How To Create A Startup That Will Scale To Enterprise-Level
Not all businesses are destined to reach great heights or achieve incredible things. Plenty of startups will settle into modest niches and stay there in perpetuity, and that’s absolutely fine, because not everyone aspires to more — if all you want from your business is a stable income and a mild workload that doesn’t cause you undue stress, then that’s what you should aim for.
But some people just aren’t content with settling for a modest success. They want to keep making their companies bigger and better: expanding what they do, reaching new markets, and cultivating global brand recognition. They’re willing to risk everything in pursuit of excellence, and won’t let anything hold them back from achieving their dreams.
If you fall into that second group, and your goal is to launch a company that you can grow into something truly enterprise-scale, then you face a difficult task and need to plan accordingly. To help you on your path, here are some core tips for making a startup that’s impressively scalable:
Choose a niche with huge room for growth
You may already have an idea in mind for your startup, but consider that not every idea is viable at an enterprise level, and running with a concept that only has a small market will end up requiring you to drastically pivot while trying to grow — not a good arrangement. Before even coming up with a name for your startup, then, you must ensure that your basic business concept has an enormous amount of room in which to get bigger when the time comes.
Note that it’s alright to start with a specific target, provided you can diversify at some point. For example, you could create your startup as a drone seller (drones are popular at the moment) with the idea of ultimately expanding to sell other tech products. Don’t handicap yourself by putting all your eggs in a small basket — pay attention to trends and choose something great. (WordStream has a free niche keyword finder).
Select an online platform that can scale with you
Once you’ve picked out an idea that you can take all the way to the enterprise level, you need a platform that can grow just as quickly. If you don’t have one, you run the risk of growing too quickly and suddenly finding that you can’t meet demand. What type of platform you’ll need will depend on the nature of your business.
If you don’t intend to sell online, just promote your business and take queries, then you can keep things basic and invest mainly in an appealing design and strong hosting. Despite a handful of concerns, WordPress is perfectly suitable: find a good theme, pair it with a suitable host, and you’ll have everything you need to handle enterprise traffic (Pagely’s dedicated enterprise hosting is a solid option).
If you do intend to sell online, then you need to be a lot more choosy about your platform. Ecommerce is a demanding process, and having a site go down when it’s packed with potential customers is a great way to ruin a reputation. Shopify’s enterprise-ready Plus ecommerce service is a popular choice, offering top performance, a range of industry-leading features, and exceptional customer support — but it isn’t the only leading contender. Do some research, compare some feature sets, and make the choice that’s best for you.
Work on streamlined processes
When you’re just starting out with a business, you can afford to do various things quite inefficiently. For instance, you can spend several days creating a company brochure that a graphic designer could have finished in a couple of hours. At enterprise level, though, that kind of sloppy work will be your downfall, losing time and resources that you can’t afford to lose.
As early as you can, then, you need to get your primary processes optimized and documented very clearly. When the time comes to scale, you’ll know roughly how long it takes to get a task done, and be able to allocate resources accordingly, safe in the knowledge that you’re not wasting them. This is also important for handling staff turnover, because documented processes will help you get new hires working effectively a lot more quickly.
Invest in hiring exceptional candidates
You might think that hiring is something you can do as and when necessary. As soon as your operation is ready to move up to the enterprise level, you can source candidates and hire suitable employees — but that’s far from the optimal way to proceed. Not only will said candidates likely be expensive and demanding, but there’s also no guarantee that you’ll be able to find enough of them at short notice to cover your needs.
Instead, you must make a priority of finding great candidates in the early days of your startup. Find people with potential, people who are committed to continued learning, and forge them into a team. Over time, their skills will develop, and they’ll become better at cooperating. By the time you reach the enterprise stage, your business will fundamentally be backed by a team that’s high-quality, reliable, and comparatively low-cost.
There are no guarantees in business (you can do everything well and never catch any breaks), but you do have a lot of control over your direction. If you follow these tips while building up your startup, you’ll have an excellent chance of moving steadily towards your goal — so see how far you can go.