No matter their size, sector or years of experience, all businesses are trying to grow and expand. But what separates the successful companies from those that stagnate is how they scale their processes to match growth. With the right strategy in place, businesses can harness their IT and implement the environment they need to encourage success.
Here are a few tips on how to scale a service business wisely.
- After Auditing, Align Your Business and IT Growth Plans
- Use the Cloud to Take Your Business to the Next Level
- Security is a Priority
- Spot and Take Advantage of Trends
What’s Your Existing Business Strategy and Can IT Cope?
1. After Auditing, Align Your Business and IT Growth Plans
When you’re planning for the future, it’s absolutely crucial that your business looks both inwards as well as outwards. So before you start aligning anything, consider performing an audit on your existing procedures.
It’s important to understand what the short and long-term strategic goals of your business are. In most scenarios, IT is needed to assist and support the growth you’re trying to accomplish. You’ll need to determine whether your current IT infrastructure is equipped to cope with these aims.
By this, we mean several things. For instance, you may find that it’s time for your business to undergo a digital transformation - such as upgrading to new software, hardware and subscription services.
With the example of the technology your staff are using, consider whether it’s end of life and no longer supported by a vendor. Without regular updates and patches, the system could be at risk and vulnerable to cyber breaches.
It could also mean you need to review your current business processes and procedures.
2. Use the Cloud to Take Your Business to the Next Level
If you haven’t already, your business should consider making the switch to cloud applications to give staff greater flexibility when it comes to their work. Using the cloud puts the business in a much stronger position to scale upwards rather than being limited by on-premise infrastructure.
This is because the cloud enables staff to work from any device, in any location and at any time. It gives staff the freedom to work in the way that best suits them, improving productivity, efficiency and cultivating a positive company culture.
Cloud systems are important additions to your business because they support easier scaling. They operate on a consumption basis, allowing you to add or remove users as required. You only have to pay for what you need.
Suddenly taken on several new clients? Easily add new users. Finished a major project? Switch off licenses you no longer need. Either way, you’ll have access to the latest features and functions, something your competition might not be able to say.
3. Security is a Priority
You’ll already spend a lot of time focusing on IT security, whether it’s making sure encryption is in place or something as frustrating as resetting passwords for staff. But, when it comes to scaling your business, security is more important than ever.
Even as you add new infrastructure and users, the same encryption, protection and protocols should be in place to make sure your network isn’t susceptible to any kind of pressure or risk.
Those risks can be mitigated by making sure there’s a good training procedure in place. Ensuring you’ve got a few people in your team who can train new starters means that, even if you’re out of the office, new hires can be brought up to speed on the business’ security measures.
As more and more people join the business, you need to ensure that training is still held in high regard. It only takes one simple breach because of a gap in someone’s training for growth to grind to a screeching halt.
4. Spot and Take Advantage of Trends
Harnessing valuable information and data can give your business the insight it needs to grow. It can be used to spot trends and patterns that can influence company decisions in a positive way.
For example, you can immediately capitalise on new business opportunities by closely monitoring customer behaviour. Or you can look at data relating to your own performance and look to optimise resources accordingly - for example, receive automated warnings on current capacity and create actionable insights.
Real-time data can give you an immediate view of what is and what isn’t working. You won’t have to wait for quarterly reports to make slow changes, you’ll be empowered to make impactful decisions, fast. Intelligent data systems can monitor performance on your behalf and notify you automatically.
If you aren’t already exploring the possibilities of data, then your business is not only missing out - it’s falling behind. Use data wisely and you’ll be able to spot areas of your business that can be automated, streamlined or improved.
How a Managed Service Provider (MSP) Can Help
The tips we’ve covered all take time to implement and consider. They’re top-level processes that can truly drive business growth. However, you might not have time during your busy week to work on the tasks you really want to because you’re always putting out fires.
Whether it’s new user requests or replacing broken hardware, your valuable time can be wasted on daily issues that need your attention. Work with an external partner and these minor problems can be covered by industry experts, giving you the time and resources to focus on strategic work and process building.
Outsourcing your IT solutions can resolve many of the challenges you face on a day-to-day basis. We understand that working with an external partner is a major decision, so we’ve put together a useful eBook that’s free to download using the link below.