Top 4 Mistakes That Stop Your Startup From Scaling

To make sure you're ready to take the next step in your business, recognize these common pitfalls.
Top 4 Mistakes That Stop Your Startup From Scaling
Image credit: Delmaine Donson | Getty Images
Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP
CEO of Energent Media
4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Once you have proven a successful business model and business is going well, many entrepreneurs seek to scale their operations. But, scaling doesn’t just mean hiring more inventory and selling more. To scale successfully, it must be done holistically: with the team, the company infrastructure, and daily operations to ensure the team can keep up with the scaling. 

Scaling must be done carefully, with plenty of strategies involved. It’s advised to huddle with your team and educate yourself on proper scaling techniques before deciding that it’s an ambition and going into it blind. To make sure you’re ready to take the next step in your business, understand the following top mistakes that hinder your startup’s ability to scale. 

Mistake 1: Waiting to delegate

One of the reasons scaling can be so intimidating is because it entails handing off tasks and responsibilities to other team members. Depending on the size of your current team, this also might include hiring team members or VA’s. If you’ve historically been cost-conscious, you may have been waiting to invest in more help, believing that you and your current team can handle it even as things ramp up. But, the most effective founders know that it’s critical to bring on more hands as a business scales. 

Your role as a founder is to handle the strategy of the scale as opposed to all the work required of a scale. John Jantsch writes, “A business owner looks at the work to be done and thinks, 'How can I get all this done?' An entrepreneur looks at the same work and ponders, 'How can I get someone else to do all of this?'”

Orient your work in management and assigning tasks to others. 

Related:  7 Rules for Entrepreneurs to Delegate Effectively

Mistake 2: Trying to be everything to everyone

It’s a non-negotiable to become an expert or the market leader in just one thing in order to scale. Otherwise, your business will have so many conflicting components that operations will be muddy and inefficient. Luis Marcelino, entrepreneur and celebrity consultant, emphasizes the importance of scaling with aligned clients. 

“If you don’t know who you are or what your business stands for, you also will not know what you’re looking for in an ideal client,” he advised. “And despite the desire to have more business and demand, NOT everyone should be your client.” 

Instead, focus on the unique offerings that only you and your business can offer. The better you are at offering it, the easier it will be to scale. And, there’s a perfectly aligned customer alias out there that will fit in with this narrow, focused value proposition.

Mistake 3: Thinking you can do it without a coach

Anytime you uplevel in your life or business, you need a compass. The best investment you can make in yourself is a coach who has done it before. A coach offers a roadmap on how to reach your goals effectively because they’ve done it before themselves and helped other clients do the same. 

Transformational life coach Jacob Galea credits his coaches for helping him to reach his highest goals and aspirations. “A coach keeps you accountable and drives you to the next level,” he advised. “Not even the most motivated and focused person can achieve on their own what they could achieve with a coach who can anticipate your weak spots and help you navigate the terrain towards your goals.” He used coaches to help him scale his company. 

Related: Coaching: The Best-Kept Secret to Growing as an Entrepreneur

Mistake 4: Letting your schedule run you

Finally, a founder who scales is a founder who is proactive about their day-to-day. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of letting emails and demands run their day, meaning they’re out of touch with their own focus and attention spans. Because scaling requires significant strategy, make sure you have practices in place that help you control your days, weeks, and months. This can be the hardest part to get used to, so make sure you can rely on a coach or someone else to help you structure your changing schedule. 

If you can look out for these mistakes ahead of time, the journey to scaling will be far more successful - and, you’ll feel more in control every step of the journey. 

More from Entrepreneur
Our Franchise Advisors will guide you through the entire franchising process, for FREE!
  1. Book a one-on-one session with a Franchise Advisor
  2. Take a survey about your needs & goals
  3. Find your ideal franchise
  4. Learn about that franchise
  5. Meet the franchisor
  6. Receive the best business resources

Book Sale - Save 60%!

Through 6/20/21, save on our collection of recommended side hustle and Start Your Own books, including:

  • Start Your Own eBay Business
  • Start Your Own Business
  • Start Your Own Etsy Business
  • And more

Use code SIDEHUSTLE2021 to claim your savings!

Try a risk-free trial of Entrepreneur’s BIZ PLANNING PLUS powered by LivePlan for 60 days:
  • Get step-by-step guidance for writing your plan
  • Gain inspiration from 500+ sample plans
  • Utilize business and legal templates
  • And much more

Latest on Entrepreneur