Five Of The Best Ways To Scale Your SME (With No Investment)

You should also naturally prepare for any surprises along the way, but most importantly, planning will help you to remain financially stable.

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If you've just started an SME, then you probably feel you must get investment to keep going, and bring your business to the top of its game. Well, not exactly. You can get by just as well without early investors, and I've got some tips on how to do just that.

Competing in a crowded market with other startups in the same sector often means SMEs get off to a difficult start in terms of generating investment. After launching my company, Laundryheap, in 2014, we bootstrapped, and we then waited a further three years before any investment began to come in. This period was and is for many a tricky time, but thanks to some of the tips in this piece, we survived those early years, and went on to flourish.

1. Put things in order It sounds obvious, but it's always best to start with a plan. Identify your goals, so you can figure out how you're going to achieve them. You should also naturally prepare for any surprises along the way. But most importantly, planning will help you to remain financially stable. When scaling a business, money is at the forefront of everything you do, so having a well-thought-out plan will ensure you're spending the right amount of money at the right times.

2. Pick the right talent Your workforce is invaluable to you and your business. Without them, you simply wouldn't survive. But you can't just hire anyone. You need the right people for the tasks at hand, so it's useful to have a hiring strategy. Role delegation is a clear way to ensure everyone knows exactly what is expected of them. It involves scoping out people with the specific talents for the jobs you need to get done. In addition, hiring those with specialist skills will aid in the smoother running of your business. For instance, it's handy to have a salesperson and someone good with numbers. And you can never go wrong with a tech person. Hiring people with specialisms will help streamline your workflow. Of course, smaller businesses may not have the budget to go on a hiring spree, but sharing resources with other businesses or delegating tasks to the most appropriate team member can work well as a first step. You just need to ensure you prioritize the roles most advantageous for your business.

3. Evolve and adapt to stay relevant The world is constantly evolving, and so are businesses. Whatever it is you offer now, changes will need to be made as you adapt to the markets around you, be it the way something is manufactured, or approaches to bringing in new customers. You'll need to constantly evolve your thinking and processes to stay one step ahead. What works now may not work next year or even next month. Also, innovation should always be on your mind. But where do you start? Well, it's a good idea to listen to those employees you've hired. They're on the frontlines, so to speak, they know the ins and outs of daily operations and often experience direct customer feedback. The information they share could be the difference between your business moving with the times and stagnating.

4. Bide your time (if needs be) Whilst I'm sure it's apparent that not scaling at the right time can be detrimental, I'm afraid to say there is such a thing as growing too quickly. Poor timing can be very harmful, but growing too quickly will leave you with more than you can pay for, while not scaling at the right time could leave you and your business underprepared when things do pick up. It's best to choose your moments wisely and seek advice. Your planning will help this too.

5. Spread the word Thinking of running your own ad campaign? Go digital. Online advertising is the way to go these days. The rate at which technology is advancing is incredible and only getting faster. Social media platforms like TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook all rack up consumers in the millions and billions. Tapping into these sources of exposure can do wonders for your business.

There are, of course, many other steps you can take to scale your SME, but these are some of the most important points. Keep these in mind, and good luck!

Related: Ten Tips To Turn Your Passion Project Into A Business