You’ve overcome the initial franchising or independent business hurdles in the setting-up stage and you’re now looking to scale your business. But where do you start? Here are 10 simple ways to scale up your business or franchise.
After overcoming the challenges of starting a business, life may feel a little easier. But if you’ve got big ambitions, the next obstacle you’ll need to overcome is how to effectively grow your business beyond its current humble form. One of the most effective ways to do this is by scaling your operations. However, this method requires an entirely different approach than traditional growth strategies. Here’s a crash course in scaling, along with 10 of our best tips, to help you expand your franchise or business.
Growth vs scaling
Expansion is something most business owners would love to do, but it can be very tricky to get right. According to statistics from FreshBooks, 62% of small businesses don’t have any staff, while just 10% have more than five employees. This means it can feel like you don’t have enough time or resources to even think about expanding your business. But what exactly is the difference between growing and scaling?
Growth essentially means expanding your business by accepting you’re going to make losses in order to do so. For example, if you have five client contracts and you win another five, you may need to take on an additional team member to handle the work. While you’ll enjoy extra revenue from the new work, a chunk of it will need to cover your new employee’s salary. All of this new money won’t be purely profit, which can limit your financial potential.
Scaling, on the other hand, is about making the most of your existing resources or finding highly cost-effective ways to expand while minimising additional expenses. There’s no set formula for scaling your business, as you’ll need to consider how you can make everything from marketing to day-to-day processes more effective without shelling out lots of cash.
We’ve put together some simple ideas that will help you begin scaling up your business or franchise.
How to scale your business up
1. Establish a strong foundation.
As scaling is about making the most of what you already have, you need to make sure the basics of your business are robust. If your processes are flawed or your team members aren’t giving 100%, the increasing pressure of scaling will make any weaknesses even worse. Make sure you’re confident your business is working well as a small operation before you even think about growing or scaling it up.
2. Let technology take the strain.
If you’re trying to increase your capacity to take on new clients without employing more staff, technology might just be your best friend. Look into new software, programmes or digital services that can streamline processes and help free up your time, or that of your workforce and franchisees, to focus on other tasks. Cutting down time spent on tedious processes such as invoicing and admin will let your staff focus on things that are conducive to growth, like nurturing client relationships both new and old.
3. Get to know the local press.
Regional newspapers and radio stations are always on the lookout for news stories, so get in touch if you have a scoop. Share your franchise ideas through interviews, promote your business in adverts and invite press representatives along to any events that you organise.This is a great way to raise awareness of your brand locally at no cost to your business. With any luck, customers will read about your business and be tempted to visit you to make a purchase or browse your online site.
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4. Build a reliable team.
Having a team of employees or franchisees you know you can rely on is crucial if you want to scale up successfully. Each individual will need to be prepared to take on more responsibility if you want to increase revenue without taking the financial hit of employing new faces. If you run an independent or non-franchised business, make sure your team’s roles are well defined so you know every aspect of operations is being taken care of. If you’re asking people to take on more responsibility, it’s vital you provide extra training to help them feel confident taking this on. And if you’re a franchisor, master franchisors or multi-unit franchisees are a great way to cost-effectively expand your network.
5. Reward hard work.
It should go without saying, but you can’t expect your staff to give your business their all if you don’t show your gratitude. If a team member is taking on extensive additional responsibilities, you’ll need to consider raising their salary or implementing a bonus scheme so they’re fairly compensated. Yes, this will cost the business, but it’s still likely to be far more cost effective than taking on new employees. You could also organise regular company events that give everyone a chance to let their hair down, or simply express your gratitude with regular thanks.
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6. Keep an eye on the competition.
You should always make sure you’re aware of what your competitors are doing. But when you’re trying to scale up, it’s even more important. You might find inspiration in their methods that help you streamline and cut costs everywhere from marketing to customer management systems.
7. Give customers plenty of incentives.
Reward your customers for their loyalty and they will become a vital tool in scaling your business. You could introduce loyalty cards, offer discounts for takeaways or reusable cups or use economies of scale to cut prices for repeat or prolific customers. The more effort you put into building brand loyalty, the easier it will be to spread the word about new products and locations, and increase your company’s reach without spending loads on advertising.
8. Prioritise customer communication.
One of the cheapest and most effective ways to increase the reach of your business is to prioritise customer-facing marketing. Regularly posting on social media and sending out email campaigns will make sure your brand stays in people’s minds and will help to increase revenue with minimal expense.
9. Find local allies.
Forming mutually beneficial relationships with other local businesses can be a powerful scaling tool. Let’s say you’re running a fitness franchise. Teaming up with a local healthy food restaurant could increase exposure for both your businesses, as you share like-minded clientele, without any risk of competition.
Franchise your business. Operating an independent business? Franchising could be the ideal way to scale your brand up. You’ll avoid the costs of taking on new staff members, as franchisees will contribute a franchise fee to become part of your network, and will increase the reach of your company. And while you will have to offer an initial training package and make sure you (or a support team) are on hand to advise on any other issues, you will enjoy largely passive growth for your brand.
10. Scale up with franchising
If you’re interested in franchising your business to help it grow, our articles for franchisors have loads of information that can help you do just that. And if you’re a franchisee, or would like to be one, our articles and UK franchise directory are packed with loads of new ideas and inspiration to help you flourish in, or enter, the world of franchising.
Sophie Cole, Point Franchise ©