The decision to scale your service business can be nerve-wracking. There are hundreds of aspects to consider. You ponder a thousand times over whether the time is ripe to scale the start-up. If the decision is affirmative, congratulations- you are embarking on a new exciting journey that will teach you some of the most unique lessons. Each entrepreneur has a personal story- of hits, misses, and the lessons learned while entering a growth spurt.
Here, I am sharing a handful of unexpected curveballs I encountered while scaling my service business. The age-old adage, ‘learn from the people who walked the path before you’ is certainly apt in the entrepreneurial world. Take a cue from the challenges described ahead to be better prepared.
Making a move, from a pilot project to scaling it into a profiteering service business, is a very crucial step in every business founder’s career. Thus, it is all the more important to anticipate challenges in order to plan well for the growth period. Without much ado, let’s delve into them.
1. Productizing Services
When you are scaling, the first step would be to zero down on the scope of services your business would be offering. It might feel like reinventing the wheel but for great client engagement, you need rock-solid service packages to offer. With productized services, you create a ready-made package of services, aimed at solving specific problems, at a fixed price point.
Often, start-ups in a growth spurt are nonchalant to this aspect. Productized services ensure a shortened sales cycle and a preemptive approach to exert authority over the chosen niche. The biggest challenge while designing premium packages is to strike a balance between what’s already working and taking calculated risks to charge better. With productized services, you get to control how clients perceive your business.
2. Identifying and Quantifying Accountability
A very rampant problem during the scaling process is the management structure getting overlooked. Often, the management team loses focus as they get heaped with issues arising out of a rapidly growing business. The simple linear management structure that might have worked well initially may not be able to sustain the scaling. Raj Pahwa, the owner of Move My Stuff, emphasizes the need to identify, develop, and define leadership roles. And not just the top tier, quantify responsibilities for each one in the entire hierarchy of management. This is the only way to ensure the management team doesn’t lose the sight of sustained long-term growth while juggling with scaling challenges, Pahwa says.
As your service business enters into the scaling cycle, everything gets amplified including expenses and problems. Social media sites have ensured no business lives in obscurity anymore. The good news will travel fast, but unfortunately, bad news travels faster. This amplification is the biggest challenge even stalwarts find themselves struggling with. Even a simple bug on your website has the potential to go viral as a new bigger client base connects with you. The trick is to have a plan ready for each worst-case scenario to climb back from it. Setbacks are temporary if preparedness is permanent.
4. Lack of Insights for Future- Proofing
Even in the era of Artificial Intelligence, there are several aspects of a business that can never be automated. Lack of insights and ignorance over future-proofing can be a fatal mistake for a rapidly growing business. Fixing bugs along the scaling process is no longer adequate. It is definitely a challenge to anticipate ‘bugs’, yet you need to aggressively create a roadmap to tackle every speed breaker. It can be anything from a cash crunch to improper resource management. You need to future proof the business to ensure stability in the long run. And the only way is to be long-sighted- prioritize and invest in resources that help the business focus on growth.
The above-described challenges aren’t to scare you. Scaling is difficult but a hundred percent achievable with the right planning. Build reliable systems for every aspect, from marketing to client servicing, and you’ll be all set to hack growth for your business.