Top obstacles to scaling a business, and how to mitigate them

By definition, a scaled business refers to a start-up that has experienced an annualized 20% growth for three consecutive years, with 10 or more employees at the start period. The fact is, hiring more employees and attempting to multiply the results of your business is harder than you might think: more employees don’t necessarily equate to more productivity, they may in fact convolute the process.

Sometimes, businesses will grow rapidly in a short period of time, and then suddenly, come to stagnation. If this is the case, it might be time to relook at your strategy and pinpoint areas that require adjustment.

Here are some of the top things to watch out for.

Focus on the tiny issues

Scaling is an acute process and requires you as the CEO, to frequently fine-tune every aspect of the company. It’s human nature to sideline minor issues and focus on other pressuring tasks. However, once you are focused on handling a wake of new clients, your company will collapse on its own weight if you have to worry about internal structural issues within your company. 

The most capable people who can surpass these company hurdles are the ones who can solve issues proactively. Better yet, developing diagnostic tools to analyze your company’s performance down to the employee level is good practice.

Putting a process in place

Trying to scale a company without a detailed process in place, is like trying to build a high-rise without a construction plan. Scaling means your company is growing in size to accommodate new clients and responsibilities. Hiring employees without a proper training framework in place could lead to precious hours taken away that could be used on securing other important aspects of the business.

One way to mitigate this is to spend more time in the beginning, creating excellent training guides that are easily transferable. Think about successful franchises around the world: McDonald’s, Starbucks, Subway—what do they have in common? They have precise guidelines for training, quality assurance, and production that can be easily scaled, making it possible for individuals to buy and run their own franchises. 

Finding and hiring

When a company is on the horizon for growth, and new hires are urgently needed, it might be tempting to hire the first options that come along. In the long run, hiring the wrong fit for the job might become costly—in fact, it might slow down the entire team. By hiring someone that does a mediocre job for a role, means you might be forgoing someone who might be bringing more value to the company. This is why putting effort into hiring well is essential.

The Complacency Trap

Can you imagine a world without iPhones? This could have been the case if Apple, only continued to only offer Ipods. Today, most people own smartphone devices. If Steve Jobs hadn’t continued to innovate and offer more products that targeted the growing needs of the modern generation (music, text messaging, movies, virtual assistants), it wouldn’t have asserted its superiority in the tech industry.

Complacency should be at the top of your list of fears. Never get comfortable with your services and infrastructure. Always diversify your services and adapt to quickly changing environments.

Scaling doesn’t have to be as difficult and confusing as it appears to be. Establishing logical processes that are concise and transferable is key to expanding a competent employee base.