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Business Scalability for SMEs: People & Tech

Business Scalability for SMEs: People & Tech

Preparing your small business for growth? We outline the importance of people & tech for scalability. Plus, learn from Trailblazer GoHenry.

Business Scalability for SMEs Through People and Technology

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) should focus on scalability.

Business scalability involves being able to grow your business sustainably. This is sometimes referred to as ‘meaningful growth’. If a small business isn’t built for scalability, it will always remain small — or struggle when demand increases. Small business growth is only possible if you have the infrastructure to cope with expansion.

Scalability can make the difference between success and failure.

At Salesforce World Tour London, we spoke to GoHenry’s co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Louise Hill, about scalability and the importance of focusing on people while investing in tech.

We’ve included some of Louise’s advice and insights about scalability below.

How understanding patient preferences and habits could reduce backlogs

To grow your business, you need to have a scalable mindset.

Your company should be able to cope with growth without sacrificing profit margins. To achieve meaningful growth, profits should go up while expenses go down. If you need lots of short-term costs (such as extra staff) to cope with an increase in business (i.e. a busy period), it’s unlikely that your business is scalable.

Building for scalability means having the right people and processes needed to adapt and grow.

Louise spoke to us about how she struggled to grow a previous business she ran due to the lack of scalability. In 1998, Louise launched an e-commerce business with a colleague. They ran it for four years, reached a £5 million turnover, and generated profit. But when they were ready to scale, it proved impossible. If one of the co-founders wanted to step away from the day-to-day business to find the investment they needed, the company would fall over. The pair were able to sell the business to a retail group, but it made Louise realise the importance of building from the get-go with growth in mind.

When Louise established GoHenry, she ensured it had enough people power to do what was needed to grow. She also made sure that she had the right tools and partners to help GoHenry expand.

To ensure that your SME is scalable, you need to focus on your people and your technology. It’s not enough to have one or the other. You need both.

Why SMEs Should Focus On People Whilst Investing in Tech

To learn more about how efficiency-boosting tech has made this possible, watch our on-demand Salesforce World Tour London episode, ‘Why SMEs Should Focus On People Whilst Investing in Tech’, on Salesforce+.

Why you should focus on people

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of employees. Your workforce has a significant impact on your ability to scale.

When starting a business, owners often interview candidates themselves. But it’s unsustainable to continue being involved once your company reaches a certain size.

When Louise had to step away from the hiring process, she wanted to ensure her team still recruited the right people. So she created the GoHenry Little Red Book that defined GoHenry’s work principles. This was rolled out throughout the recruitment process and is also used at every customer touchpoint. It means staff make every hiring decision with these ways of working in mind. And once the new employees are part of GoHenry, they know how to enact these principles when dealing with customers.

GoHenry’s people are also told not to be afraid of failure. Creativity, independence and a daring attitude are all encouraged. And this is only made possible by GoHenry’s people-focused work principles and employees having the right tools to work.

Values create value. GoHenry shows the importance of this for scalability.

Focusing on people also means that you need to keep your customers front of mind… No matter how small or big your business is, you must give your customers excellent experiences. And the right tech can help you offer this — every time.

The importance of investing in tech

While a business may start small, it should begin with a scalable mindset — and the technology that matches. The choice of technology in small businesses can determine whether they are able to expand or not.

As Louise says, “If you want your business to go big, then build for scale from day one. And that means the technology that you choose, the partners that you partner with, and the people that you hire.”

The right technology can help your business to scale in various ways, including:

  • Enabling your teams to work from anywhere — Hybrid working is here to stay. The right technology can help you attract and keep the best talent. You can hire from a bigger pool when your staff can work from anywhere. Plus, it helps your colleagues collaborate. Even if you do all work in the same location, you should still consider setting up your digital HQ. That way, you’re ready to scale as your team grows. And it will help you easily adjust to any unexpected remote working.
  • Consistently training your employees — Digitising your training processes ensures that each employee is onboarded in the same way. Efficient training can help you move your business forward as everyone is aligned to the same goals and ready to grow.
  • Getting ready for online, global markets — If you’re selling goods, you need technology to sell your products online. As a small business, you may initially rely on a third-party platform to generate online sales. But this may not be scalable. Having your own website and tools to track your inventory can help you as you grow.
  • Building better connections with customers — With the right technology, you can collect relevant customer data from the first interaction. A scalable customer relationship management (CRM) system can help you track all touchpoints throughout every customer journey. And with a complete view of each customer, you can make better business decisions and provide more personalisation and better service.

Scalable technology is critical for growth. While you must select tools that suit you as a small business initially, you should also consider how they can adapt as you grow.

Learn how GoHenry has scaled its business by focusing on people and tech

GoHenry prides itself on handling scale while keeping its customers and employees happy. To learn more about how efficiency-boosting tech has made this possible, watch our on-demand Salesforce World Tour London episode, ‘Why SMEs Should Focus On People Whilst Investing in Tech’, on Salesforce+.

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