Scaling Your Business: Navigating the Challenges of Growth

23 January 2023
Paul McGillivray

As your business grows, the number of lines of communication multiplies - you need more coordination between your team members and your clients; there are more moving parts to your projects and more admin to cover it all.

The demands of increased operations, maintaining quality control, and keeping track of performance metrics can be too hard to fit in and can often fall by the wayside.

Entrepreneur Daniel Priestley observed that once a business hits around £5m in revenue, with 20 or so team members, the systems that had previously served the company will start to present problems. My experience has proven this to be true over and over again.

I work with companies to build software systems that optimise business workflow. I've worked with countless companies navigating the challenges of scaling.

I’ve seen how unmaintained or unevolved systems can impact teams. The biggest problem is too many disconnected third-party systems, which leads to copying and pasting duplicate data between systems. There’s often no oversight on the status of projects or orders and no performance indicators.

What worked with five people can be a mess with even 10, let alone 20 or 30.

Working without a streamlined, transparent workflow can lead to increased stress, inefficiency, and decreased customer satisfaction. Lack of communication among teams and with customers can also lead to lower productivity, general anxiety, and overwhelm. You all end up working way harder than you need to be working. When scaling, hard work is unavoidable and not necessarily a bad thing. Ideally, you want that hard work leveraged to produce tangible and measurable results. You don’t want to be running to stay in the same place.

Business leaders may lack expertise in technology, making it hard for them to know where to begin when implementing business systems. SaaS platforms like Trello, Monday and Airtable are popular because they offer flexible, ready-to-use solutions. 

However, these systems have limitations and may only meet some of the needs of the business. As a result, companies may end up using multiple systems. This can lead to an unwieldy, complex setup that feels like it's held together with sticky tape.

Software solutions alone won’t solve all the problems you encounter while you scale. But the right system, built from a place of understanding your business workflow, your company culture, and the way you need things done can transform your ability to make a difference.

But it’s not a straightforward process and takes an experienced architect to design a framework that produces a solid system that will support you as you grow. That's why it's crucial to seek expert guidance and support from a good development studio to help you navigate the process.

Many of our clients come to us with horror stories about working with software agencies. They put together a brief and handed it over, but the result wasn’t what they wanted or needed. Often, the systems couldn't do the essential tasks they were built for.

Doing this stuff without guidance is a minefield. Working in collaboration with an experienced studio will save money and ensure you get the best results.

At Remote we run Clarity workshops at the start of a project, mapping the flow of data across all lines of communication. We then design the optimum pathways and processes for that workflow, removing steps and creating greater visibility.

What does that look like? Imagine a dashboard that shows all the important stats for your projects. A customer portal that keeps them in the loop about their orders, a sales portal to ensure nothing falls through the cracks and a workflow system that lets you manage every aspect of a project or order with ease. Imagine a system like that integrating with other systems like accounting and mailing lists and even sending essential emails to keep your clients up to date.

A custom system can streamline and automate repetitive tasks, improve customer satisfaction by allowing the business to respond to customer needs more quickly and effectively, and improve team communication. This results in a more productive and efficient workflow and a happier and less stressful working environment. Those attributes naturally lead to more growth and attract the best talent.

Scaling is hard. It needs a solid strategy and the ability to make bold moves and respond to issues arising from customers and your team. Upgrading your systems before you go full throttle on scaling will allow you to grow into the right system seamlessly, rather than being forced to upgrade when the old systems fail and you’re already under pressure.

Pay attention to warning signs like missed deadlines, poor communication, reduced profits, and manual data entry duplication. If you notice these issues and think they might get worse, call me; we can discover whether a custom system is what you need to take your business to the next level.

Paul McGillivray

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