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Growing your business can seem like a dream come true. But without the right infrastructure, it can quickly turn into an absolute nightmare. Trying to grow without solid building blocks 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 new ones, overlook this Importance of infrastructure in business. Unfortunately, their inattention can often get them down as they try to gain steam. The 2022 CB Insights study of failed startups reveals the top dozen reasons that can lead to an organization’s downfall. Three of those reasons are related to a lack of proper infrastructure: a flawed business model (19%), a poorly hired team (14%), and stakeholder dissatisfaction (7%).
Think of building your infrastructure as planning a vacation. Most vacationers don’t keep their families in the car and go on vacation for a week without any prior planning. They create a general roadmap based on their goals, their budget, the number of attendees, and perhaps some very personal factors, such as preferred types of restaurants or accommodations. The road map should be flexible enough to handle pivot points, but strong enough to provide a solid guide, perhaps with some guardrails.
The same goes for business. When you’ve invested in a scale-up framework, you reward yourself with a greater chance of your business’s scale-up strategy succeeding. You also make scaling less stressful because everyone is working towards the same objectives instead of moving towards multiple objectives.
A solid infrastructure is an essential building block for your business to ultimately achieve growth and scalability. Keep the following tips in mind to build your ideal infrastructure:
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1. Get the right internal team
It will be challenging for your business to grow if your team has many skill and knowledge gaps. The same applies if your employee is working at full capacity (or exceeding it) and you do not intend to call for help. If your employees notice that you are largely overwhelmed or unprepared, you will see your opportunities for growth diminish rapidly.
It is imperative to ensure you have the right people with digital DNA and ensure that your tenure is cross-functional, with a high level of understanding of how all functions should be fulfilled. For example, a technical person who knows how to create the right onsite functionality and work with the right tracking tools like pixel and tag manager will create results that are much more beneficial to the business.
You can start measuring your team’s strengths by creating two org charts. The first should represent your organization as it is today, and the second should represent what your company should be in general. Be sure to choose locations where team members need training to participate fully. Then figure out how to deliver that training so you can stay competitive during rapid business growth.
A recent survey by Capterra shows that almost half of all companies say they are investing more money in upskilling. It makes sense to do the same because their training and corporate restructuring will allow your employees to demonstrate the confidence to master scaling.
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2. Refine your marketing machine
If your marketing efforts stop producing impressive returns, they won’t suddenly start working for you on a larger scale. You could also be wasting dollars on poorly designed marketing campaigns that don’t reach the right audience or deliver the data you need. One study found that nearly a quarter of all marketing budgets can end up in the trash for a myriad of reasons.
Marketing is an important part as it paves the way for bringing in the leads you need. You can’t get any further without more leads – case closed. So before you even get into growth mode, sharpen your marketing, from PPC to SEO and everything in between. Start by determining which marketing strategy will drive the most qualified prospects to the top or middle of your sales funnel. You want to hone those tips, so start testing ways to generate leads on a reliable basis.
Don’t be afraid to find 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 will!). The benefits of working with an agency or service provider that understands your business are many. You gain access to expertise, advanced tools and innovative strategies that you wouldn’t normally have in-house. Even if you have in-house marketing, the team may not be familiar with what works best in the ever-changing digital age. An agency with many clients, on the other hand, is usually on the cutting edge of innovation.
Plus, with an agency, you don’t have to rely so much on your capital expenditures and staff to build campaigns, track data, create content, or create and interpret reports. Most importantly, a great agency not only increases your chances of success, but also helps you achieve your goals faster with less effort and total investment.
3. Make sure your product works
It may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many companies go to great lengths to make sure they’ve fixed obvious flaws in the items they sell. Even if you’re in a service industry, make sure all customer-facing experiences, facilities, assets, etc. are ready for prime time.
Trying to gain steam when you’re not selling anything worth buying is pointless and often creates unnecessary friction between buyers and sellers. Nevertheless, companies routinely spend about 20% of their sales on poor quality products that have not been adequately addressed. Not only will your sales and customer support reps be making unhappy calls all the time, but your brand reputation could take a terrible hit. As part of your infrastructure planning, be honest about any design flaws in your offering. Then spend time improving it.
Remember that there may also be some variations in the procedures. Let’s say your customers are constantly complaining about the time it takes you to ship. These complaints do not go away as you get older. It makes a lot of sense to smooth them out, especially in the early stages of development.
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Scaling up may be an option for you in the near future. However, do not run the engine yet. Make sure your infrastructure roadmap includes everything you need to make your large-scale adventure a complete success.