expressed opinion entrepreneur Contributors are themselves.
Expanding your business can sound like a dream come true. But without the proper infrastructure in place, it can quickly turn into an absolute nightmare. Trying to grow when you haven’t placed solid blocks is like pitching a tent on quicksand. Before long you’ll be sinking — and by then, getting out might not be an option.
Many companies, especially new ones, ignore The importance of infrastructure in business. Unfortunately, when they try to gain momentum, their negligence often causes them to fail. A 2022 CB Insights study of failed startups reveals the top 10 reasons organizations can die. Three of these reasons were related to a lack of proper infrastructure: flawed business models (19%), poorly hired teams (14%) and stakeholder dissonance (7%).
You might want to build out your infrastructure the same way you plan a vacation. Most vacationers don’t just put their family in the car and go away for a week without prior planning. They create an overall roadmap based on their goals, budget, headcount, and some very personal factors like preferred restaurant or type of accommodation. Roadmaps need to be flexible enough to handle pivots, but also strong enough to provide clear guidelines and maybe some guardrails.
The same goes for business. When you invest in a scaling framework, you reward yourself by being more likely to see your business scaling strategy bear fruit. You also reduce the stress of scaling, since everyone is working towards the same goal, rather than cross-purposes.
A solid infrastructure is a key component in ultimately achieving business growth and scalability. Keep the following recommendations in mind to assemble your ideal infrastructure:
Related: Better Infrastructure for Your Workers
1. Make sure you have the right internal team
If you have multiple skills and knowledge gaps in your team, it can be challenging for your business to grow. The same is true if your staff is working (or over) full capacity and you don’t plan to bring in any help. If your workforce feels overwhelmed or underprepared as you scale, you could find your growth opportunities falling apart at the seams.
It is imperative to ensure that you have the right people with digital DNA and that your tenure is cross-functional and has a solid understanding of how to deliver across all functions. For example, technicians who know how to create proper on-site features and use proper tracking tools such as pixel and tag managers will create more beneficial results for the company.
You can start gauging the strength of your team by making two org charts. The first should show what your organization looks like today, and the second should show what your company needs to look like as it expands. Be sure to pick out any places where team members need training to participate fully. Then figure out how to deliver that training so you can stay competitive as your business grows rapidly.
A recent Capterra survey found that nearly half of all companies asked said they were spending more money on upskilling. It makes sense to do this because your employees will be able to demonstrate confidence in mastering the extension thanks to their education and the reorganization of the company.
Related: 4 Mistakes to Avoid When Scaling Your Infrastructure
2. Perfect your marketing machine
If your marketing efforts aren’t generating solid returns now, they won’t suddenly start working just because you scaled up. You might even end up wasting money on poorly designed marketing campaigns that don’t reach the right audience or provide the data you need. As one study found, roughly a quarter of marketing budget dollars can end up in the wind for a variety of reasons.
Marketing is a key component because it sets the stage for you to bring in the leads you need to scale. You can’t grow without more leads – case closed. So before you get into growth mode, you need to improve your marketing, from PPC to SEO and every acronym in between. Start by identifying which marketing tactics drive your most qualified prospects to the top or middle of the sales funnel. You want to hone these tactics, so start testing ways to get them to generate leads on a solid basis.
Don’t be afraid to hire a partner to outsource your marketing. Trying to do everything in-house can be expensive and challenging, especially as your marketing becomes more complex (hint: it will!). The benefits of partnering with an agency or supplier who understand your business are extensive. You’ll have access to expertise, advanced tools, and innovative strategies not typically found 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. In contrast, agencies with multiple clients are often at the forefront of innovation.
Plus, with an agency, you don’t have to rely as much on capital expenditures and staff to deploy campaigns, track data, create content, or generate and interpret reports. Most importantly, a good agency will not only increase your chances of successful growth, but will help you achieve your goals faster with less effort and total investment.
3. Make sure your product works
It sounds easy enough, but you’d be surprised how many companies go all out before making sure they’ve ironed out obvious flaws in the items they’re selling. Even if you’re in a service industry, you must ensure that all customer-facing experiences, features, assets, and more are prime-time ready.
Trying to gain momentum when you’re not selling something worth buying makes zero sense and often creates unnecessary friction between buyers and sellers. However, companies typically spend approximately 20% of sales revenue on poor quality products that are not adequately addressed. Not only will your sales and customer support reps end up getting unpleasant calls all the time, but your brand reputation can also take a serious hit. As part of your infrastructure planning, be honest about any design in your product at night. Then spend time correcting them.
Don’t forget that the process may also need some adjustments. Let’s say your customers keep complaining about your shipping times. These complaints don’t go away when you get bigger. Eliminating them makes sense, especially in the beginning stages of growth.
Related: Beyond Startup Mode: 5 Tips for Building a Reliable Infrastructure
In the near future, you might think about scaling. Don’t turn the car just yet, though. Make sure your infrastructure roadmap includes everything you need to make your scaling venture an absolute success.