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Scaling your business may sound like a dream come true. But without the right infrastructure, it can quickly turn into an absolute nightmare. Trying to grow without putting solid building blocks in place is like pitching a tent on quicksand. It won’t be long before you sink – at which point getting out may not be an option.
Many companies, especially newer ones, see the importance of infrastructure in business. Unfortunately, their inattention can often lead to them failing when trying to gain steam. A 2022 CB Insights Study on Failed Startups revealed the top twelve reasons that can lead to the downfall of an organization. Three of those reasons are related to a lack of proper infrastructure: a flawed business model (19%), a poorly hired team (14%) and disagreement between stakeholders (7%).
Think of building your infrastructure as planning a vacation. Most vacationers don’t put their families in the car and don’t leave without prior planning. They create a general roadmap based on their goals, their budget, the number of people, and perhaps some very personal factors, such as preferred types of restaurants or accommodation. The road map should be flexible enough to handle pivot points, but firm enough to provide a definitive guide, perhaps with a few guardrails.
The same goes for business. When you’ve invested in a scaling framework, you reward yourself with a greater chance of your business scaling strategy coming to fruition. You also make scaling less stressful because everyone is working toward the same goals instead of moving toward different goals.
A solid infrastructure is a crucial building block to ultimately see growth and scalability in your business. Keep the following suggestions in mind to build your ideal infrastructure:
Related: Serve your employees with better infrastructure
1. Make sure you have the right internal team
It will be challenging for your company to keep growing if you have several skill and knowledge gaps in your team. The same applies if your staff is working at full capacity (or more) and you have no intention of calling for help. If your employees feel overwhelmed or unprepared as you scale, you’ll see your growth opportunities come apart at the seams.
It is imperative to ensure you have the right people with digital DNA and ensure your tenure is multi-functional with an understanding of how to serve all functions. For example, a technical person who knows how to create the right onsite functionality and work with the right tracking tools like pixels and tag manager will create results that are significantly more beneficial to the business.
You can start measuring the strength of your team by developing two org charts. The first should show your organization as it is today, and the second should show it as your business needs to scale. Be sure to pick places where team members need training to participate fully. Then figure out how to deliver that training so you can stay competitive as the company grows rapidly.
A recent Capterra survey indicates that almost half of all companies surveyed said they were investing more money in upskilling. Doing the same makes sense as your employees will then be able to demonstrate the confidence to master scaling thanks to their training and the reorganization of the company.
Related: 4 mistakes to avoid when scaling your infrastructure
2. Refine your marketing machine
If your marketing efforts aren’t generating impressive returns now, they won’t suddenly start working great just because you’re scaling. You could even be wasting dollars on poorly designed marketing campaigns that don’t reach the right audiences or deliver the data you need. As one study found, about a quarter of all marketing budgets could go down the drain for countless reasons.
Marketing is a critical component because it paves the way for you to land the leads you need to scale. You can’t grow without more leads – case closed. So before you get into growth mode, fine-tune your marketing, from PPC to SEO and all the acronyms in between. Start by determining which marketing tactics drive the most qualified prospects to the top or middle of your sales funnel. You want to hone those tactics, so start testing ways to get them to produce leads on a reliable basis.
Don’t be afraid to hire a partner to outsource your marketing. Trying to do everything in-house can be both costly and challenging, especially as your marketing becomes more complex (hint: it must be!). The benefits of partnering with an agency or service provider that understands your business are widespread. You get access to expertise, advanced tools and innovative strategies that you normally don’t have in-house. Even if you have in-house marketing, the team may not know what works best in an ever-changing digital age. An agency with several clients, on the other hand, is more often at the cutting edge of innovation.
Plus, with an agency, you don’t have to rely so heavily on your capital expenditures and employees to implement campaigns, track data, create content, or generate and interpret reports. Most importantly, a great agency not only increases your chances of growing successfully, but also helps you achieve your goals faster with less effort and total investment.
3. Make sure your product works
This may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many companies pull out all the stops before they’re confident they’ve addressed glaring flaws in the items they sell. Even if you’re in a service industry, make sure all customer-facing experiences, features, assets, and the like are ready for prime time.
Trying to get some steam if you are not sell something worth buying makes no sense and often creates unnecessary friction between buyers and sellers. Nevertheless, businesses routinely spend about 20% of their sales revenue on poor quality products that have not been adequately addressed. Not only will your sales and customer support reps be handling unhappy calls all the time, but your brand reputation can take a terrible hit as well. As part of your infrastructure planning, be honest about any design issues in your offering. Then spend time correcting it.
Don’t forget that processes deserve some adjustments too. Let’s say your customers are constantly complaining about your time to ship. Those complaints will not go away as you get bigger. It makes a lot of sense to smooth them out, especially during the initial stages of growth.
Related: Moving Beyond Boot Mode: 5 Tips for Building Solid Infrastructure
In the near future, you may be thinking about scaling up. However, do not run the engine yet. Make sure your infrastructure roadmap includes everything you need to make your scaling adventure a full-blown success.