Growth is always a good thing, right? When a company scales and grows, it means there is demand for their product and they have the resources to expand. However, expansion doesn’t always mean new facilities and hiring more employees. Sometimes it can (and should) come in the form of scaled technology capabilities.
Do you view technology as an investment, or just a cost of doing business? This mindset can shift your business strategy and significantly impact your business. Looking at technology as a “necessary evil” is a dated mindset that has long-term implications on your business success. When your mindset changes to consider why people use technology and what is the strategic value of your technology, your business strategy changes too.
However, if you haven’t considered the possibility of using technology to scale your business, this may be the mindset you’re unknowingly using to run your company, and you could be stuck in an early and unproductive stage of IT maturity. When it comes to scaling your company, you can do it by adding people to overcome inefficient or labor-intensive processes, or you can go in a different direction: Scale with technology to invest in automation and agility, and empower your current staff to be more productive and efficient.
Benefits of Scaling with Technology
Why should you scale with technology rather than just bring on more people?
- Avoid JIT hires: Scaling with your tech will reduce the need to urgently hire and backfill positions, reducing the risk of hiring people who don’t really fit with your company culture. This will also prevent the personnel disruption that can increase turnover and decrease productivity for the team. When you are able to hire more selectively, you can hire for the team you have.
- Increased productivity: New technology will introduce improved processes that can be leveraged consistently across the entire team by simplifying workflows, removing process steps, eliminating redundancies, and more. The gains that your revised processes introduce may seem small, but if every person on a 10-person team saves 30 minutes a day, that accumulates to 25 hours per week!
- Ability to scale faster: Improved process flows will also synergize with future scaling efforts. Bottlenecks that once hindered growth are now eliminated with better IT. Focusing on scaling IT rather than personnel means you’ll have a lean team that can more easily adapt and tackle new opportunities. You’ll also be able to take on new business opportunities faster, without the need to delay that new revenue stream until you have new team members in place — instead, your tech can handle it for you.
- Increased quality and client satisfaction: Better technology will provide automation and other capabilities that will eliminate or streamline manual processes, lowering the risk of human error and providing better quality and customer service.
- New intellectual property: You can also take advantage of your new capabilities by using them to create and monetize IP, using your customized technology solutions to further differentiate your business.
- Competitive advantage: Improving your tech capabilities will make your organization more agile, foster a healthier balance sheet, free up more resources to invest elsewhere, and better position you to weather economic downturns. In fact, this could even allow you to take advantage of new opportunities during a downturn rather than sticking with the status quo or losing money!
- Increased profit margin: All of the above factors contribute to an increased profit margin, but from a financial point of view, scaling through technology leads to lower costs and overhead — and this is in addition to the profit margins you’ll see as your business expands and revenue grows. Not to mention, integrating new tech capabilities will almost certainly cost less in the long run than hiring, training and paying more employees.
What Does Scaling with Technology Look Like?
There is no single way to scale with technology. Here are just a few areas you can grow and expand in your tech capabilities without needing to hire more staff:
- Infrastructure: Scale your infrastructure to accommodate more traffic, improve your hardware, increase uptime and reliability, and increase the speed of operations.
- New apps: Implement new applications in your business that will increase productivity and efficiency while also making operations more consistent across the board. Focus on process elimination, simplification or automation (in that order preferably).
- VPN and remote access: Establish VPN capabilities and roll out remote access policies so your team can be just as productive no matter how far from the office they are.
- Internet-of-Things: Look at ways to (securely!) integrate IoT-connected devices in your business processes. You can discover a lot of synergy between apps and devices that will increase your capabilities and speed up operations.
Change Your Frame of Mind
We’ve just reviewed some huge benefits of scaling with technology, and hopefully it has shown you the importance of adapting your mindset around technology — your tech is not just a means to accomplish day-to-day tasks — it is a dynamic and evolving aspect of your business and your strategic goals, and it must be treated as such! Scaling through technology introduces many benefits and should be considered a highly viable alternative to scaling with personnel. Once you understand that your technology strategy is a vital part of your overall business strategy, you can unlock its full potential and experience growth in a totally new way.