this does occur, a business needs to be ready to adapt to growth without losing momentum. The only way to do this successfully is to create an infrastructure that can accommodate business escalation easily.
Take Control of Your Future
The best way to master scalability without threatening the integrity of your small business is to create a plan for growth right from the beginning – before growth happens. Being proactive about scaling your business will allow you to invest in the right IT infrastructure, software applications, and equipment to facilitate growth from the start. This prevents having to undergo a major – and often expensive – infrastructure change midway through business due to unanticipated growth. You should optimize your initial infrastructure for your current customers, but be prepared for new clientele in the future.
Run Operations from the Cloud
In the past, this ideal infrastructure was difficult and too costly for startups. Thanks to newer technologies, businesses can benefit from the right infrastructure for scalability without first needing to generate a significant consumer base. Cloud computing can enable affordable, comprehensive scalability for your company. Putting your data center in the cloud can give you on-demand resources when you need them. You don’t have to pay for operational features you aren’t using or sign a contract with a provider that can handle only a limited number of users. The cloud is easily scalable, centering on a metered pay-for-use basis to prevent paying too much or not getting what you need.
Learn from Your Mistakes
Every small business makes mistakes on its journey to success. Scaling too fast is a common mistake that has the power to make a company close its doors forever. If you scale too fast, it can be impossible to predict accurately how your business will handle the pressure of jumping from a few hundred to a few thousand customers overnight. To avoid damaging site crashes or other infrastructure mishaps, move slowly and learn from each step of the process. Don’t immediately scale your company for the largest possible consumer base. Instead, measure each element of your operation as your business grows and watch carefully for appropriate scalability. Scalability isn’t a race to the finish line – it’s about the journey.
Prepare for Fundamental Changes
With growth comes the inevitable need to perform certain aspects of business in different ways. Your staff, for example, will need to grow with your expanding customer base. You will need to alter your business plan and cash-flow charts to factor in the current and projected growth. You will have to delegate certain tasks to other members of your team instead of handling all major business points yourself. Starting with the knowledge that you may need to make some fundamental changes to your infrastructure, business plan, and staff will make these changes and major decisions easier in the future.
Focus on the Customer
While scalability is a major achievement for any small business, a brand will only manage growth successfully by continually focusing on the customer experience. The customer experience should be uniform and consistent, whether you have one mom-and-pop shop or a chain of restaurants around the country. Make your delivery of products or services as systematic as possible, carefully controlling every aspect to ensure unvarying levels of product quality and customer satisfaction. No matter what size your business, the goal should be to ensure your business’s reputation. Focusing first and foremost on the customer will keep your brand popular during down-scaling and expansion.