SINGAPORE, THURSDAY 25 JANUARY 2018 – Of all the many buzzwords that surround us entrepreneurs, scalability is among the most popular. Many business gurus and industry captains have lectured long and loud about the need to build scalability into your venture. The most-oft cited reason: so that you can expand your business operations upon demand.
However, there is another powerful benefit that scalability confers to any business, including yours. And it has something to do with the reputation of your brand. Needless to say, we are all cognizant of the need to build a fantastic brand – that’s part of why we are in business. Plus, we all know well the power of a carefully curated and maintained brand.
Every business knows the importance of brand-building, but does your team realise the power of scalability in driving brand reputation?
Three Drivers of Brand Reputation
When it comes to brand reputation, we need to consider three very basic, yet very important things. For a start, establishing a brand is expensive, both time and money wise. At every stage of a start-up’s growth, brand reputation needs to be carefully groomed and maintained. During this process, the importance of sufficient and timely fund injections from suitable investors cannot be overstated.
Next, a brand is only as good as its ability to satisfy their customers needs. In fact, it can be said that the purpose of every business is to meet demand and fulfil expectations. Yet, as we’ve often seen, brands that fail to satisfy once too often quickly lose market share. Worse, their reputation takes a beating that can extremely difficult (if not impossible) to recover from.
Thirdly, being internationally known (even if you primarily operate in your home territory) is no longer just a luxury. It is an important requirement in a world where your next fastest-growing, most profitable segment could exist across the border.
By directly enabling these three key drivers (investor funding, customer satisfaction, worldwide presence), scalability is crucial in powering the reputation and strength of your brand. Let’s take a closer look at how this works.
Scalability Attracts Investors
Most ventures wait till they have gathered sufficient investor backing before they begin to scale. But doing so may mean leaving their operations incorrectly sized to market demands, which in turn presents the risk of lost business opportunities.
However, building scalability into the foundations of your business means your operations are ready to expand once conditions are right. More importantly, designing your business to be scalable can put you on the radar of more investors, and accelerate the all-important fundraising stage (which, in turn, confers many advantages and benefits).
When a new business is searching for the right product-market fit, the need for investor dollars becomes the most dire. Yet many entrepreneurs find themselves bogged down fighting for their company’s survival when they should be out wooing investor dollars.
They’re basically saying, “Look, I have something here with the potential of making it big. But I need your funds to expand my operations, before everything goes up in smoke!”
Now, imagine how different the conversation would be with scalability built into your business. An entrepreneur with a ready-to-scale business can more clearly enunciate where investor funds will be going, and what results are to be delivered. “My business is ready to catch fire and make it big. All I need is your funding to jump-start the bonfire,” you’d say. Now, wouldn’t this be the conversation you’d rather have?
More importantly, with the right investors on board, you and your team is now ready to take your business to the next level, and grow your brand and it’s reputation.
Scalability Lets You Keep Up With the Market
Whether because of seasonality, unexpected developments, or even tangentially related trends, businesses will experience some degree of fluctuation in the level of orders received. This is to be expected, and entrepreneurs should have a plan ready to make the best of the situation.
Sometimes, businesses catch a lucky break – the sector they are serving suddenly explodes with demand. But this is only fortunate if you are able to capitalise on the opportunity and boost sales turnover.
No matter the status of the market, brands that are best able to fulfil customer demand will emerge the winner. Consistently delivering goods and services that satisfy customer needs will result in increased customer trust, higher market share, and heightened return visits. This will, in turn, boost the visibility, trustworthiness and value of your brand – important and invaluable metrics of brand reputation.
Recognise that this is only possible if your operations are correctly sized for the prevailing market conditions. Your company needs to be nimble enough to scale up or down in tandem with the latest developments. Achieving this level of scalability will position your business as a market leader, while powerfully driving your brand reputation.
Scalability Allows Your Business to Go Where it Needs
To be truly successful, your brand should not only be well-known in it’s own sector, it also needs to be recognised outside of it. This is not a call for unkempt ambition – is it simply the reality of our increasingly connected world, one in which your ideal market could emerge in an unexpected part of the world.
Having a scalable business means you are free to set up shop wherever demand is present. Scalability allows you to size up or duplicate operations to tackle a new market as needed. And, if necessary, a scalable business can also adjust to keep pace with the ebb and flow of market trends.
Successfully entering and flourishing in markets overseas – especially unanticipated ones – will drive the reputation of your brand, garnering acclaim in the eyes of both customers and competitors. With scalability providing the mobility for your business to go where it needs to go, your brand can – and will – join the ranks of the world’s movers and shakers.