Scale your software business to achieve stability
How many times have you heard the phrase: „Enjoy your success and don’t risk too much?” If you agree with this statement, then your software business is not going to flourish much in a long-term perspective. Many IT companies fail to embrace new challenges and that’s how their competitors scale faster. Big multinational corporations started with a rather simple idea, courageous people behind it and a straightforward action plan. Was risk involved in the equation? Probably tons of it. Did it stop people from turning their bravest ideas into reality? No. In this article, we will look at how steadily scaling your software business, will lead not only to greater long-term results, but will also make your brand name recognizable and valued on the market.
To scale your software business, means to grow as a whole
Growth is defined by many variables. If you want to grow in numbers, start selling more, or increase your prices. If you want to grow in number of employees, position yourself as an attractive IT employer. If you want to build more partnerships, start selling your partners the software solutions they need and offer transparency. All these statements are in a direct correlation, where one thing depends on the other and vice versa. Ideally you should strive to scale-up you software company as a whole. Let’s look at how to do this step by step.
Scale your knowledge, know your target market.
In a fast-changing environment, relying only on already tested core competencies is wasting your potential for greater causes. Ongoing trends in the IT sphere (Artificial Intelligence, Virtual reality, Process Automation, GDPR) have driven the demand for innovation even more. Software Businesses are not what they used to be – they are constantly trying to expand their areas of operation to increase market share, satisfy customer demand and land-in new strategic partnerships. Failing to sense and embrace the shifting tendencies in IT will not only result in financial losses, but can crush you very quickly.
Before offering a software solution to a potential client, do some initial research about his business. Who are they? What are their goals? Are they accomplishing them? Look at this from a customer perspective, if you were their target market would you be satisfied? If you can’t get into their shoes, read their opinions on blogs. Only then will you know whether you can offer a viable software solution, which will add value to their business. Nowadays, the Internet offers a variety of online resources, to help you cope with this. Someone else offers a better solution? Great! Go to your team and discuss it, find its loopholes and prove you can make it even better, even with a small change. Nothing will drive more passion in your partner than a more successful competitor. Before you offer a software solution, make sure you and the team are aligned with the vision on how this should go. Play some scenarios and foresee any potential bumps, which may appear on the way. Then go and show people why they should choose you, instead of any other IT partner. Being able to differentiate from all others is key here. That is how you scale your list of partnerships.
Don’t rely on clients coming to you, take the proactive approach and go tell them how and why should they want you as a partner.
Scale your team, give them wings
What is your biggest asset? People. Can you scale your software business, without your people? No. How can you find the right people and keep them? There is no straightforward answer here. What IT companies fail to understand is that people have different interests and if someone finds project X as interesting, someone else may find it rather boring. This is not a new issue. Companies have been struggling to deal with this for a long time now. Get to know your team. Go and speak to them, only then you will be able to find out how they see the potential growth of the business. Before you take a final offer to the client, speak face-to-face with each team member and get to know how he feels about it. If the spark is missing, fire it up. Talk to your peers, explain why is this project important, what value will it add to both the company and most importantly: How will it contribute to their professional growth? People rarely recognize a cause as their own, if they don’t see what’s in it for them.
Great ideas can come from anywhere. Give your team a chance to become part of the creative process. Let them have the ability to express their opinion freely and share their ideas for innovation in software. The next blockbuster may be hiding behind the corner. Maybe someone from your teammates will sense it and have an idea of how to bring it to life. If you don’t let people to share, the loss will be yours. Working on something that you have envisioned is always the best fuel for motivation.
Hosting internal challenges is a great way to do this. See what’s hot and trendy in the IT sphere and organize a competition. Give the winner a chance to actually put his innovative software solution on the market.
Scaling your business means scaling every part of it. People are key in the equation.
Make your company mission, theirs
Employees would only recognize themselves in your company’s mission and vision only if they fully understand it. A mission statement defines the purpose of your software business’ existence and how it can add value to other businesses as well. It explains who you are. Customers will find it hard to love your company and the IT solutions it offers, if your team fails to do so. Using vague words to build a mission statement, will lead you in the wrong direction. Make a clear message, which will communicate your brand identity in a concise manner.
Building a relevant mission statement is hard, following it consistently – even harder. If you really want your business to scale and flourish, make sure to communicate not only the achievements, but also the mistakes and lessons learned. Share your strategy for growth with teammates, set the milestones, explain why are you going in this direction, how will people benefit from this, how can they help.
Make your company mission theirs.
Scale through innovation and process automation
Let’s face it – most of the repetitive administrative tasks are boring. They may take a lot of time and energy, which you can channel to other more challenging things. Using automation-powered technologies can help you handle the routine business processes, make your business run more efficiently, reducing operational costs, thus improving productivity. But how will this help you scale your software company? Skilled employees won’t spend too much time on dealing with tedious tasks. They will have the freedom to be creative, work on more meaningful and challenging things, using top-notch technologies, which will add more value to your business. Combine intelligent automation with a motivated workforce and your company will start to scale sooner than you think.
Use ESOP to scale your IT business ASAP
Need support when growing your software company? Motivate your peers to work on it harder by introducing the ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan). The provided shares can be put in a trust fund until the employee retires or resigns from the company. Once an employee retires or resigns, all his shares are given back to the company for further relocation or are voided.
Announcing such a plan will make people owners of a small part of the company. Studies show that ESOP companies, especially technology ones, boost their levels of productivity and profits quicker than equivalent non-ESOP companies, because everyone is an owner. Even one tenth of a tenth will bring-in the feeling of shared responsibility, which will further align employees with the long-term strategic goals of the business. Stakeholders, shareholders and C-level managers decide upon how many shares to distribute, based on employees’ individual contribution and overall performance. Such plans motivate teammates and secure your shares, if someone decides to leave.
Scalability will bring your software business stability
Start scaling your business now to make it more stable in the future. By scaling we mean growing steadily and sustainably. Embrace innovation, constantly search for new opportunities, monitor your competitors, be up-to-date with all trends, know your target audience and sense their needs even before they do. This may sound as a cliché, but it’s the only path to long-term success not only in the IT sphere, but in every sector. Many companies, who relied on core competencies and failed to be proactive filled-in for bankruptcy.
Startups, which later turned into sustainable businesses, are a brilliant example of how scalability leads to stability. Now stop for a minute and think about the most recognizable brands in the world: SpaceX, Google, Apple. How are they doing it? By constantly experimenting with new technolgies, trying to solve customer problems or social challenges. Their main drivers – passion and adventurous spirit. Swallowed in the everyday routines, business people forget what made them start their company in the first place. Were you thinking of how to stay in your comfort zone or were you ready to risk it all just to turn a dream into reality? Probably it’s the second one. Keep this spirit while running and scaling your software business further.
How we managed to scale our business within 6 years?
ScaleFocus is unique because of its people. It is the feeling of mutual responsibility, which drives the company up. Everything started with an idea: to bring the world of technology to a new level. Slowly, but gradually it started happening. All employees are treated as equals and that is what brings-in the best motivation you can ever get. Managers communicate and advise with peers on their vision, they accept every viewpoint. All awards, new offices, many partnerships and growing talent pool are the living proof of this. Our software solutions give partners the ability to focus on their core business, whereas we improve their existing systems, using latest technologies.
“I have seen the falls and successes of many software companies. Each step in the journey is an opportunity to learn and grow. ScaleFocus was born on the basis of many lessons learnt and this is how we had a better start. ScaleFocus was created to truly bring IT excellence to the next level, which combines transparency, respect, open communication and trust to revolutionize the industry. So far, I am proud to say we have been doing great. Yes, we made our mistakes, but always trying to learn and be better.”
Lyubomira Mihaylova, Managing Director ScaleFocus UK
What inspires us to keep going forward and continue scaling the company are our happy clients and satisfied peers. At ScaleFocus, we strive to build strong long-term relationships with partners, who can rely on us for consultation, process transformation and business process optimization. Teammates help each other grow and succeed. That is how we have been scaling our software company for the past 6 years and we intend to continue this tendency for all upcoming ones. We scale together with our peers, partners and followers. We advise you to do the same.