Top Tips for Scaling Your Business: Gems of Wisdom From Successful Female Entrepreneurs

As the fabulous The NextWomen DWEN Interview Series draws near its close, we'll be bringing you some of our favourite gems of wisdom from the series, focusing on certain key subjects. This week's hot topic is: how to scale your business.

"My advice to entrepreneurs for growing their business is make sure you are building something that someone wants.  It sounds simple but you would be surprised at how many products I see where there is no market need/ want.  

"My second piece of advice is to surround yourself with the brightest, most committed people you can find to advance your business.  There is no substitute for smarts and passion".

Myrtle Potter, Founder & CEO, Myrtle Potter & Company, LLC & Myrtle Potter Media, Inc.

My suggestion to reach business scale quickly is to understand the key success factors needed for your business, and then to hardwire that success as much as possible so it is always in place.  For example, are there some key partnerships that can bring this value? How can you harness the ecosystem that already exists rather than creating it from scratch?"

Michelle Bonat, CEO and Founder, RumbaFish

"Invest in your people! We don’t follow economic trends and corporate standards by downsizing or cutting back on benefits every time there’s an economic bump in the road. Everybody at NOVA gets health at 60 days. We are one of the few companies that pay 100% of health insurance, even when rates increase by double digits every year.  We gave people raises and increased 401k matching at the height of the recession. Why? Because the people that work here and live our mission are what make NOVA a great company. Every day, I get letters praising our customer service reps, our engineers, the person answering the phone.

My advice to entrepreneurs? Remember that there’s nothing more critical than the people that make up your company and invest in them".

Sue Chen, Founder & CEO, Nova Medical Products

"The key to our growth has been executing against our core differentiators:  Ensuring that people enjoy working with us, and delivering better results than our competitors. Our smaller size is actually an advantage for us.  We can be more nimble, more client-focused, and more high-touch than many of our competitors. In a difficult economic climate, clients are more interested in a recruitment solutions provider who can deliver demonstrable results than they are in a 25-year-old brand name.

"My advice for other entrepreneurs is to invest in the very best people you can possibly afford, and invest in the tools you need to grow.  When you're growing quickly, and every team member has to wear different hats and really pull their weight, investing in top-notch people will make a huge difference to your success.  Investing in the right tools may mean investing in technology, or even office equipment.  If you're spending 15 hours a week running to Kinko's or waiting for your internet to get fixed, it's time to invest in a proper printer or a new IT provider".

Virginia Poly, President, Poly Placements

"Make sure you have the foundation in place—the right people, the right funding and the right technology—and then stay focused".

Heidi Messer, Co-Founder, Collective[i]

"First, you need a business model that allows you to scale. If your existing business model can’t do that, consider an aspect of your business where this is possible and experiment with that part of it.
For example, we initially only offered “classroom” courses, where students physically attended courses in our training rooms. However, this is limited by the availability of those training rooms. That’s why we then created our online courses, which still provide students with the same “classroom” experience but it’s all done online. In this case, we are not limited by factors such as venue availability; there is unlimited potential to scale".

Valerie Khoo, Managing Director, Sydney Writers’ Centre

"Map out where you want to go and reverse-engineer how to get there in terms of time and resources. This applies particularly to people – what are the skill sets you are going to need as the company scales and how do you plan for that.  Building a management team is a very difficult thing to do, but is absolutely critical to getting to that next level".

"Leverage technology to get you there.  There are so many ways you can use technology to scale and gain efficiencies.  The biggest area we have found technology has allowed us to grow in recent years has been through social enterprise.  Finding more effective ways to communicate across the company, share success stories and collaborate on projects becomes really important as the company expands".

Catherine Graham, Co-Founder Commonsku & Managing Director RIGHTSLEEVE

The Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) celebrates the wonderful accomplishments of women in business, whilst looking forward at how we can progress and learn from each other. Natural networkers and relationship builders, women have innate flair for entrepreneurship. With DWEN, Dell is helping women in business to expand their networks while offering technology capabilities designed to help them innovate and grow their businesses.

The NextWomen is in partnership with DWEN to bring you a series of 40 interviews with the world's most influential female founders, investors and decision makers: The NextWomen DWEN Interview Series.

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