Many companies that have their eyes on unicorn status first have humble beginnings. When launching your product or scaling your business, building the team is just as important as bringing your service or brand to market. I’ve seen firsthand what it’s like to grow a team from a handful of passionate visionaries to over 30 employees across three countries.
Stay true to your roots
A Dublin-based company, we stayed true to our roots by building out our product and engineering team there. Rather than uproot the company and move away from Dublin, we embraced the talent that Ireland had to offer, and are now up to 24 employees in HQ. Many companies, like their products, chase trends when it comes to being in the perfect place to find talent. For us, we’ve found that Ireland is one of the best places to help us achieve that.
Some call it a niche, others call it product market fit
Once companies put their flags in the ground and declare the greatness of their product, there’s a race to validating that pain you solve in the market. Some of the best startups I’ve met and advised met early and often about the immediate impact their product or service would have on customers. It’s important to build a vision, and show investors where your brand will head in the next 5 to 10 years, but it’s even more importantly to understand how what you do today, will get you there.
Know when you need capital and why
Raising capital can be exciting, but it needs to be grounded in pragmatic decision making. Many startups raise a seed round until they can find product market fit, followed by an A round of funding that helps facilitate that growth, build out the team and establish the next phase of expansion.
Be strategic about expansion
Talent lives in different nooks and crannies. When considering the company’s expansion plans, it’s important to understand how the team will grow. Will the first half of the year be spent establishing a go-to-market presence? Or will you continue to invest in the teams you have in HQ?
For us, we knew that great sales and marketing folks lived in the states, and in terms of accessibility to the Dublin team, Boston was where we landed. Sometimes, though, you end up building a team around a strategic hire. When the former head of text-to-speech at Google joined our team, we decided to grow out our R&D efforts in Edinburgh where he lived, to take advantage of his expertise and the local talent in Scotland.
Invest in the team
Growing a business is about a group of people coming together to help achieve a vision of how your product or service will make an immense impact on the market. It’s no small feat. But if you’re like me and are involved in the operations side of things, it’s important to keep your ears to the ground, understand the morale and energy of the team, and where there are opportunities to invest further in a company that truly has a chance to make a difference.
Frequently Asked Questions About Scaling A Business
What does it mean to scale up an investment?
It’s a company that has achieved a lot, had some impressive success and is ready to take it to the next level. If a company is raising investment to fund their growth, they will generally move into scaleup territory when they have been through their first rounds of funding, and reached the Series A stage or similar.
What is a scaling strategy?
Growth means adding resources at the same rate that you’re adding revenue. … Scaling growth is about creating business models and designing your organization in a way that easily scales in order to generate consistent revenue growth and avoid stall-points without adding a ton of extra cost and/or resources along the way.
How long does it take to scale a business?
I get asked this question a lot. The short answer is it takes at least 4 years just to get pointed toward a real business, and I’d argue it takes 7-10 years to make your startup truly the success that you had in mind when that idea came to you.
How do you scale up a product?
- Make sure your core product line reaches “market fit”.
- Find out your largest core users.
- Find out the marketing channels with the biggest ROI and scaling potential by testing with smaller budgets first.
- Make sure you have the resources to scale.
How do companies scale?
According to this article in Fortune, companies scale their business when their revenue increases while their operating costs remain low. If a company increases their revenue but increases their costs at the same rate, then that business is not scaling.