Scale Up Your Business: The Complete Guide

The Complete Guide to Scaling Up Your Business

Scaling up a business is no small task. It takes lots of preparation to get your business ready. If you’ve never scaled a business before, it can be overwhelming.

This series of eBooks creates a complete guide which aims to make your life a little easier. Across these 8 volumes, the most important elements of scaling up will be broken down into more manageable parts.

1: Where to Start Scaling Up

2: Build Your Board of Directors

3: Scaling Your Finances

4: Expand Your Operations

5: Digital Transformation for Growth

6: Marketing for Success

7: Strengthen Your Sales

8: Plan Your Exit Strategy

1. Where to Start Scaling Up Your Business

When you’ve decided it’s time to scale, you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you. This chapter aims to help you with getting the process started. Once you’re underway, momentum will help you keep going.

So, what is the first step? Planning.

This probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Before undertaking anything this important, you want to know what you’re actually doing. Although there’s a matter of size, scaling up isn’t too different from regular day-to-day business, it’s just more focused on getting bigger results faster.

You should write a business plan that outlines the changes you want to make to your business. It may be that there are things you only think about after doing more preparations; that’s fine. Mainly, what you’re aiming for here is to create strategic direction.

How to Write a Business Plan

For some businesses, their scale-up business plan is the first time they’ve sat down to write something formally. Having a real plan is invaluable to scaling up, and carries a lot of uses.

Outsiders involved in certain parts of the process will want to see what your plan is, having it to hand will make the communications much smoother. Scaling up can be a busy and almost chaotic time. It also helps to always have something you can go back to for reference.

The Core of a Plan

The most important part of your business plan at this point is your mission. From this, the rest of your strategy is grown.

Your mission is a declaration of your end goals for scaling up. Why is it you want to grow your business and what does that really mean? There’ll be more on writing a mission statement later, but these questions are where to start.

Whenever you set a target at any level of your plan, there are some important factors to remember. SMART goals define a set of conditions to apply to your targets to make sure they’re useful.

  • Specific – deal with a certain area without being broad and therefore vague.
  • Measurable – progress towards the goal can be observed objectively.
  • Achievable – within the means of your business to accomplish.
  • Relevant – will actually provide a benefit to your business.
  • Timed  – assign a time that you want the goal completed by to maintain focus.

This applies as much to your overall mission as it does to the individual tasks that build your plan. Essentially, your goals should be beneficial to your business’s growth and easy to stay on top of.

Asking the Right Questions

Whenever you’re considering a strategy to try, it helps to be critical of it. Scaling up is about big growth, but also about maintainable growth. When going over ideas, there are certain questions to ask yourself.

Relating to the earlier SMART goals, you want to check they’re actually meeting the conditions.

  • How long would this task take?
  • Can your current team do it or would you need help?
  • What direct benefit will this have?
  • What are the signs of success?

Every action you take should be moving you towards your mission. Growth means expanding your business, so taking time and hiring new staff is fine. What you need to do is consider how it all fits together.

  • What other tasks need to be completed first?
  • What bottlenecks could affect this?
  • Does this support other tasks?
  • How many other tasks need similar investments?
  • What priority is this?

When building your plan, you want to consider how everything works as a whole. Your strategies should support each other so that you can maintain the growth after you’ve finished. There’s only so many changes that can realistically be done at once, so you’ll need to prioritise time and resources.

What to Include

When writing a plan, it can be hard to know what’s meant to be in it. There are some common elements that you should try to include.

  • Where are you going? Your mission statement and overall time allotted.
  • What will you do? What strategies you will try and the process for meeting objectives.
  • Tactics and deadlines. Break down the actionable tasks and list them with who owns them and the time you expect them to complete it by.

Tools to Guide Strategy

Making use of a strategy toolkit helps you build a thorough planning process. Instead of hoping you remember everything, tools can ensure you give time to all of the important parts of your plan. 

Our tried and tested method uses 3 tools: SWOT, Crisis Analysis, and MOST Analysis.

  1. SWOT asks you to list the internal Strengths and Weaknesses of your business. What do you do well and what could you use improving? It also asks what Opportunities are available from outside of your control, and what Threats are out there too.
  2. Crisis analysis is about exploring what could go wrong for your business. From global events to local disturbances, what effects could a crisis have? Understanding your threats helps you prepare for them and find ways to become more resilient.
  3. MOST builds a plan in four steps. An overall Mission statement about where you want to go, the Objectives that you need to achieve for your mission, the options that you can use as Strategies, and the actionable Tactics that make up a strategy. 

Planning Meetings

When you create your plan, make sure to include people who have a range of useful skills and experiences. You shouldn’t try to write something this complicated and important by yourself. 

Business is a wide ranging and diverse topic, and you can’t understand all of it. You don’t want to miss anything important, so make sure every aspect of your business is represented. 

If you don’t have a Board of Directors yet, or if it’s not complete, include senior team members and specialists from those areas not covered. They know the technical parts of your business very well, and can help ensure that the plan works for the business.

When having a meeting, it can be useful to include an independent chair to help facilitate the meeting and keep things on track. It’s tempting to jump straight into analysing an idea or planning a strategy, but you want to get everything on the table before jumping ahead.

Where Do You Want to Go?

This is your business’s mission, as seen in MOST Analysis. This is the core around which everything else develops. A mission should be a hard business target.

You want to grow your business, but by how much? You’re planning to grow rapidly, but how long is that?

How ambitious you are is up to you, but try to stay realistic. A 5% increase in value is much more manageable in a quarter than doubling it. Don’t just pick a pair of numbers out of the air.

Go over your business’s history with your Board and arrive at your mission from the data. Considering what you’ve done before, what do you think you could actually do? Scaling up should be big, but what that really means depends on the business. 

Where Are You Now?

Just as you want to look over your history to see where you want to go, you want to understand the present too. Knowing your business’s current state and its place within your market is important to growing. 

Understanding exactly how your business currently is shows you where you have space to improve. It shows you what you do well and can build from, so suits SWOT Analysis. You shouldn’t make any changes before you know what is actually needed.

How is the landscape of your market or industry? Do you have big competition to increase your market share or smaller ones waiting to take yours away? Knowing your competition means you know where to aim your growth.

If there’s a weakness that others do better, you risk losing customers to them. If one competitor is very good at something, maybe you should focus on something else.

Are You Ready to Scale Up?

When scaling up, you’re looking to make some big changes to your business. You don’t get big growth from a couple of minor changes. The rest of the series outlines some of the major preparations and changes your business may need to make.

If you think that your business will genuinely benefit from these changes and that you’re ready to start them now, it could be time to take the next step. When to scale up is different for every business, so take the time to read and think about what’s best for you right now. 

You might find that bringing someone onto your team that’s scaled a business before can really help your process. If you think this could be something you would like for your business, there are a variety of different Fractional Directors available that could help your business without needing to work full-time.

2. Build Your Board of Directors

What to consider when building your scale-up business’s Board of Directors. 

This ebook looks at your Board of Directors as you scale up your business. It covers how your Board may need to change and grow and what you may need to consider.

What to consider when building your scale-up business’s Board of Directors

A successful scale-up needs great leadership. Although it may work at a smaller size, you can’t run a large business alone. Building your Board of Directors is an important part of preparing to scale up.

If you read the Where to Start Scaling Up eBook in this series and thought to yourself “what Board of Directors?” when prompted to include them in your planning, this eBook will introduce you to the people you’ll need at your side.

If your business already has a Board, this ebook aims to still be useful. Consider how you may need to expand and what skills you could currently be lacking. 

What is the Board?

The Board of Directors is the senior leadership team of a business. They oversee its strategic direction and planning alongside the business’s CEO. 

Each member of the Board will hold a specific role. This usually involves acting as the representative and manager for a certain area of the business. 

The Board advises the business’s leader in what would be best for its growth. They each bring their own experience and expertise to round out the information available to the leader when they make their decisions. 

As well as overseeing the strategy of the business, they make sure that the business is meeting all legal requirements. This means that the ultimate responsibility for taxes, reporting, and health and safety is theirs too. 

The Role of a Director

Directors are the legally recognised heads of a business. They’re responsible for its management and its legal compliance. They control the business, but they’re accountable for it too.

As a Director, you have a set of duties set out by law:

  • Ensure Companies House receives all due information
  • Promote the success of the business
  • Exercise due care in the running of the business
  • Ensure legal compliance
  • Avoid conflicts of interest
  • A fiduciary responsibility to shareholders

Many Board members will also have direct responsibility for the management of the area of the business that they represent. They act as a bridge between the day-to-day running of the business and the executive planning. 

Director Roles

Executive Directors

An Executive Director manages an element of the business and acts as its advocate at the Board meetings. Most businesses will have at least a couple of this type of director. They bring specialist knowledge to Board meetings.

Non-Executive Directors

A Non-executive Director is a less common role on the board. These people do not represent any department and take more of an outsider role acting as neutral voices on the Board. Their job is to bring the benefits of their experience and industry insights, to ensure conflicts of interest cannot affect judgement and question decisions to make sure they’re the best one for the business. 

Chief Executive

A business will have a leader of some form, often the business’s founder but it doesn’t need to be a founder role. They typically hold the role of Chief Executive Officer or CEO. It’s their job to lead the business through its strategy and business planning. 

The Chair

Neither of these next two are required but useful during meetings. They can be filled by normal members of the Board or an employee or advisor from outside of the Board, but a dedicated position can be created and hired for.

The Chair of a meeting oversees the meeting itself. They ensure that the meeting progresses as it should, that all members contribute properly, and that rules are being followed. They can also act in support of the CEO with more independent advice. 

If your Board is made up of more challenging personalities or is quite large then a specific Chair role could help make meetings more effective.

Secretary

A Secretary takes the minutes for a meeting. All Board meetings must have minutes recorded and made available for reporting. They ensure that the administrative elements of the Board of Directors are properly met. 

Some Boards also include advisory roles that aren’t actually directors. As they aren’t a director, they hold none of the legal responsibility or the associated powers. They can, however, bring their skills and director-level expertise to meetings to help those that do in making their decisions. 

What a Board needs

The exact makeup of a Board will vary from business to business, but will have the same core elements. They will be made up of some combination of the roles listed previously. 

At minimum, a private limited company needs 1 director, while a public one needs 2. The number of directors will vary to suit needs. As a general rule of thumb, more than 7 is likely to be too large. 

If you’re preparing your business to scale up, 3 directors can be a nice balance. If you’re currently the only director, consider adding a couple more now, or at least while growing the business. If you don’t yet have a lot of budget, you may find a Fractional Director a better fit. 

It is common for an investor to want a seat on the Board. Most VCs will make it a requirement of receiving Series A funding. These appointed directors will often have a lot of other responsibilities, so you shouldn’t rely on them to fill out your Board’s roles. Instead, you should aim to function without them.

Your Board should represent your business as a whole. They should create a fair representation of the business, and cover a variety of experiences and viewpoints and work efficiently and effectively together. A more varied and diverse Board will be better able to challenge each other and promote what’s best for the business itself.

Is your Board ready?

There are a number of positions that should be filled to some degree on your Board. These aren’t formal roles, but areas of expertise that should be found amongst the members. They don’t all need to be different people, and multiple positions can be filled by the same person.

Who is the leader?

Your Board needs a leader. Often this is one of the founders of the business, but not always. Some founders recognise that their skills don’t lie in running a large or fast-growing business and so hire someone to become the business’s CEO.

Financial expert

Someone on your Board needs financial expertise. The Board is responsible for the success of the business, so someone needs to be able to ensure that you are operating in a fiscally responsible manner.

Commercial Lead

A Board needs commercial expertise, such as a Sales Director. These people are experts in the customer facing side of business. They make sure the business has the capacity to sell its products or services and make profitable deals.

Technical Lead

Having someone on the Board that understands IT systems is incredibly valuable. IT is often something that falls behind in business especially with fast growth, but poor tech management can really hold you back. This is more than just being decent on a computer, but needs an understanding of how networks fit together and the ability to keep up with advancements. 

Operational Lead

Growing a business, by necessity, means the complexity of the business will grow as well. Having someone with expertise in business operations can be valuable. They will help ensure the business is efficient and well structured for its needs. 

Expertise in growing a business

When scaling a business, it’s incredibly useful to have someone who’s done it before on the Board. There’s a lot to do and many places you can trip up when scaling, experience can help you avoid them. 

Marketing Lead

You can also invite people to join your board meetings to provide specific input. For instance, if you don’t have a Marketing Director on your board you could invite your Marketing Manager to provide a report or presentation to help inform decisions being made by Board Directors. 

Diversity

Having a Board who all think along the same lines and have similar experiences and backgrounds may seem like a great way to reach a consensus quickly but does this make for a successful Board? Almost certainly, it won’t be your best option for long-term success.

Diversity may include experience, gender, ethnicity, skills and any other areas that might be important to represent your customers. Having a more diverse Board means you have more opportunity to challenge decisions from a variety of important angles so you can be more confident in the decisions made.

Corporate Governance

An important part of establishing a Board of Directors is establishing corporate governance. This means creating the regulations that will bind your Board members and ensure the best interests of the business are upheld.

Your Board’s actions will be bound by the company’s constitution where one exists, although this isn’t a necessary thing to create. This sets out all of the powers available to the members, as well as the responsibilities they hold. It will also dictate the penalties for breaches of these rules. 

Corporate governance ensures that the interests of the stakeholders are met, that the role of Director cannot be abused, and that proceedings are transparent.

Your Board of Directors should be held accountable for their actions. They’re responsible for the future of the business, so how do you make sure they are acting in its best interests?

An example to consider is how much access to business funds does a Board member have access to. What checks do they have to go through? How do you make sure no one is misusing the business’s resources?

Company Culture

The culture of a business is important to its identity. One way to ensure that the core ideals of the business are maintained is to make sure that future members of the Board fit with the company’s culture.

You can set out in the corporate governance documents what standards are expected from Board members both in hiring and in operations. This makes it easier for you to find candidates that match your vision while helping them know if they’ll fit in.

What or Who Do You Need to Add?

After thinking about the current leadership of your business, what do you think should change? It’s important to have a strong Board in place when scaling up a business, or it can easily flounder.

Consider if you currently have all of the skills needed on your Board. If not, you may need to add more members. A full-time Executive Director can be a significant financial investment. 

You may be surprised by how many roles work perfectly well on a part-time basis. Even a CEO can be part-time. Boardroom Advisors specialises in providing this kind of part-time support and will be able to bridge any gaps by providing the Board members your business needs to grow.

3. Scale Up Your Finances

Get Your Business Financially Ready for Scale-up Growth

Growing your business means an increase in financial complexity. If you’re growing your assets, taking on new staff, or making more sales, you will have more money coming in and more going out.

Is your business prepared to handle the increased financial responsibilities of scaling up? This eBook looks at exactly that question. 

Financially preparing to scale up also covers getting investment. Funding is important to scale up, and advice on preparing for it is crucial to take on board.

How Are Your Finances Managed?

When preparing financially, the first question is how you currently handle money in your business. Some methods are inherently more scalable than others, and some don’t work for a scale-up business.

It’s very common for small businesses to have no in-house finance team. When your turnover is smaller, there’s nothing wrong with hiring an independent bookkeeper to do your monthly accounts. That needs to be more scalable, however. 

To handle the increased demands on your business, consider setting up more regular accounting with a more in-house approach. That could even be aided digitally to add some automation. Of course, you can hire a partial department after some time, but there’s a healthy middle ground you should find.

If you already have your business’s finances handled within the business, you’ll want to assess its ability to keep up with your growth as you would for any other department. 

Are Your Finances Scalable?

However your business handles its finances, you need to ask how easy it’ll scale with your growth. Of course, any bottleneck in your business will lead to your growth being held back, but financial issues can also bring significant consequences.

How will your existing systems handle the increased income that growth will bring? Of course, that is part of considering how your finances are managed, but it goes beyond just the people doing it. 

It would help if you asked questions like this about every part of your financial system. Assessing each part individually will help ensure that no one thing holds back the others. Some things worth considering are:

  • What sort of accounts does your business have? 
  • Are there any limitations? 
  • How long does it take for payments to process?

If you know it will take a certain amount of time for a payment to go through; you can factor that into your whole strategy. For example, you could switch to a faster or better-suited business account.

If you invoice your customers, how long do you give them to pay? As your business grows, your outgoing costs will likely rise as well. So it may be a good idea to reduce the time between doing work and getting paid for it. 

For example, if you have to buy materials before doing a job, that cost comes from your spare cash. Being paid for the job replenishes that pool of available resources. The longer you wait, the less capacity you have to do further work. 

You might benefit from introducing a deposit system to mitigate the risk of losses. You may need to change how you offer credit. Whatever you do, be open and honest with your existing customers about why things are changing.

Tracking Finances

How easily does money move around your business, and where is the accountability? What rules do you have on claiming expenses? As your business grows, you will likely need to become stricter about budgets and record-keeping. 

Your business’s finances should be entirely transparent. You don’t want money disappearing into untracked purchases. So how do you currently keep your accounts?

Your finance department can advise on how to do this best, but options are available to make things easier. For example, accounting can be automated through several apps or software. That would allow expenses to be registered immediately and reduce the risk of forgotten things.

For your finances to be scalable, you want them to be able to handle money as it comes in and goes out quickly. In addition, you want everything to be easily tracked so that all of your cash flow is accounted for. Of course, the best way to do this will depend on your business, but you can find it with the help of advice. 

Taxes and Reporting

That is why getting your finances right is so important. Businesses have to pay taxes and provide reports to stakeholders. If you can do this properly, you can avoid getting in trouble. 

Although small businesses are still expected to file tax returns and pay what is owed, they are much simpler to keep track of. However, as your business grows, your financials will become more and more complicated. Something will need to change if you can’t keep on top of it all.

Doing your research is always important, especially when authorities are involved. For example, find out what tax law governs a business like yours. 

Remember that a new product may be classified differently. Your employee’s wages will be subject to taxes. If you’re starting to export, what’s different in your target country?

That is why you want to ensure your finances are tracked and everyone is accountable. You want your accounts to be clear and complete. Everything coming in and going out should be findable if needed. 

When you’re assessing how much you’ve grown to report it to any shareholders, your financial information is how you’ll figure it out. They’re where you will find your income and costs and derive your profits. If they need to include things, your figures will be correct.

Making sure you have someone who oversees your business finances is invaluable. If this isn’t your area of expertise, you could miss things or make obvious errors. An expert will ensure that your business is ready to handle the growing responsibilities and may only be needed on a fractional basis

Investor Ready

Getting investment is a step all scale-up businesses are likely to take. If you want to make many big changes, you need funding to pay for them. That money will come from an investor.

Typically, at the scales involved in rapid growth, the go-to investment in Series A funding. Other options are available, such as venture debt, grants or crowdfunding, but venture capital firms (larger amounts) or business angels (smaller investments) are the most common. 

You must impress your investor, just like when you sought seed money. However, the methods for doing so are different.

Scaling a business up means that you have had measurable success already. You can prove your business works and has potential. You’ll need to use this hard evidence in Series A pitches.

Where To Find Investment for Your Business

Different businesses will benefit from different forms of investment. Exactly what suits you best will come down to you and your research. Below are some common options to give you an idea of where to start.

Venture Capital (aka Series A)

The most common form of equity funding for scale-ups, Venture Capital (or VC) firms act like Angels do for start-ups. However, they invest their client’s money, not their own. That means they have access to much larger sums to invest but have responsibilities to invest safely, so they carry a higher burden of proof. 

VCs are looking for businesses that can prove their viability and know what they’ll do to maintain their growth. Many VCs will have a minimum ticket of £1-2,000,000 or higher and won’t accept business approaching them for less money.

Services are available to help you find a suitable VC for your business, and you may find the Enterprise Investment Scheme helpful in securing funding. 

Business Loans

Traditional banks offer loans for those wishing to expand their businesses. They operate like any other loan, using the business’s existing assets as collateral. 

Much like a VC, banks are investing their clients’ money and so will have high standards expected. These standards will often be similar to those of a VC but will cost you interest rather than shares.

Venture Debt

Venture debt sits somewhere between traditional banking and VCs. Instead of using assets for collateral, lenders will invest money in better-established, low-risk businesses. Usually, they look for turnovers in the millions or the involvement of a reputable VC to offer a loan.

These loans often do not cost you any equity but can be capital-intensive. So again, it depends on whether debt or equity financing works better for your business and which would suit you better. 

Government Grant Schemes

The Government offers grants for businesses to expand their operations. These often have a particular aspect of business in mind, such as providing funding for R&D or starting to export. Tax credit schemes also allow you to claim certain expenses against your taxes.

Grants are often given via reimbursement, so you have to spend before you are given the money. Many grants are run by local authorities as well as those at the national level, so research your area to find out what is available. 

Business Angels

Although individual angels are unlikely to be able to provide investments of the size scaling up requires, they are often members of syndicates of angels. These syndicates may come together to raise funds from multiple angles.

It is also worth remembering that you can get some of your investment for a funding round from a single source or at the same time. If an angel can provide you with the funding you need for a single project, you can take it without waiting. For example, if you want to upgrade your digital technology as part of your scale-up, you can do it without being paid for every other project that will go alongside it. 

Revenue-based Finance

Another form of business debt, revenue-based finance, operates differently from traditional loans. They will take their repayments as a portion of your revenue going forward. As such, they usually require evidence that you’ll be able to provide them with revenue before they invest. 

That means you will only have to pay back what you can afford if you have a weaker period. If you repay 5% of your revenue, then this will adapt to what you make in that term.

Get Your Documents in Order

Investors will want to see that your business has its finances in order, which signifies that you’re well organised. In addition, they will want to see how you use your money, as this will show them how well you will use theirs.

Getting your key documents together will mean you can give them exactly what they ask for as soon as they ask for it. Of course, you don’t have to give away company secrets, but your financials should be transparent anyway.

Likewise, they’ll want to see your business plan. They need to be confident that your business will succeed before they invest. Your plan will help them decide if they think you have what it takes. 

The plan should include exactly how you would spend their money. Investors are more likely to give you funding for something hard, specific, and attainable. So make sure you know why you want the money in the first place. 

If you have yet to decide, have a planning meeting to figure this out, as it will strengthen your pitch. That will be tied into your strategic plan. Your strategies involve costs, so break them down and show how you’ll use their funding.

If you’re going to open a new location, for example, you can project the costs involved. You must acquire the site, fit it for your purposes, hire staff, and establish logistics connections. These are hard and specific goals with a clear purpose and benefit that you can present to an investor. 

Prepare the Perfect Pitch

The people running the business will be something that an investor will care about. You can show the idea’s potential on paper, but it takes a lot of work to show the potential of the leaders. 

As much as it is a chance to sell the business, the pitch is there for you to sell yourself. It shows them you know what is needed and gives them an idea of your character. They’ll need to be confident in you and your team.

Your pitch will be a condensed version of what you’re providing them. It should tell them why your business is a good idea, what success you’ve already had, and how you will take it to the next level. 

Summary

The most important part of scaling up, financially speaking, is making sure you keep track of everything. You want to ensure your business can handle the increased cash flow and that every cost is accounted for.

If you want to learn more about how to prepare for getting your investment, we have an ebook dedicated to that subject. Learn more with the Investor Ready ebook.

You may need expert support; if you need more confidence, you have the skills and knowledge necessary for scaling up your finances. Boardroom Advisors offers the services of Part-time Finance Directors

They’re available on a flexible contract that can suit your business budget and workload. Contact us to see how we can help.

4. Expand Your Operations

What to consider when physically growing the scale of your business.

Scaling up a business means making big changes to it. You can’t achieve the rapid growth you’re looking for with a few minor tweaks. That means you’ll need to think about how your operations will develop.

Your business will physically grow as it financially grows, with more staff, equipment, locations etc. If your internal systems can’t seamlessly include all of the new assets, bottlenecks and inefficiencies will start to develop. 

This ebook explores the background operations of a scale-up business. Consider how your business will handle growing and how you might improve it.

Is Your Business Scalable?

Operations-wise, a scalable business accepts new parts into itself without too much fuss. After all, if it can’t do this, then growing becomes a challenge. So, scalable businesses are easy to grow. 

There are a few things to consider for how scalable a business’s operations are. First, you will want to assess your business and identify where to improve. Problems can cause your business to waste money and hold you back, so don’t carry them with you. 

Communications

  • How does your business communicate with itself? 
  • How do data and information travel between different teams?
  • Does data travel efficiently between departments and levels?

The more difficult it is for people to talk, the less efficient your operations. Likewise, the more work that has to be done to pass on information, the less efficient it’ll be. 

That has become even more important with the rise in remote working. If you can’t walk to a person’s desk to talk to them, being able to communicate digitally is crucial.

You risk being too informal and losing focus if you operate from private emails and personal messengers. If you haven’t already, consider setting up your business domain. There are plenty of communications solutions available to try out. 

How easy is it to give it to a manager, or a different department needs a report? It’ll take a lot more time if someone has to collate and process the data manually. As a result, the report will be slower to get where it needs to be and will cost more to produce. 

There are ways your communications can be automated for better efficiency. For example, Digital systems allow for better data storage that automatically sends updates to those who need them and can generate reports at the click of a button.

Task Efficiency

  • How much work in your business needs to be done? 
  • How much time gets wasted on meaningless tasks?
  • Is your staff morale at a high or a low level?

Common examples of redundant tasks include repeated data entry, excessive reporting, and using outdated systems. Many of these can be dropped or made more efficient by automating and updating. 

If a supervisor has to reenter information their team gave to them and then a manager further up the chain has to enter it into a different system again, both of their time was wasted.

Likewise, if one department uses a different data format that requires them to input the same data slightly differently, that’s inefficient. Standardising your systems so everyone can access what they need is much more efficient.

If all data goes into a single system, you don’t need to go through intermediaries to get the necessary information. Different permissions can restrict access to those who need it, maintaining security, but it’s all there for when you need it. 

The fewer extra steps on top of doing the job you need to do, the better. More streamlined work environments feel better to work in. The jobs will be more cost-efficient, and the employees will be happier doing them.

Oversight vs Freedom

  • How much freedom do you give your workers?
  • What type of management do you implement?
  • Do you oversee or allow your workers to manage themselves?

Some businesses suit a very free staffing model. Employees are given the tasks they need to do and left to get on with them. That can work well in situations where responses need to be fast, or accuracy doesn’t necessarily matter.

In these systems, your teams aren’t getting slowed down by having to wait on checks and approvals from further up the chain. Instead, they’ll be motivated by the inherent trust and able to act on something when needed.

Other businesses need more oversight, though. It’s true that having employees’ work double and triple-checked means a lot more work hours for the same task. As a result, these systems are slower, but it’s for a good reason.

Your tax returns, for example, are best checked before being sent off. Contracts that contain typos can drastically change their meaning. When that work needs to be right, you’re better off spending more on doing it properly the first time than having to start all over again. 

Determine how much freedom you can afford to give your employees and cut back to that level. For example, checking work is important, but it may need to be done less than it currently is. You should introduce more checkpoints so fewer mistakes can happen. 

New Staff

  • How often do you have new employees?
  • How easy is it to make them part of the team?
  •  What training do they need, and what responsibilities will they have?

Many scale-ups will hire new staff. However, your business is only scalable if it’s easy to do so. If there’s anything they have to wait to get set up, it’ll cause delays. If they get dropped into a job without preparations, there’s a greater risk of failure. 

When someone gets hired into your business, your systems need to be able to get them set up with all their accounts and details and get them on whatever pay scheme you’re running as quickly as possible. It will become a bottleneck as your business grows if you currently do all of this.  

Standardising training and onboarding procedures is also a good idea. That means it’s less likely for new employees to miss out on anything important, making it easier for them to be trained quickly. 

Identifying Bottlenecks

Bottlenecks are points that hold up your workflow. An increase in work on one side of it will translate to something other than the other.

Before you scale up your business, analyse your operations and see if you can find any potential bottlenecks. Once you’ve got an idea of what could become a problem, you can plan your strategies around them.

If you know that your marketing could be more developed and you will need help to draw customers in, there’s no point in increasing stocking space. If your storage is just the right size for the number of orders you ship, it will often run out of stock when your sales increase.

Making your operations more scalable means increasing the margins you have to operate in. If any part of your business is close to its limits, it will become a bottleneck, so it needs to be prioritised. 

Your Business and You

This one is different from the others. Instead of looking at adding things to the business, this section asks about taking something away: you. How much does your business need you?

As a thought experiment, what would happen to your business if you were to become suddenly completely unavailable for a week? Assuming this is a normal week and not the day of an important Board meeting, would it survive or ground to a halt?

If your business can’t operate without you, it’s not scalable. Your management structure isn’t rigorous enough if that’s the case. A CEO should be able to trust their team to make the right decisions and follow the strategic direction they set out.

A business leader should be working on the business, not in it. That means that you shouldn’t be crucial to any individual part of your business. Instead, you provide the overall leadership and the grand plan of where to go. 

Start a more resilient system if your business needs you there every day. Train and promote promising individuals to leadership roles and keep everyone on the same page about where you’re going and how you’ll get there. 

If there are important things that are only possible to authorise with your presence, again, this will hold the business back. For example, if it can’t make payments without you and you fall ill, the business doesn’t pay anyone. Sharing the work with others makes the business more resilient. 

What are You Missing?

At some point, every business leader gets stuck; they don’t know what they don’t know, so having an external advisor to listen, question, and guide them to a new place can be invaluable in unlocking the way forward.” – Adrian Kingsford

 

If you’ve checked them out, you’ll have seen that many of the other ebooks in this series talk about an individual business area as a department. When you’re a small business, you may only have a single team that makes up everyone. 

Scaling up doesn’t mean you have to explode out and create all of these fully-fledged departments. Instead, you need to ensure each area is prepared to grow and has someone who owns it. 

It may be that you need a single in-house employee to be able to handle your growth. On the other hand, you might only need to hire some roles full-time. Having someone come in once a week to monitor progress, answer questions, and give the next week’s tasks is often enough. 

If some of the other ebooks have got you worried about the massive increase in scale your business will need, don’t be. Only some things need to be changed. First, you want to pick an area or two to focus your growth on, then make sure nothing holds it back.

Are You Missing Any Key Players?

To do this, you want to consider your business’s key players. These people represent the core aspects of your business. They don’t need to be Directors but should be people you trust to get the job done. 

After reading through the rest of this series, are there any important areas you think are missing their key players? For example, sometimes all you need to do is add a single team member specialising in something your business weakens to become scalable. 

If no one on your Board is great with tech, you don’t need ten new IT support staff. Instead, you can hire a digital specialist to advise you. You could also invite your existing IT team to play a bigger part in their management, bringing a high-potential member into Board meetings as an advisor. 

Make sure you have access to the advice of an expert when you need it. Make sure you can trust someone in each area of your business to get the job done. So long as you have enough of these key players, that may be all you need.

You also can bring on a part-time hire. Many jobs can be fulfilled on a part-time basis. A fractional director can complete even the highest level of work.

Expanding Teams

Despite the previous section, you sometimes need a new department. Again, you need to identify which areas of your business are already near their limit. If hiring a few new employees shores up these areas, then that’s what you need to do.

Before posting any job adverts, consider ways that the workload of the existing team can be eased. One new team member is the most efficient way to help them; it could be simple automation. 

Hiring them will be important in your growth strategy if you decide that more staff is necessary. That may be something to entrust to a key player if you aren’t familiar with the features of a good candidate. 

Outsourcing vs In-house

Outsourcing is completely normal in business. You don’t need to try to bring absolutely everything in-house. Assessing your operations will involve an audit of how you currently handle outsourcing. 

Marketing agencies are a common form of outsourcing, as they can handle very specialised work that doesn’t need permanent staff. If you only need something rarely or it’s a highly specialised job that needs high-cost experts involved, it is better to outsource it.

Part of preparing to scale up is finding out which areas suit your business and which suit another. For example, if you’re currently buying a component of a product you manufacture, now could be the time to buy the necessary machine. If you’d need to build a new factory, gain certification, and hire dozens of specialist staff, consider continuing your existing relationship.

Businesses will always work together and support each other. Business owners will need help to handle everything they could need. All you need to do here is think about which parts you can handle. 

Legal and Risk Management

As you expand your business’s operations, you may face new regulations you haven’t had to deal with before. Therefore, knowing what is expected of you is an important part of your scale-up preparations. 

A business also has to be able to manage the risks that it will face when growing. Therefore, preparing for setbacks and crises should be a part of your strategic planning from the very start. 

Legal Preparations

These laws and regulations exist in the interest of fairness and to protect people, so the consequences for breaking them – even accidentally – can be harsh, especially on a smaller business. That can be even more so when operating in more than one country.

For some scale-ups, things will stay the same. For example, you may move into another bracket or classification as employee numbers or value increases, but keep everything central to your current business.

In this case, you want to know the different kinds of business and where the cut-off thresholds lie. That may only affect taxes or reporting if you’re very small. However, it could impact which grant schemes you’re eligible for. 

If your business’s scale-up involves any significant changes or diversification, you need to be aware of the requirements of that field. That should be part of the research when deciding to make these changes. 

For example, if your business is currently running out of your home and moving to its first official office is part of your plan, do you know the requirements? There are minimum space, health and safety, and human resources laws to consider, even for a small office.

On the other end of the scale, what do you need to know if you want to open a factory and start manufacturing? First, there will be an office’s health and safety and HR requirements, but more too.

The products may need to be externally safety checked. For example, you may need a licence to operate one of the machines or use a certain material. In addition, there could be restrictions on the disposal of some of the waste produced.

This endeavour is much larger than many others, so much more planning and preparation is expected. Whatever changes you plan to make, you need to do your due diligence.  

Crisis Management

A crisis is a sudden threat that can strike a business. They’re often completely surprising and, if left unresolved, can cause significant damage. 

As a business leader, you can prepare your business for crises in one of two ways:

  1. Mitigation
  2. Response planning

Mitigation is taking steps now to reduce the potential damage of a future event. Response planning is preparing a procedure for an event so that you don’t need to decide how to respond to it as it happens. 

Prevention is also part of the preparation. However, crises tend to be unexpected and beyond the control of a single small business. As such, these two are the most important to prepare for. This idea can be easier to illustrate with a non-business example.

The local council for a flood-prone area can give weather warnings for high rains, giving people time to evacuate or move precious belongings to higher ground. They can also plan emergency service priorities and purchase refuge centre supplies.

The former is mitigation. They’re taking action so that the cost and risk to the life of a flood won’t be as severe. The latter is their response plan, allowing them to spring into action as soon as a flood occurs.

Crisis Analysis

Crisis analysis is a strategic planning tool that focuses on this preparation. It works well with SWOT and MOST analysis and forms part of Boardroom Advisors’ own tried-and-tested Strategy Toolkit.

As with any planning session, gather the key players from your business to get a more well-rounded view of possibilities. Start by creating a list of possible crises. Then, wait to analyse them, as you’re just exploring options.

Crises can be global in scale, such as a major trade route closing down. They can also be very small-scale events. A new competitor in your market or the unexpected loss of a Board member can still be highly dangerous to your business.

Once you have your list of ideas, the next step is to explore the consequences. Again, start at the largest scale and work down towards your business.

How would it affect the world, your country, market, and you?

Creating the full web of consequences allows you to see the bigger picture you may have missed. Focusing only on your own business will blind you to other knock-on effects that will also come back to affect you.

If that trade route closed, it might not seem like a big deal to you initially. This is because your business only operates in your country, so you don’t need to export there. However, a component you use may be supplied from the wrong side of the closure, so you’ll have developed a supply chain issue.

When exploring these consequences, don’t think too much about how you’d solve them. Think instead about if there are any patterns forming or groups that you can collect crises into. Similar crises could benefit from similar responses, so they need less planning to counter.

Mitigation

Once you have your list of crises and their effects, you can think about how to handle them. Mitigation means taking action now, so making it part of your scale-up planning means that it can be integrated into the business alongside the other changes. 

Look through your list and see if there are any common themes. For example, if your business is particularly vulnerable to a certain family of crisis, this may be something you want to work on. On the other hand, if you’re fairly equal in vulnerability, you should prioritise the risk a crisis carries. 

Only some crises can easily be prepared for this way, so you need to remain grounded. There’s only a little your business can do if only one place in the world produces something you need. In this case, you have to accept the risk in that sector. 

Some things are much easier to prepare for. For example, the sudden loss of a key player can be mitigated by making succession planning a standard practice. In addition, having a second in place that can take over responsibilities, temporarily or permanently, will smooth out the transition period. 

One possible way you can mitigate risks to your business is diversification. For example, if your business operates in two different markets and industries, a crisis in one likely won’t affect the other. That means one half of the business can support the other until the danger is past.

However, this is a very big change to make, so be realistic about what your business can manage. Attempting to do too much in one go can pose as much risk as anything external. 

Response Planning

How would you respond to a crisis if it happened right now? Would your rapid response be the best one? Again, response planning is there so that you don’t have to make these decisions on the fly. 

As with mitigation, you may see patterns forming in your crisis analysis. These can be very useful, as a plan that works for one may also be suitable for another. In addition, that reduces the number of unique plans you would need to cover all eventualities. 

The aim is to create an action plan that can be put in place automatically in response to certain triggers. This would inform everyone what they need to do and how they would do it, so there’s no room for panic or hesitation. 

Ideally, your plan would kick in even if you weren’t there to oversee it. However, if it involves any substantial changes, you should be the one to authorise it formally. So long as it takes out the guesswork, it will greatly help in an emergency.

When To Modify Your Plan

No matter how well you plan and prepare, crises bring the unexpected. Holding an emergency Board meeting during or in the wake of a crisis event may be the difference between riding it out or stalling. 

Your business plan only makes sense so long as the assumptions it’s built on are valid. Unfortunately, crises can bring massive change, which means that that’s no longer the case for your plan. 

You can’t change that in your operations now, but it is worth knowing. Returning to your business plan and reviewing it is crucial. You must ensure that your business is still working from a viable strategy, or it’s time to pivot.

Summary

Your business’s operations are a wide-ranging subject. They’re there in the background of everything you do and cross into your strategies for any other business area. 

In the end, operations still boil down to a couple of core concepts: ease of expansion and efficiency. Working on your ease of expansion will help prevent bottlenecks from forming. Working on your efficiency will reduce overheads and prevent waste.

With such a diverse set of skills required, your business may benefit from the advice of an operation specialise. Boardroom Advisors offers Part-time Operations Directors that can support your business on a flexible contract that suits you. 

5. Digital Transformation for Growth

Make sure your business’s IT is ready for your scale up.

This ebook focuses on digital transformation and IT. Every business makes use of IT to some degree. Not every business does it well, however.

It’s common for businesses to find that their IT systems are holding them back as they grow. That is because they hadn’t designed them properly for scalability, and now the systems aren’t scaling. 

Sorting out your business’s IT before starting your rapid growth process will be much easier than adding it in the middle of your plan. This ebook looks at some things to consider when planning out the IT elements of your business.

Is Your IT Scalable?

It’s very common that, as a business grows, its IT systems organically grow with it. The more growth that happens without a plan, the more likely issues will develop. So a thorough IT review can be a useful thing to do before you scale up. 

The solutions are often researched and bought by the teams or departments that need them, with no real cross-communication. It’s also often the case that only some people involved understand IT.

IT is as large a subject to learn as any other in business – possibly as large as the subject of the business itself – and needs expert guidance. If your business lacks that digital leadership, it’s possible you’ll need an overhaul before you can grow.

Are There Inefficiencies in Your Systems?

One of the most common problems is the development of overlap and inefficiency. If you take on solutions piecemeal as needed, the additional opportunities they bring can be overlooked. 

It’s common for a solution to have more functionality than just the one you bought it for. For example, you could use one software to cover the use of another completely. It may also be the case that a new option is available that does the jobs of multiple older ones.

Sometimes it isn’t about overlap. It’s simply a matter of scale. Every solution has its best range for use; if you outgrow it, you should be moving on. Whatever the reason, you may find that your solutions aren’t the most efficient options available.

If you’re paying for multiple licences when you only need one, that’s money that could be put to better use elsewhere. If you’ve outgrown it, the solution could be holding you back. Be honest about what you use and why you use it.

An important caveat, however, is this needs the input of the people who use the solution in their day-to-day work. There is a very good reason that they don’t use one solution.

Replacing something that works with something that doesn’t work for the sake of cutting back will likely only make things worse. It will slow down your employees’ work, reduce the quality of their work, and even demoralise them.

Are You Missing Anything You Really Need?

Another common problem to arise is gaps developing in your system. When on a smaller scale, these gaps can go unnoticed. Eventually, though, they will make themselves known.

You don’t want to discover that something is impossible just as you need to do it for the first time. Not only will this delay the job being completed – possibly with a client waiting – but it will put a lot of pressure on getting it fixed quickly. 

For instance, if you provide an app as part of a larger service, you may want to expand it at some point. However, if the solutions you used don’t allow you to add another tab to the menu, this massively limits your ability to grow the app.

These issues really need a digital expert’s eye to assess them. You need to know tech to see the problems that may be there. Gaps may be present, but most people lack the skills required to spot them.

How Easy Is It To Upgrade Your Systems?

Tech needs to be updated if it wants to stay competitive. IT hardware is constantly getting faster and bigger in terms of data but smaller in terms of the necessary size. How it’s upgraded will make a massive difference to long-lasting costs. 

That doesn’t mean you need to be at the very cutting edge with all of your computers. An office doesn’t need revolutionary, top-end processors. But you do want to be able to keep up with the bare minimum.

You’ll be spending far more than necessary if you have to replace everything in one go to complete a system update. Therefore, a well-designed IT system will be planned with incremental updating in mind. 

Smaller upgrades will reduce waste, keep you better equipped for longer, and cause less disruption. But, again, it helps to have someone who knows what they’re doing involved in this process.

You want to make sure that when you purchase something:

  1. It will work with your existing systems, so it can be used as is.
  2. It will continue to work around several possible changes.
  3. It’s easy to change if you need to.

Not everything needs to meet every condition, and if it brings enough value, it may still be worth it. However, remember that its value will only stay that way for a while. Digital transformation is about future-proofing your business. 

Can Your Systems Handle Increased Demand?

Unsurprisingly, one of the most important parts of whether or not your IT is scalable is whether or not it can grow. It’s not likely to be a successful scale-up if your business can’t conduct any more business.

If your business’s website can’t actually handle many more orders, you will struggle to make the increased sales you’re hoping for. Therefore, your IT’s capacity to handle increased demand is crucial to scaling up.

Are your current systems scalable, or will things slow down with increased activity? Of course, you don’t want a server grinding to a halt over too many requests. It can help to get dedicated support on this issue. 

What Opportunities Are There for Improvement?

IT isn’t just a tool to use in the background. It provides many opportunities for your business to grow in and of itself. 

Most businesses gather data over time just from their normal operations. The data can be put to use for your business. 

You could use your customer data to build better-tailored marketing or model the market statistically. Your data offers the chance to partner with another business. A digital expert will have a better idea of what you could do.

Who Is Responsible for Your It?

As with any important area of your business, it’s easier to get it right if there’s someone responsible for your IT systems. Having someone who truly understands IT take ownership of your system means it’s much less likely to become a problem for your business.

Does anyone on your Board have a good understanding of IT or digital technologies? Of course, exactly what you need will vary depending on what your business does, but you will have something to work on. 

The more integral computers are to your business’s operations, the more important it is that an expert runs it. If you don’t have anyone on your Board with the skills for the role, consider if a new Director may be necessary. 

An IT Director’s work is a lot like the duties of an Operations Director. They’re there to ensure that everything grows in line with the business growth to retain function. So you want to avoid wasting money, developing inefficiencies, and becoming understaffed.

You also want your IT strategy to align with your overall growth strategy. Beyond what is needed to maintain functionality, you want your IT to prioritise the parts that will directly support the rest of your growth. 

Likewise, it’s good to have someone involved at the strategic level in charge of the department’s budgeting. Someone who knows what the business needs will draw up a budget that best aligns with your growth strategy. It can be hard for a Board without the expertise to know what it’s ok to sign off on.

How an It Department Works in Business

A business’s IT department doesn’t work like most other departments. Unfortunately, this can make them hard to understand for most managers from more traditional business backgrounds.

In many ways, they’re like a fire department. They’ll work in the background, offering advice to prevent problems from developing. But, if they’re listened to, you shouldn’t see too much of them.

An IT department that’s constantly busy trying to fix various office issues is either not done its job properly or has not been respected properly. If they’ve done their job well, they won’t be running around putting out fires.

That becomes an issue because many people struggle with managing a team like this. Of course, you want them to be relaxed, but this makes them harder to monitor through targets or productivity.

Having someone who understands the role of your IT team on the Board means your business can get the best out of them. They’ll know enough to assess competency without being caught out by cultural differences. 

How It Can Work Best in Your Business

So far, every section of this ebook has mentioned the importance of having technical expertise on your Board to give IT its due representation. If this is something your business is lacking, consider considering finding a way to add it.

IT is just as important as any other business area, but it is often overlooked. Treating it with less care than you would your finances or operations will lead to your business developing problems just as quickly.

A part-time IT Director could be what you need if you want this support but would prefer to avoid committing the resources required to hire a full-time Executive Director. Their flexible contracts can suit your business needs as they need them. 

If you’re unsure whether you could benefit from a senior IT expert on an ongoing basis but are aware that you need help, then you could start with a digital transformation review. That will help uncover and identify the issues and create a plan for tackling the needed changes. It’s a great place to start!

6. Marketing For Success

How to prepare your business’s marketing for scaling up.

Your business’s marketing is crucial to your scale-up success. After all, it doesn’t matter what changes you make if you don’t increase your sales. And you can’t sell to people who have no idea you exist.

That’s what marketing is. You’re putting your name out there so the public knows you’re an option. Sales are there to convert potential customers into paying ones, but marketing needs to get them in the door first.

Even in large and established businesses, marketing can get forgotten as its entity. Unfortunately, that is usually a mistake, as it prevents you from accessing so much of marketing’s potential. 

To attain and maintain your target growth, you need to increase your number of customers. That is something investors will want to know you’ve planned for. 

This ebook will look at how you can plan the marketing that your business will need. When preparing to scale up, these are the sorts of things you’ll need to think about. 

The Importance of Branding

Your brand lies at the heart of everything you do in marketing and beyond. It’s the face that people see when presented with your business. It’s the impression of you they carry when making decisions. 

At the centre of your brand is a consistent message. Who are you? You should be the same to everyone who sees you.

Try and condense your business down to a single sentence. Then, drill down to what you do and what makes you special. That should be your message.

You want your brand to shine through in everything you do. All of your communications should reflect the brand and uphold this message. A brand is more than a logo and colour scheme.

The way you talk to your customers in emails, the actors you cast in adverts, and how you physically present yourself in customer-facing situations are all part of your brand. People won’t like it when you act differently from how you’re perceived.

If your customers have a strong sense of ethics, and you choose to focus your marketing on that, your business needs to reflect it. How you choose suppliers, the way you operate logistics, and treat staff will all have to reflect that sense of ethics.

Likewise, if you market yourself as a luxury brand, you want your storefronts to feel luxurious too. If your shops feel cheap, then maybe your products are too. It’s all about perception. 

Figure out how you want your business to be seen. Consider what matters to you and what your business already does well. Matching the business to your vision will tell you what brand you want.

Do You Understand Your Market?

Research is always something to do in advance of scaling up. You can’t really know what to include in your plan if you don’t know what’s needed. So when preparing to scale your business, take the time to research your market thoroughly.

Going back to basics, your market is the pool of potential and existing customers that your business can access. These people would want to use your business’s services or buy your products as things are. 

Separating Segments

A market segment is a group within the market defined by shared characteristics and motivations. Every segment will have different reasons for being there and access to different resources. Understanding segments is therefore especially important in competition research.

Unless your new business is completely revolutionary, it will have existing competition. So one way of making it in an already populated market is carefully focusing on individual segments. They could be a good route to expand into if there’s a segment largely on the periphery. 

 

Segments are broken up by a number of demographics. Some of the most common are:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Profession
  • Gender

These are much more obvious for B2C businesses but also important in B2B. If you run a B2B business, remember that you are still selling to individual people. It’s humans that make decisions, and their demographics will affect how they need to be approached. 

Although your customers are all individual people, segments and such groupings allow you to bring them together into more modelable groups. Of course, there are far too many people out there to look at them one by one, but using overall trends is entirely valid.

Who Are Your Customers?

Considering the possible breakdowns available, how would you group your customers? Using your existing customers is a great starting point. Seeing they’re available, you want to understand them in as much detail as possible.

To expand, however, you need to research the rest of your market and how to move out towards them. Think out all the ways your product or service might be used. Find similar businesses and look into their marketing.

That will help you understand who else you can sell to and who’s already buying what you’re selling. From there, dig deeper and see what you can find. Once you have a good idea of your market, you can figure out how to reach them.

How Will You Reach Your Market?

Different market segments need to be approached in different ways. So now you know your market, what are the best segmentation methods? Which segments will you prioritise?

Your marketing should focus on your intended customers’ language and pain points. You want to speak to them, not at them, and they’ll feel much more inclined towards someone they think gets them.

Tailoring Example

If you’re selling to a very active group of people, directing your marketing to talk about saving time, quick tips, quick and easy, hacks, express, and so on will be more attractive. They won’t have much time on their hands, so they are looking for solutions that won’t take away too much of what they do have.

But why are they busy? This will make a difference to the language you use as well. A working parent, a businessperson, and someone working two jobs will have very different feelings about their busyness. 

A working parent is busy because of their children. As well as working their job, they’ve got to get the kids to school, keep them entertained, and get them to clubs. They’re busy for the sake of someone they love.

That means you don’t want to frame the busyness too badly, as that could make their child bad. Instead, you would want language that alludes to their parenting responsibilities, such as freeing up more time to spend with the children.

A businessperson is likely to be busy of their choosing. They’ve found some roles they excel or are running a business of their own. They’re travelling or putting in extra hours but see that as good.

Marketing tailored to them will use more words like express. They give the impression of quick efficiency and being special. But, again, the busyness isn’t bad; it is just another challenge for them to tackle with solutions like yours.

Someone working more than one job is likely doing so because they have to. But, on the other hand, they probably don’t want to be busy and want more time.

Marketing something to them as a simple, easy way to get something done quickly will be more attractive. Presenting a task as a chore and your solutions as a fast way to get it done will reach them more effectively.

People can be in more than one of these groups, and their demographics will split, but they offer trends. If, generally speaking, working parents will respond a certain way, then use that. It won’t catch everyone, but it isn’t meant to.

How to Talk to Your Customers

Once you’ve identified and prioritised your market, you’ll need to figure out your message. What impression do you want to give to your customers? You want to maintain your brand but can add parts to fit groups better.

You must also consider the best mediums and platforms for your market. There’s no point in getting the message right if no one that matters will see it. 

Where are your customers found? This includes their social media of choice, preferred TV channels or apps, and preferred content on larger sites. Essentially, you’re exploring where to place the ad for maximum reach. 

Once you know where to find them, what do they respond best to? Again, framing the message is just as important as the content.

Using the previous examples, working parents will respond to advertising involving other parents, while a businessperson may want more professional appearing content. Both will have different vocabularies that they use more often for you to use. 

You can run a campaign across multiple platforms to access market segments. If the parents are found in one place, target their ads, not the business ones, and vice versa. That means you can spread the marketing with less risk of presenting the wrong thing to the wrong person.

Tiers of Marketing

You also want to consider the different stages a customer will be in. The marketing funnel models marketing using a funnel shape. At its simplest, it’s made up of three parts. Each part will benefit from different lead generation techniques.

The Top Tier

The top is wide but shallow. You want to put out marketing that makes people aware that you exist and roughly what you do. You don’t need to sell yourself, just ensure that you’re a known option to as many people as possible when they’re considering a problem. 

Simply getting your logo and name out there is enough here. Posters or their digital equivalents that showcase what your business does without being crowded would do the job well. You’re aiming to be seen by a wide range and don’t need much more. 

The Middle Tier

These customers know that you exist and are likely to start thinking about a problem you provide a solution for. The marketing area doesn’t reach as many people but focuses more. It lays out the problem so that customers are aware they have a need.

This marketing is a little more in-depth. For example, it could include a video ad or marketing emails to likely potentials. You want to explain your business in greater detail and get the customer thinking without wasting their time. 

The Bottom Tier

Once people know they’re going to make a purchase, you want marketing to convince them to choose you. They know they have a problem. What matters is who is the best business to solve it. Narrow but deep, this marketing is all about how that’s you.

This marketing is the most in-depth, so you can take more time to explore the details. What do people find when they actively look for something you do? You want to make sure that your website, items of social proof, and explanatory content makes it clear exactly what you’ll give them.

How Can You Expand?

Even if you start relatively small, you can lay the groundwork for future expansion. Spreading out can take time, so starting the ball rolling now can help you maintain growth. 

You have a clear market to work in. This is where you want to establish a strong base, but it doesn’t have to be your only market. From development to diversification, there are ways you can make your growth more secure and offer options to grow even more. 

Development is expanding within an area that’s already familiar. Diversifying means expanding your business into something new. Ansoff’s Box illustrates the options available.

Market penetration is more in line with what’s previously been discussed in this ebook. But, again, it’s about strengthening your position within your market. Usually, this means increasing your market share and bringing in new segments.

When researching your market, you would have got to know them quite well. What else do they need that you could provide? Consider adding to your catalogue to give your market more with product development.

Market development means figuring out how to make your business appeal to new markets. What was it that made your business special? Then, find out who else might need that for something seemingly very different, and consider how to start selling to them.

When diversifying, you’re entering a new market with a new product. That doesn’t mean a blind leap, though. You can still do a lot of research and focus on your business’s existing strengths.

You want to get your foot in the door before you can start exploring too far, but it’s worth thinking about. Where you could go may affect some of your branding choices, for example. You don’t want to sabotage your future self if you could easily avoid it now. 

Always Know Your Customer

There’s a lot to think about in marketing, and that’s not even covering the intricacies and opportunities of digital marketing. In the end, though, it boils down to one core idea.

Know your customer.

Knowing what they want, how they think, where they are, and anything else you can make marketing a lot easier. Things will feel a lot more obvious when you have a clear picture.

If marketing isn’t your strong suit, support is available. Boardroom Advisors offers Part-time Marketing Directors with all the knowledge and skills needed to bridge the gap between your business and your customers. 

7. Strengthen Your Sales

Make sure your sales team is ready for your business’s scale-up.

While your marketing department is all about attracting interest towards your business, it’s the job of sales to turn an interested individual into an actual customer. Therefore, getting your sales process right is just as important as ensuring sustainable growth.

If you can’t convince a potential customer that they should buy from you, it doesn’t matter how attractive your marketing makes you seem. How you secure sales will vary from business to business, but some common elements exist.

Here, we look at some connecting ideas you can take on board for your business’s development. Whether B2B or B2C, mass market or client based, scaling up your business means ensuring your sales team has what it takes.

Master Your Pitch

At the heart of a sale is the pitch. So what are you going to say to do the convincing? Why should people pay for what you sell?

The nature of how you deliver this pitch and the people who deliver it will change, but the core is there. There are techniques you can use across the range of sales opportunities. Included below are some of the most common and important.

Doing these well involves getting to know the customer and understanding how they tick. Building a rapport means they’ll trust you more and give you information about themselves. From there, you can decide on the best tools to use with them. 

What About Me?

Everyone cares about themselves. Not selfishly, just at a fundamental level, it’s impossible not to.

When presented with information, you will almost always contextualise it around yourself. If you can see how something is relevant to you, it will engage you a lot more. Sales require engagement, so you need to focus on the customer. 

Your pitch should centre on the customer, their needs and wants. Using ‘we’ language is a common trap people can fall into, but you should use ‘you’ language.

Instead of saying, “we provide this,” “we have that,” or “we specialise in,” you want to frame the statement around the customer. For example, say, “you gain access to,” “you’ll be able to find,” or “your needs are well in hand.”

You can see how this catches the attention more. The customer isn’t being told all about your business. Instead, they’re being told what a business can do for them.

Emotions Make Sales

As much as we like to think we’re logical creatures, people are still driven by their feelings. So how something makes us feel will change our perception of it for the better or worse.

Trying to make a sale based purely on cold hard facts is hard. Making a sale by focusing on emotions is much easier. Explore the emotions you want the facts to bring out. 

A business provides a solution to some problem. For example, a service solves the problem directly, while a product provides them with what they need to do it themselves.

The problems will be attached to negative emotions like anxiety, boredom, and stress. The solutions are attached to positive emotions, so relief, excitement, and satisfaction. Figuring out which pairing best suits you will help your sales. 

Consider a working parent. They’re worried that they won’t be able to get dinner ready in time without sacrificing nutritional value. You have the negative emotion there from their worry.

If they had a quick but healthy solution, it would be a relief. So you can focus on that feeling of relief. 

Then, to make the sales pitch, you would want to establish this sense of worry before presenting them with the relief your business can provide. They’ll associate that relief with your product or service and will be more inclined to purchase. 

Benefits Led Pitches

Considering the importance of making things about the customer and emotions, the differences between benefits and features are something to consider. 

  • A feature is something intrinsically true about an object. It’s what defines that item or service. When designing a product, it’s the things that you designed into it.
  • A benefit is how an object can positively impact someone’s life. What does your feature do for them? Why did you make it part of the product or service?

You may be able to see why benefit-led pitches are so useful. Benefits answer the question: “what about me?” They’re also much easier to work emotions into. 

Your quick but nutritious meal takes 5 minutes to prepare and has a certain list of nutrients. These are its features. The benefits are that they can make dinner quickly but still give their children a healthy meal.

Unless you understand the technicalities of something, just being told the features with no context won’t create much engagement. Instead, it’s the benefits that draw the customer into the sale. 

Benefits still need backing up with features, so don’t only use benefits. For example, if something usually takes an hour, 20 minutes and 40 minutes can be called quick, but one is much more impressive than the other. 

Features are evidence to support your claims and quantify how impressive they are. Present the customer with a couple of features and then summarise with the benefit.

Involving the Customer

Although it’s harder in certain sales environments, getting the customer involved is a strong learning technique. Getting to a point where the customer has sold their product makes it hard for them to justify not making a purchase.

Asking the customer leading question can be a great way of doing this. Asking them a question that will lead them to suggest something that is a feature of your product or service makes it much easier to sell to them.

Another way of involving the customer is challenging them. Many people will want to prove themselves to you when faced with a challenge. Suggesting a challenge involving using your product means they’ll need to purchase to prove you wrong. 

When it’s clear it’s something they love, just letting them talk about it can often be enough. This is easier in hobby-based businesses but can work elsewhere. Being someone who’ll listen to them as they get excited is often enough to win them over to you, especially if you genuinely share that interest. 

These techniques do take some practice, as they need a measure of subtlety. You don’t want to be too obvious, which can put them on their guard. But, on the other hand, you don’t want the customer to doubt or distrust you when making a sale. 

Master Your Sales Team

The nature of your sales team will change depending on your business. Obviously, a brick-and-mortar shop will sell differently from a fully online store, but the team will have similarities, just like the pitch.

You want to make the most of your sales team and the kinds of people that find themselves working in them. You may not have much of a team at the moment, or you may already have something established.

This chapter can be useful in either situation. If you’re hiring in a team, it’s useful to know what to consider in candidates. If you have a team, are there ways you can manage it better?

Motivating Your Team

The best sales personnel still need something to drive them. A team can be motivated with the right rewards. It can take time to find a balance, but it’s worth trying to motivate your team. 

Many teams operate performance-based bonus systems. The more they do to help your business, the more direct reward they get. The nature of this reward needs to be carefully considered. 

Obviously, you don’t want to give away too much. There’s no point in getting more sales if you don’t see a net benefit from increased employee costs. However, you also want to ensure that those doing satisfactory but not exemplary levels still feel appreciated.

A bonus doesn’t always need more pay, so long as it’s something your team would appreciate receiving. It’s also worth making sure it can be given in different quantities. A better seller receiving a bigger bonus creates a sense of appreciation and healthy competition.

If there’s a clear star player, recognise it. They will feel appreciation while everyone else has a goal to strive for. They can also act as a role model to learn from. 

Understanding Their Ambition

It’s not uncommon for specific kinds of people to end up in sales. These are highly motivated people who work for their feeling of success. However, problems can arise when their targets don’t align with your business’s needs.

For many, what matters is making the sale. So when negotiation is possible, they’ll work until they convince the customer to purchase. Often though, the only thing they have to play with is price.

If they’re allowing the price to be negotiated below cost, that’s a loss to the business, but it’s a personal win. They made the sale and got their sense of satisfaction.

When managing a sales team, you want to find a midpoint between their motivation and your needs. Of course, you can establish rules for this, but you can also use your bonus scheme to help.

Bonuses based solely on several sales will encourage them to make sales no matter the cost. In addition, offering rewards based on team and individual profit will encourage more good sales. 

Establishing Boundaries

When creating a sales team, it’s a good idea to make sure they know what is and isn’t ok. For example, to prevent them from lowering the price too much, you can give them a hard minimum they aren’t allowed to drop below.

Many sales situations don’t allow for flexible costs in the first place, but there are other ways problems can arise. For example, if they can’t make a sale, a self-motivated person can get frustrated; you want to ensure they know how to handle the feeling of failure.

You don’t want your team to become a toxic environment to work in. Too much competition can become unhealthy, causing your workers stress. It can also drive individuals to sabotage other team members, which is unacceptable.

Establishing the expected conduct of your team members early and being strict with enforcing your rules can be crucial to stopping such an atmosphere from developing. If something like this happens, you may need to rethink the structure of your sales department.

Maybe a team-based rewards system will be better suited. If it’s in someone’s best interest for their colleagues to do well, they’ll hopefully support each other more. 

Supporting Your Team

You can help your team members by providing them with advice and support. Creating standard procedures can be a great way to limit more maverick sales while helping to support less well-performing people. 

When someone’s not having a great day, having a script they can follow can be a lifesaver. It also helps to provide a more consistent customer experience. 

If your expertise lies in sales, join the team occasionally. Showing off your skills gives a good example to your team members. In addition, you give a target to strive for and show them how they can improve their skills.

Giving newer or struggling team members extra training and advice will help them with their personal development and help with their motivation. As a leader, your role is to keep them on track, recognise their successes, and help them grow. 

Hiring Your Team

A salesperson needs to be great with people. Making a sale requires getting into the customer’s head and figuring out what drives them. From there, you know what they need to hear.

The best will be great talkers who find it easy to hold a conversation that makes you feel important. They’re able to get people talking about themselves and tease information out of them. They’ll also be naturally persuasive people.

These skills are hard to show on paper, so test them before hiring them. You could give them roleplay scenarios, for example, and get them to sell to different characters you create. You could even get them to try and sell something to you directly.

If sales aren’t your expertise, ensure you have someone who understands it. In addition, you’ll need someone with an eye for talent to make the best decisions. 

Integrated but Individual

Sales and marketing need to work together, but that doesn’t make them the same thing. Both work as separate teams that need good communication between them. 

Your business’s sales teams and marketing content needs to be consistent. For example, you don’t want the customer to see one thing in an advert only to hear the opposite from the salesperson. That is why branding is so important.

If your business always meets and negotiates with a client, you can rely on the sales team to do much of the work. However, there’s little chance of talking to a customer if you’re mostly online. In this case, your team must ensure that the web-store entry includes the important information. 

The best marketing for each situation will be different, so you’ll want to tailor it to match the sales process. For example, the more in-depth sales can go, the less marketing needs to be, and vice versa.

You can also make use of sales data to aid marketing. When your sales team converts a sale, they can pass the data back to marketing. If possible, this can include tracking how the customer found out about you. If not, marketing can chase them up.

Communication between the two means sales can help marketers understand which campaigns work best and which need rethinking. It also means that a recent customer’s marketing can be scaled back. No one likes to be bugged with emails suggesting something they’ve already bought. 

Manage Your Sales Team Scale Your Business

Sales are about getting into a customer’s head and presenting exactly what they need to hear. It’s a game of conversation that takes skill and charisma. 

Managing sales teams can be challenging, but getting it right means your business can become much more efficient. In addition, the more leads you to convert, the easier it is to maintain your growth.

If this isn’t your area of expertise, it’s worth finding someone to support you. You might find that a part-time sales director is what your business needs. 

8. Planning For Exit 

Why exit planning is an important part of scaling up.

Your time with your business won’t last forever. It can seem rather strange to think about leaving the business as part of scaling up, but it’s worth doing.

These things take time to prepare and can involve some time-consuming requirements. You don’t want to get caught out when you want to leave by something that’ll take a couple of years to implement.

When you’re already making big changes to your business, it’s easy to add more. Now’s a great time to figure out how you want to exit the business and get the ball rolling. That way, your transition out of business won’t become stressful. 

This ebook looks at the process of exiting a business and available options. In addition, you’ll see the work needed to prepare for an exit, so you know where you want to start. 

The Importance of Starting Right

Exiting a business won’t be instantaneous. It’s not even particularly quick. Yet, that is something that many entrepreneurs have been caught by.

A certain amount of due diligence is required. Valuations will generally be done by someone independent. And, of course, you have to find and prepare the people you’re handing the business over to. 

If you’re selling externally, you’ll need to find a buyer. So you will have to optimise your business to maximise value, and you can be sure there’ll be haggling over your value. 

If you’re handing the business over to an internal owner, you’ll need to ensure they’re all prepared to take over leadership responsibilities. Probably, you’ll still need to have the business valued, and there’ll be investors to appease.

All of these can take time. Sometimes, your exit could be delayed by multiple years while you prepare everything. With this being the case, you can understand why you’d want to start preparing as early as possible.

Investors and Exits

Scaling up your business generally involves seeking investment. Therefore, knowing how you plan to exit your business can be very important to the investors you are looking for. 

The value you get for each kind of exit will be different, so the return they’ll get on their investment will be too. The less your business sells for, the less they’ll get, so they need to be informed of your choices.

If your investor expects a big return only to learn your plan to hand the business to your children without a sale, they won’t be happy. But, on the other hand, if they’re investing because they believe in your business’s mission, they’re more likely to be ok with a soft return handover that maintains company culture.

Being clear on your exit strategy will help you find the kinds of investors that best match your vision for the future. Be transparent with them, and you’ll avoid any unpleasant revelations.

Exit StrategyOoptions

This chapter covers some of the owners’ most common methods to exit their businesses. Each exit strategy has its benefits and drawbacks. Your choice will depend on what you want from your business and your retirement. 

For each strategy, there will be an introduction to how they work and an overview of their most important features. There will also be a section on what you must do to prepare for this exit. Some preparations will benefit from being started as soon as possible, so you’ll see what you need to start doing.

Employee Ownership Trusts

An Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) is a form of exit that keeps the business in business. As the name suggests, it involves creating trust in the name of the business’s employees that takes over company management. Boardroom Advisors has an ebook that explains the EOT in greater depth, which you can find here.

A board of trustees manages EOTs. A separate management team will run the business. Both aims are to act in the best interest of the business’s employees.

An EOT has to own most of a business’s shares, so you don’t want to relinquish majority control of your business as it grows. In addition, at the time of exit, the business has to be independently valued, as the EOT may not pay more for it than its market value.

Typically, the trust will pay for the shares they’ve bought in instalments from the business’s profits. These payments are exempt from capital gains tax. So your sale won’t be in a single lump sum, but it will be tax-free.

EOTs can be great for owners who hold their business’s mission and culture to be of high significance. Handing the business over to the employees guarantees that the beliefs of the business will be maintained. It also means you can remain involved to some degree in the business.

What to Prepare

As they’re sold at no more than market value, and slowly, this will limit the return an investor can receive on their investment. That means you need to find an investment that cares more about the cause of the business than the profit it’ll make. 

Your senior leadership has to be able to function without you. There won’t be a new owner coming in to take control and keep a direction, so your team has to be able to do it for themselves. Training and development should be a core part of the business’s culture and operations.

You will need to establish a trust to sell the business to. That doesn’t need to be done straight away but needs to be left with enough time to be put in place before you leave. 

Trade Sale

A trade sale is conceptually the simplest method of exit. You find a buyer, sell your business to them and then step away. However, that doesn’t mean they’re an inherently simple process.

Trade sales tend to give the largest return, so maybe the preferred route of investors who just want profits. On the other hand, if you want a large lump sum to retire on, this may be a good route for you, although you should be aware that the sale will be subject to capital gains tax.

Owners who exit via a trade sale tend to cut ties with the business entirely. The business has a new owner and a new identity.

The new owner has free reign to run the business, so this method may not maintain the vision you had for your business. However, changes will likely occur, so you have to be content that the business has entered a new phase of its life. 

When the business is valued, a lot of due diligence will be needed. You want to maximise the business value, while they will want to chip the price down. Everything has to be accounted for and in order, which can take time.

You also need to find the buyer before you can make a sale. But, of course, that can be easier said than done. Securing an interested party for a sale can take a lot of time by itself, so you don’t want to add even more sale preparations than necessary.

What to Prepare

If you want to get the best value out of your business, it has to be worth as much as possible. A trade sale exit means you’ll need to prioritise growing value during your scale-up.

A business reliant on its owner will be valued for much less than an independent one. If a lot of your business’s current success is derived from you, it won’t be maintained after you leave. A buyer will need to be confident that the business will continue to function without them needing to save it. 

A business preparing for a sale will need a rigid and resilient management structure. Every link in the chain should understand what they’re doing and why so they can keep doing it without your oversight. 

Management Buy-out

A management buy-out sits somewhere between an EOT and a trade sale. You sell the business fully instead of a trust, but the buyers already work there. 

In a management buy-out, the existing management team buys the business from you using their assets. As they’re buying as private individuals, the sale isn’t as limited by regulations as an EOT. That can make the process somewhat more adversarial, however.

They’re using their assets and will likely need to raise the finances for it, so they will want to reduce the costs. As this usually involves debt, they’ll want to minimise the amount they borrow at your expense. 

However, they’re all current business employees, so they understand your mission. A management buy-out is more likely to maintain your established legacy but with a single payment to take away.

As with an EOT, owners can maintain a relationship with a business after a management buy-out. You don’t have to sell all your shares; you can take on a different role, such as an advisor. 

If you take this route, remember that you have sold the business to them. It’s theirs now, and you need to respect that even if you’re still around. It’s also worth noting that pressure due to debt can force them to move away from your legacy for growth.

What to Prepare

They must be on board if you want to exit your business with a management buy-out. You can’t force them to buy you out if they don’t want to.

The management team needs time to decide if this is what they want and to raise funds for you. The due diligence will be less thorough but is still necessary. 

You need to ensure the management team is sufficiently trained and practised in running the business without you. If they don’t have what it takes to keep the business growing in your absence, you should rethink if they’re the right people to sell to. 

Succession

Succession is very different to the other exit methods. It’s common in family businesses, where ownership is passed from generation to generation. 

Instead of selling the business, the controlling shares are given to a chosen successor or successors. Of course, that can be your child/children, but it can also be an heir from within the business, so you feel comfortable trusting its future to.

With no, or only a nominal, sales price, neither you nor your investors will see a return from this exit. Your investors have to be ok with not seeing any money come from the business’s handover. Philanthropic or non-equity investment can be useful if this is your end goal.

What to Do

The main requirement for succession is the successor. They need to be mentored and prepared to take on their role when it comes. 

You may also need to smooth things out with your investors. If they aren’t happy about the handover, they may become a problem. That could involve agreeing on a revenue-based buy-out scheme or you buying back their shares from them. 

Otherwise, with no sale, there’s no oversight to consider. Fair market value and due diligence aren’t important when no one’s buying anything.

Who Do You Need To Involve?

Across many of the exit strategies, you will have seen some common occurrences. Some people must be involved, no matter what exit strategy you choose.

Your strategy of choice will affect the person you bring into your business as it grows. It will also affect your operational structure and development needs. That is the main reason you should start planning your exit. 

Involving Your Investors

If you already have some investment, such as seed funding as a start-up, you will need to have this discussion with your investor. You can be selective about future investments but can’t change the past.

Understanding what they’re ok with can help you build your plan. They’ll be happier with an internal handover if they don’t care about their return compared to the business’s cause. If they want a return, you may need to figure out how you’ll still provide them with what they’re owed.

You may be able to agree on a payment scheme with them to buy them out before the exit. You may agree to split your instalments from an EOT until they’re paid back. Be open and honest to find the best option for you.

Going forward, your strategy of choice should inform your investment options. For example, if you want to sell the business, you likely won’t have any issues with a traditional VC. VCs have a duty to their clients but can’t give money out knowing it won’t see a return.

If you want to give your business to your child or something similar, you may need to use alternative finance methods. Equity-based finance isn’t the only option; you may benefit more from crowdfunding or debt finance.

Involving Your Management

Whether you’re preparing them for a takeover or doing it to improve your business’s value, your management team needs to be ready for your exit. A business that can’t function without its leader isn’t scalable, so it isn’t as valuable.

If your business needs you there every day, it isn’t ready. So you have to prepare your business for your absence.

Following a common thought experiment, if you were to disappear from your business for the next week suddenly, what would happen? If you don’t think they’d handle that week, can they really handle your exit?

Preparing your business for your exit will mostly consist of exactly this. Once your senior leadership team can keep working without you, and there’s nothing that cannot happen if you’re absent, then they’re ready. 

As the business’s leader, you should be there to approve the big things and provide the business’s strategic direction. So you don’t want to step away while running the business completely. You also don’t want them to be unable to process payments because you’re on holiday, and it can’t be done without your authorisation.

Outside Bodies

Many sales strategies will need some independent interaction. For example, value is generally done by an outside agency. Therefore, you may need to establish trust like in an EOT.

It’s always a good idea to get advice from experts on what will be necessary. If there are legally mandated steps, you will need to make sure you can complete them, for example.

That is also why it’s such a good idea to have someone who has exited a business before on your board. They’ll be able to provide this advice from experience and direct you to the people you need where they’re not enough.

What Does Your Business Need To Do?

Anything that can be done ahead of your exit should be. What can be made part of the company culture will be easier to include.

You can build the management structure your business needs from the start with your scale-up. Making training and development opportunities a normal part of operations will help you identify promising candidates.

You likely aren’t the only one needing replacing on your exit. If someone is stepping up to take over a CEO role, their job will still need to be filled. But, again, establishing succession planning as the norm will help with management shifts.

If everyone on your board or each of the business’s key players identifies and develops their successor, it’ll be easier for your business to adapt. That shows your business is prepared, which can also improve its value.

One thing to consider is estate planning. Like succession planning, this is about what will happen after you leave the business. However, unlike succession, this is for unexpected events such as your death.

If there’s a clear plan for what will happen when you pass away, then there’s a clear plan for what’ll happen when you leave. It makes your business stronger and will improve buyer confidence.

Exit Your Business On Time and Capitalize

When planning your exit, you must decide which route is best for you. Once you have, you know where you can start.

As always, research and discuss your decisions with your key players. If you want to give something like a business, the recipient needs to be on board and properly supported.

Talk to the experts. Build your business’s independence. Get it, and yourself, ready for living apart.

Exiting your business is rarely an easy time. After everything you’ve put into it, it’s completely understandable to be emotional. Doing the work in advance will help make the process easier for you.

If you could use further support with your exit, many of Boardroom Advisors’ Advisors have exited a business and successfully scaled one up. They can also fill whichever 

…invaluable strategic business advice in many areas…

Ian Gosden, Managing Director, Higos Insurance

…valuable assistance in setting objectives and arranging strategy plans…

John Freshwater, Managing Director, Permaframe

…no hesitation in recommending him as a Non-Executive Director…

Colin Flaherty, Chairman, Academy of Business Strategy

…I was delighted to hear what a fantastic fit Boardroom Advisors were for my client…

Chris Budd, Founder, The Eternal Business

…he was a real asset in supporting us through rapid expansion…

Adam Ellis, Managing Director, Five Rivers

…he has had a significant impact on our approach to how we work as an agency…

Christian Harris, Managing Director, Sticky