How to build the infrastructure needed to scale your business

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur the contributors are their own.

Scaling your business may sound like a dream come true. But without the right infrastructure, it can quickly become a real nightmare. Trying to grow when you haven’t put solid building blocks in place is like pitching a tent on quicksand. It won’t be long before you go under, and at that point, getting out might not be an option.

Many companies, especially newer ones, overlook the importance of infrastructure in business Unfortunately, their carelessness can often lead them to fail when trying to gain strength. A 2022 CB Insights study on failed startups revealed the top twelve reasons that can lead to an organization’s demise. Three of those reasons are related to a lack of adequate infrastructure: a flawed business model (19%), a poorly recruited team (14%), and disharmony among stakeholders (7%).

You may want to think of building your infrastructure as if you were planning a vacation. Most vacationers don’t put their families in the car and head off for the week without planning ahead. They create a general roadmap based on your goals, your budget, the number of people, and maybe some very personalized factors, like preferred types of restaurants or accommodations. The roadmap would need to be flexible enough to handle pivots but strong enough to provide ultimate guidance, perhaps with some guardrails.

The same is true for business. When you’ve invested in a framework for scaling, you reward yourself with a greater chance of seeing your business scaling strategy come to fruition. It also makes scaling less stressful because everyone is working towards the same goals instead of moving towards cross purposes.

A solid infrastructure is critical to ultimately seeing the growth and scalability of your business. Keep in mind the following suggestions to build your ideal infrastructure:

Related: Serve your employees with a better infrastructure

1. Make sure you have the right in-house team

It will be challenging for your business to keep growing if you have multiple skill and knowledge gaps in your team. The same is true if your staff is working at full capacity (or beyond) and you don’t plan on bringing in any help. If your employees feel overwhelmed or unprepared as you move forward, you’ll see your opportunities for growth fall apart.

It is imperative to make sure you have the right people who have digital DNA and make sure your term is cross-functional with a high-level understanding of how to serve across functions. For example, a technical person who knows how to build proper functionality on the site and works with the proper tracking tools like pixels and tag manager will drive significantly more beneficial results for the business.

You can begin to gauge the strength of your team by developing two organizational charts. The first should show your organization as it is today, and the second should show how it needs to be for your company to grow. Be sure to choose any location where team members require training to fully participate. Then find out how to provide that training so you can stay competitive during rapid business growth.

A recent Capterra survey indicates that nearly half of all companies surveyed said they were investing more funds in upskilling. Doing the same makes sense because your employees will be able to show the confidence to master scaling, thanks to their education and the reorganization of the company.

Related: 4 Mistakes to Avoid When Expanding Your Infrastructure

2. Refine your marketing machine

If your marketing efforts aren’t producing impressive returns now, they won’t suddenly start doing great just because you scale. You could even end up wasting dollars on poorly designed marketing campaigns that don’t reach the right audiences or provide the data you need. As one study found, around a quarter of all marketing budget funds could end up going down the drain for myriad reasons.

Marketing is a critical component because it sets the stage for you to bring in the leads you need to scale. Without more leads, you can’t grow: case closed. So before you go into growth mode, you need to refine your marketing, from PPC to SEO and all the acronyms in between. Start by determining which marketing tactics are driving the most qualified leads to the top or middle of your sales funnel. You want to hone those tactics, so start testing ways to make them reliably produce leads.

Don’t be afraid to hire a partner to outsource your marketing. Trying to do everything in-house can be expensive and challenging, especially as your marketing gets more complex (hint: you will!). The benefits of a partnership with an agency or provider that understands your business are vast. You’ll have access to expertise, advanced tools, and innovative strategies that you don’t normally have in-house. Even if you have internal marketing, your team may not be familiar with what works best in an ever-changing digital age. By contrast, an agency with multiple clients is often at the forefront of innovation.

Plus, with an agency, you won’t have to rely as heavily on your capex and employees to implement campaigns, track data, create content, or generate and interpret reports. More importantly, a great agency will not only increase your chances of growing successfully, but will also help you achieve your goals faster with less total effort and investment.

3. Make sure your product works

This may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many companies go to great lengths before making sure they’ve addressed glaring defects in the items they sell. Even if you’re in a service industry, you need to make sure all customer-facing experiences, features, assets, and the like are ready for prime time.

Trying to gain traction when you’re not selling something worth buying is pointless and often creates unnecessary friction between buyers and sellers. Nonetheless, companies routinely spend around 20% of their sales revenue on poor quality products that have not been adequately addressed. Not only will your sales and customer support reps end up answering bad calls all the time, but your brand reputation could also take a hit. As part of your infrastructure planning, be honest about any design flaws in your offerings. Then spend time correcting them.

Don’t forget that processes may also need some tweaking. Let’s say your customers constantly complain about your shipping time. Those complaints are not going to evaporate when you get older. Softening them makes a lot of sense, especially during the initial stages of growth.

Related: Going Beyond Startup Mode: 5 Tips for Building a Strong Infrastructure

Climbing might be on your mind in the near future. However, don’t rev the engine yet. Make sure your infrastructure roadmap includes everything you need to make your adventure at scale a complete success.

Leave a Comment