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All businesses start small. But those that grow into a big brand share a unique attribute—they outperform their peers on customer experience and continue to perform well even at scale.

When new companies enter the market, they face big sharks. Many do not outlast for more than a few years. Half of all start-ups fail within the first five years in the US. Within the first ten years, over 70% of start-ups fail, according to researchers at Harvard Business School.

The main reason many start-ups fail to scale up is that they could not clearly identify and address their customers’ needs. Many new entrepreneurs imagine themselves as their ideal customer and forget to track the changing patterns in consumer attitudes and behaviors. Here is the list of three challenges for scaling up – we focus on solutions to overcome them.

1. Digital-first approach to overcome the ‘you are scaling up the too fast’ challenge

The first big hurdle an entrepreneur faces, after devoting a lot of time and resources to raise funds to start a business, is when scaling up to bigger markets. Often the business systems and processes are not designed to handle the increased customer engagement with the company. It is one of the few times when more business creates more problems.

More than half of small and medium business owners (57%) in a Salesforce survey said their businesses wouldn’t have survived the pandemic if they did not update their operations. Nine in ten respondents said they moved a portion of their operations online since 2020.

Transforming business processes—procurement, manufacturing, and distribution—alongside the increasing consumer demand would help keep the company at pace with its growth. Small and medium business owners have further accelerated investments in improving sales and customer service technology. These changes will help businesses benefit in the long term.

2. AI for customer service challenge

The consumer is changing, and so should your business. Three in four respondents said their customers expect an ecommerce platform and the ability to shop online in a Salesforce survey of over 2,500 small and medium business owners worldwide. AI and advanced analytics can help you predict your target customers’ intentions better; it can also help you reduce staff burden by performing repetitive tasks.

Customers have warmed up to the idea of AI-assisted self-service; in some instances, they demand it. For many queries and product recommendations, customers now prefer a chatbot over a human to help them.

Industry estimates suggest that 70% of e-commerce shoppers abandon their carts at checkout, with no result for the customer or the business. New tools in the industry, such as virtual shopping assistants, conversational AI chatbots, and cart abandonment tools, are helping companies to get more for their customers’ time.

3. Find the right employees and empower them

One of the top reasons start-ups fail is because they set up the wrong team in the first place. During the growth phase of a company, firms are rapidly making several new hires but not checking their compatibility and ability to share the vision and deliver on it. Employees are the powerhouse of the organization and one of the key challenges to scaling up is finding the right team and empowering them.

Every bad hire loses money and time for a start-up, but it is important also to remember that losing a good hire will make the competitor stronger.

A better interface for your employees to deliver on the collective vision is the key to overcoming this challenge. Different teams in sales, marketing, or service having a unified view of the customer through a better customer relationship management system or CRM helps teams keep on track and share information about a surge in customer demand. They can then alert the CEO, who can put in place the required resources needed for the start-up to scale without hitting other bottlenecks listed above.

Yet another challenge is for the CEO to share responsibility and transform key employees into leaders in their own right. According to Prof. Shikhar Ghosh from the Harvard Business School, “If the founder continues to be the chief problem solver, the people he hires to run—say an operation in a new city—will never become effective leaders. The founder should accept that as you create a new subgroup, there’s a V-curve. You will initially get less efficient. But after the subgroup makes mistakes and learns, it becomes more efficient and reaches a limit. If you intervene, you do worse.”

Final Thoughts

It is people and technology that make the business of scaling up easy or difficult for an entrepreneur. Finding the right ecommerce partner will help you resolve several of these challenges.

Acuity provides everything a brand needs to take its Direct-to-Consumer strategy to the next level. The Acuity ecosystem consists of world-class ecommerce technology, curated digital marketing, and in-depth data analytics. It provides a complete set of solutions that makes online selling globally at scale easy. Get in touch today to discover how Acuity can accelerate your brand’s growth.

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