A Beginner’s Guide to Scaling a Business

As we move into the back half of 2022, businesses face continuously changing market trends. While this may present uncertainty, it also means there’s an opportunity to be proactive, rather than reactive or stagnant.

Driving business growth amid changing market conditions is a challenge, but successful business leaders will manage these ever-changing factors and use them to fuel future success. Part of that involves understanding how to grow a business in a sustainable way, even in the face of complex external market forces and transitioning internal organizational factors.

Whether you’re scaling a service business or scaling an ecommerce business, it’s possible to expand your brand to a global or multi-brand level — and do it in a way that is sustainable for the long-term. Here is what you need to know to take those first steps forward.

What does scaling your business mean?

Scaling your business is setting your business up for exponential growth. With the right technology, people, and processes in place, a business can grow more efficiently and with greater consistency. Its growth won’t be slowed down by its structure or available resources.

Do businesses have to be scalable? The answer: it depends. But for more businesses, growth is a goal, and with growth often comes the need for an infrastructure that can easily scale. A scalable business means your technology, team, and processes are built in a way that they can expand, replicate, and evolve — without having to significantly overhaul them to move to the next level.

Your business may look to grow across business units, regions, or multiple brands. For many global, multi-region companies, the goal is to create one common brand experience that can easily be rolled out worldwide. Similarly, a multi-brand or multi-business unit organization needs to create one common brand experience that can easily be rolled out across business units or brands. This consistency makes it possible to offer an engaging customer experience and optimize internal operations.

One of our own scaling business examples involves a large-scale, multi-language, multi-region rollout with Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). With Avionos’s expertise, this global brand scaled its digital experience, launching 48 country sites in 16 months with global branding and local, personalized content. The result? 100% increase in lead generation, 75% increase in purchase orders, and 40% decrease in bounce rate.

What are the biggest challenges in scaling a business?

Fortune 500 organizations face increasingly global and regional digital complexity. They’re tying technology stacks together following an acquisition, reorienting business units or brands under one corporate digital strategy, or ensuring regional businesses experience economies of scale when implementing a core corporate technology.

Generally, scaling a business can be difficult when your technology, people, and processes are not built for growth. What does this look like? Unfortunately, oftentimes, even the most sophisticated organizations have technology inconsistencies that hinder global operating efficiency and stall great customer experiences. 

They may also face a lack of internal alignment or leadership that is implementing change for the sake of change, rather than strategically. Technology and processes may suffer from a patchwork of short-term solutions, rather than long-term ones.

More specifically, businesses working toward a global rollout often encounter these challenges:

  • Siloed content, which makes it hard to deliver consistent, personalized omnichannel experiences at scale 
  • Duplicated and disparate systems and processes, causing inefficiencies and integration challenges. 
  • Poor engagement or lagging digital adoption of digital experiences and customer attrition. 
  • Slow time to market and high total cost of ownership

Multi-brand or multi-business unit organizations face slightly different challenges:

  • Difficulty moving out of ‘pilot’ modes with experience optimization and personalization to drive scale due to a lack of team bandwidth, skills, or automation 
  • Siloed data, which makes it difficult to draw insights and activate it into personalized experiences 
  • Disparate data sources with multiple customer identifiers, which limits the ability to stitch together profiles and can impact customer data privacy and regulations 
  • A lack of centralized content 
  • A lack of decisioning model for powering ‘next best actions’ at scale

Addressing these challenges upfront will help your business put those long-term solutions in place and create a future-focused scaling business model.

What are the essential keys to building scalable businesses?

Scaling a business can be complex — but when you focus on the right areas, everything happens with more ease and greater success. Here are three keys to direct you down the right path:

  1. Stay aware of market changes and use them to shape your strategy

A business scaling strategy has to take into account both the present and the future. It has to be dynamic. This means business leaders need to look at all the opportunities and threats, across external market trends and internal organizational factors, and then map out strategies that allow for multiple possibilities. It’s about remaining agile.

Rather than become paralyzed by the uncertainty and overwhelmed by the challenges, use those to anticipate changes and shape your long-term strategy. Where do you want to go, what are the different ways to get there, and who will help make it happen? Map out paths that can stand up to uncertainty and evolve as your business grows.

The key is to make a playbook for how your business will execute a digital strategy and implement technology that creates change. Active rather than passive. Proactive rather than reactive. 

  1. Build a 360-degree view of your customer

88% of business leaders say it is very important to the future success of their business to have a complete and consistent view of their customers across channels and platforms. Especially when experiencing so many external market changes, businesses have to keep a pulse on changing customer needs and expectations — now and as they continue to scale.

To achieve a holistic view of the customer, organizations must choose their technology wisely and ensure that it’s connected seamlessly. Technology can provide real-time insights into who the customer is, what they want, and how they behave.

  1. Invest in technology to respond to changing customer needs

Streamlining data and content – and ensuring consistency across multiple brands or business units – allows you to better understand your customer, optimize their experience, and personalize each journey at scale. Integrated technology is the key to making it possible.

Consolidating digital resources into one central system can help accelerate omni-channel, global rollouts. Perhaps you need to consolidate your CMS, bring together separate use cases, or rollout departmental or geo-specific solutions. In other instances, you may need logged-in or authenticated experiences for your dealer or customer portals and employee intranets. Having one location to accommodate separate needs across business units can help your organization operate more efficiently.

If you’re a mature, global organization, you likely have already invested in an enterprise platform to offer unique, omni-channel experiences. The next step is to mature beyond a B2B marketing lead generation site to offer true personalization.

How to prepare your business for success

Preparing a business for long-term success calls for strong leadership. While scaling a business can feel intimidating or risky, today’s landscape is one that requires continuous evolution. 

Business leaders need to be willing to innovate and evolve, embrace opportunities, and invest in technology, while remaining rooted in strategy, alignment, and consistency. To be competitive in today’s changing market, staying stagnant — or playing it “safe” — is not an option.

Ready to scale your business? Contact an Avionos digital transformation team member or download our “Continuous Evolution: The New Normal” white paper.

Connect With Me

Mousumi Behari

Mousumi Behari leads the Digital Strategy practice at Avionos. With extensive experience in ecommerce strategy and implementation in both the B2B and B2C space, she is focused on helping retailers enable their digital journey through prioritized, data driven decisions. Mousumi focuses on helping businesses define their strategic goals, build the right KPI model to measure those goals, mature business capabilities and finally ensure the adoption and engagement of technology for a successful project. Mousumi has written and been quoted in several articles on digital transformation, including in YahooModern Retail, and Business Insider. Connect with Mousumi on LinkedIn here.
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