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Wiley & Mathews

Is it time to scale up your startup?

Scaling up your business means taking steps to expand your production or reach. It sets the groundwork so that your startup can comfortably (and profitably) start to grow beyond its original boundaries by adding in things like outside funding, new employees, better technology and process and sometimes, new business partners.

How do you know when your little startup is ready to scale? You may have begun your business in a home kitchen or started development for your technological dream in an old building you rented from a friend, and quarters may be getting a bit close for effective production. But that's not the only sign that it's time to scale up. Here are some others:

1. You find yourself turning down business

If you can't handle all of the business that's coming through your door, that's a sure sign that you've already outgrown your current system of operations.

2. You are setting high goals and meeting them

When it starts to get "too easy" to reach your monthly or quarterly goals for your business and they weren't set that low in the first place, it's time to think bigger.

3. You have a strong concept that translates to a broader market

If your product or service has a very niche market or you think the interest you're seeing is likely unsustainable, don't scale. If you think that you have a product, line, service or concept that will transcend the local boundaries and you have a real foundation for something larger, then scale up.

4. You feel like it's time

You know your business better than anybody. While there's always a risk to pursuing your dreams, the instincts that led you to start your business may also be telling you that it's time to expand. If the money is there, do it.

When you're scaling up your startup, make sure that you bring in the appropriate legal counsel to make sure that you have the correct business structure, employment policies and contracts. That will help make your transition from startup to full-fledged business easier.

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