Scalability is a more complex concept than growth or expansion. Whilst it encompasses both, it represents a much more holistic perspective than either one when it comes to the question of business development. Expansion without growth anticipates increased trading but if achieved too early simply becomes a drain on resources. Growth without expansion risks an inability to meet rising demand, which can be fatal to a start-up or scale-up.
Genuine scalability is a response to changing trading circumstances, usually in a positive direction, combined with the structural enhancements needed to match those circumstances. Crucially, it is also about preparing for the unexpected, because it is frequently those unforeseen and unwelcome surprises that damage the prospects of a business. Every start-up should plan for scaling from the first day. The business plan and sales strategy should be scalable so that as growth occurs it is focused rather than fragmentary.
There are many challenges inherent in scaling. Going too early is a common mistake before a product or a service has been sufficiently refined or without a clear customer profile. Similarly, in the rush for growth it can be tempting to make poorly informed decisions about trading partnerships, resulting in costly and inefficient supply chains.
Too strong a focus on sales and marketing without building long-term demand and a core market can be equally detrimental. Price is another critical issue – an eagerness to undercut competitors can lead to a damaging race to the bottom. There is also the particularly important issue of management and operational infrastructure: a framework that served the business as a start-up may be wholly inadequate as you scale up in terms of both sales and personnel.
Scaling consists of many elements, including investment, efficiencies, IT capabilities, cheaper supply chains, brand visibility and smarter fulfilment. But the one thing they all have in common is a dependence on having the right talent to deliver and maintain them. Every one of these issues is significant, but your chances of achieving sustainable business growth without a sound, sustainable recruitment strategy will be slim.
Don’t underestimate the role that company culture and reputation play in the recruitment process. Hiring is a process of attraction as much as promotion. Every industry has its village grapevine. Even in the largest sectors, the community is limited, and companies become known not just for what they sell and how much profit they make but also for what life is like within the organization.
At a time when the balance in the digital jobs market rests very much with candidates, one of the best ways of building the strongest tech teams is by making your business an enticing place to take the next career step. The more appealing the culture, the better the talent you can attract. The better the talent you have, the easier it becomes to recruit more.
Never hire in haste
You may well need to fill roles quickly, but this does not mean cutting corners and undermining the level of diligence needed to make sure you are hiring well and for the long term. Recruitment takes time and money, which is a reflection of its importance. Being prepared for the process of advertising, assessing applications, conducting rounds of interviews, and making the crucial decisions will make the process much easier in practice. When you have incredibly talented and motivated people working towards the same vision, you are well-equipped to handle whatever commercial spin-balls are bowled at you. Cash and computers cannot solve problems: people can.
The most effective leaders remain in perpetual hiring mode, no matter where they are or what they are doing. When they come across an individual with the potential to make a substantial contribution they notice and, if possible, they will act. The talent pool is forever growing and shifting so staying aware of its changing character is essential.
At Tekna Search, we understand the pressures, challenges, and immense benefits of scalability. We provide a comprehensive range of consulting, project and talent management services designed to help any business achieve exceptional, sustainable growth. We will work with you to devise the ideal recruitment strategy and play a significant role in putting it into practice.
Get in touch with Tekna Search today, at [email protected] or on +1 (929) 299-1824 and discover how we can transform your tech career.