Scale-Up a Start-Up

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Are you thinking about taking the plunge and starting your own company? Are there too many business terms flying around your head? Just to add to the confusion, I’ll include one more, scalability. Simply put, in business terms it is the ability to perform under an increased or expanding workload. This is key to making sure businesses don’t fall at the first hurdle. So, before you pack in your boring desk job and start your entrepreneurial career, here are some ways to prepare your start-up to scale-up!

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1. Know Your Basics

It may be stating the obvious, but you need to know the simpler things before tackling the bigger tasks. In terms of your product, who is it for? Is your product line “market fit”? Do you have the required funds to get it off the ground? If not, why not? Solving these issues can help avoid pitfalls later on.

2. Know What You Want

Businesses that fail within their first year are preoccupied with the notion of making a profit when the focus should be the product and its target (see 1.). An article, such as the one in Forbes about Hampton Creek, illustrates this point.

3. Hire The Right People

The people who will be working for you are all investments of the relationship kind. So make sure they are the kind of people you can empathise with and share the same values as you. It’s often too easy when starting out to hire anyone off the street so you can make up the numbers! Also, people with many transferrable skills can be incredibly handy in the world of a start-up where numbers are tight. The same goes for hiring outside of the company, who has the best reputation in law and other aspects?

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4. Keep Your Eye On Social Media

Comments on social media are like making word-sized footprints in the mud, but these prints don’t get washed away so easily! Watch very carefully what people say about you online, because making a PR belly-flop in the early days can cost you dearly. By the same token, filtering the positive comments may be a quick way to massage the ego and give yourself a pat on the back, but is it pointing out where the product can improve? In short, no.

5. It’s Your Business…

And it needs to function with or without you. If the business cannot function without you putting in a 60 hour working week it may be worth reassessing your role. Stepping away and taking a week’s break may seem daunting, but to return and find that it is doing just fine can encourage you to work on other aspects of expanding into different avenues.

The world of start-ups is, of course, a competitive one. By following these steps, you can make sure that you can take that plunge into a pool of endless possibilities.

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