What Challenges Are Faced When Scaling a Business?


    What Challenges Are Faced When Scaling a Business?

    Scaling a business comes with its unique set of challenges, as these thirteen CEOs and marketing experts can attest. From the initial hurdle of 'Hiring Assistance for Business Focus' to the strategy of 'Diversifying Marketing After SEO Traffic Drop,' our contributors share personal anecdotes and solutions that propelled their business growth.

    • Hiring Assistance for Business Focus
    • Founding an Agency for Fair Value
    • Investing in Blog Growth Through Delegation
    • Achieving Interoperability in Digital Health
    • Boosting SEO with In-House Expertise
    • Streamlining Operations with Automation
    • Professionalizing Bookkeeping for Financial Clarity
    • Addressing Misalignment and Prioritizing Mental Health
    • Systematizing Processes for Quality Expansion
    • Strategic Hiring to Scale Technical Team
    • Overcoming Mental Challenges in Business
    • Managing Client Influx with Strategic Vetting
    • Diversifying Marketing After SEO Traffic Drop

    Hiring Assistance for Business Focus

    As you grow, you realize you cannot do everything. I listened to the "Four-Hour Workweek" and took the advice on hiring a virtual assistant to take care of all the back-office and routine tasks. I am now at the point where I need to be 100% on the business rather than in it, and I am working to recruit a freelance staff to do the day-to-day so I can work on what is next.

    Jaime Chambron - Career Advancement and Personal Branding Expert
    Jaime Chambron - Career Advancement and Personal Branding ExpertCEO, Career Agility System

    Founding an Agency for Fair Value

    As a consultant for many years, I worked full-time for an agency in Chicago. One day, my client, a FinTech startup, said, "Managing social media is expensive." Knowing that my rate was $50.00 per hour to build his social media presence, I said, "$50.00 per hour isn't much." He said, "I'm being charged $150 per hour," and asked if I had an agency, which I didn't. I founded my agency to charge the value of the service.

    Regardless of the competition or not having another job, if you're unhappy, you should leave. Consider what you've done in the past. It's proof of what you can do in the future.

    After speaking with the agency head, I resigned without having another job. Instead, I created the Wendy Glavin Agency to charge the value of the service.

    Wendy Glavin
    Wendy GlavinFounder and CEO, Wendy Glavin Agency

    Investing in Blog Growth Through Delegation

    One of the key challenges I faced while scaling my travel blog into a business was recognizing the necessity of investing in it like any other business venture. Initially, I struggled with the concept of spending money to grow, as it felt counterintuitive. However, through guidance from a seasoned blogging mentor, I learned the importance of delegating tasks to expand my operations efficiently. He emphasized hiring additional writers to increase content output, editors to maintain quality and consistency, and assistants to manage administrative duties.

    This strategy allowed me to focus on strategic growth areas, such as partnership development and brand expansion. By treating my blog as a serious business and investing in skilled personnel, I was able to scale my blog significantly, transforming it from a personal project into a profitable enterprise.

    Samantha King
    Samantha KingCEO & Founder of Travelling King, Travelling King

    Achieving Interoperability in Digital Health

    One major challenge we faced while scaling our digital health solution was ensuring interoperability across different healthcare systems.

    Our platform aimed to connect patients, providers, and specialists seamlessly. However, healthcare institutions use a variety of Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems with different data formats and communication protocols. This meant our solution struggled to integrate smoothly with existing workflows, creating friction for both patients and providers.

    We tackled this by adopting a two-pronged approach.

    We developed a robust Application Programming Interface (API) that could translate data between our platform and various EHR systems. This allowed for a more standardized flow of information, regardless of the underlying software.

    We partnered with key EHR vendors to create custom adapters that facilitated a smoother connection. Additionally, we offered open-source tools and documentation for developers to build their own integrations, fostering a collaborative ecosystem.

    By prioritizing interoperability, we were able to connect with a wider range of healthcare institutions. This not only expanded our user base but also improved the overall user experience for patients and providers who could now access and share health data more easily.

    Howard Rosen
    Howard RosenCEO, Nova Insights

    Boosting SEO with In-House Expertise

    One of the most significant hurdles we faced last year while scaling our startup in a well-established industry was developing a competitive SEO strategy. Initially, we only ranked for keywords that included our company name, and our website traffic was virtually nonexistent, which greatly impaired our brand recognition. Without a formal SEO and content strategy, our marketing team was unable to generate leads for our sales team, stunting our growth.

    Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the leadership team decided against outsourcing to marketing agencies. Instead, they chose to invest internally and hired an in-house Director of Content with a robust background in technical SEO, alongside myself as the Content Manager. This strategic move allowed us to directly control and implement our content creation.

    The impact of having an in-house team was profound. Within a year, we published 53 blog posts, 5 eBooks, and launched over 40 new web pages. These efforts paid off spectacularly, increasing our organic website traffic by 300%, boosting our website domain authority by 10 points, and expanding our presence in the top 100 search results by 383%. This not only led to consistent customer acquisitions but also proved the value of building an internal team to navigate complex challenges and scale effectively. This experience has taught us that while outsourcing may seem convenient, investing in dedicated in-house expertise can yield faster and more impactful results.

    Katie White
    Katie WhiteContent Marketing Manager, Centime

    Streamlining Operations with Automation

    Scaling a business presents unique challenges, particularly for solo entrepreneurs. One significant obstacle I encountered was managing multiple communications with vendors and customers, often regarding the same tasks. After experimenting with new features and confirming their effectiveness, I decided to implement automation. Automation workflows were introduced for order processing, email communications, and follow-ups, and they streamlined operations significantly. Implementing these systems has allowed for more efficient management of recurring tasks without the need to hire resources or outsource.

    Christos Mylonas
    Christos MylonasFounder & CEO, Talentfam

    Professionalizing Bookkeeping for Financial Clarity

    Major challenge: Monthly bookkeeping and truly understanding my business's financial numbers.

    For years, my business partner and I managed the bookkeeping ourselves using QuickBooks. We were never on time each month, and we'd often have to lock ourselves in a room after 3-4 months to get caught up on our bookkeeping. Needless to say, we didn't understand what the business was actually making or how much we were spending.

    Like a lot of entrepreneurs, we were growing quickly and basing our financials off of bank account totals and makeshift spreadsheets we had for tracking sales and expenses.

    After a couple of years, we finally decided enough was enough, and we hired a professional bookkeeper. Very quickly, she took over, got our books organized, and provided us with monthly financial reports. We could finally see how the business was performing, and it made a major difference. We started making decisions based on our profit and loss statement—eliminating unnecessary expenses, minimizing payroll, and increasing efforts on specific revenue channels, etc.

    I look back and wonder how we let it go for so long.

    Connor Gillivan
    Connor GillivanEntrepreneur, Owner & CMO, TrioSEO

    Addressing Misalignment and Prioritizing Mental Health

    Entrepreneurship, starting or scaling a business, is like being on a rollercoaster. Sometimes, you experience four seasons in a day, and the highs and lows follow each other quickly. Resource constraints, whether that's funding, talent, or infrastructure, are typical challenges for any business that is scaling up. More specifically, however, a good example that I experienced myself early on in my entrepreneurial journey is when you realize you may have to part ways with key staff or a fellow co-founder due to diverging visions. This can be difficult and painful, but rather than kicking the can down the road, it is better to move quickly and clear the air because if visions are not aligned, the chickens will come home to roost at some point.

    This is nothing personal towards the person or vice versa, but it requires a lot of grit, mental agility, and emotional maturity from both sides. And with that, I am also hitting on a key point, and that is the importance of mental health and a positive mindset, which is something I focus on myself a lot and also a key attribute I value in others. Fortunately, in today's business environment, this is getting more attention, yet still not enough.

    Yvo TimmermansFounder, Earthwise Ventures

    Systematizing Processes for Quality Expansion

    Scaling my business at Dental SEO Expert presented several challenges, particularly in the field of team expansion and maintaining service quality. One specific challenge was managing the increased workload that came with a growing client base without compromising the quality of our SEO and marketing services. This necessitated a careful approach to scaling our operations.

    We focused on systematizing our processes and increasing automation where possible. By documenting all our procedures and employing Asana, we ensured that every team member was on the same page and could deliver consistent service. This also made onboarding new employees smoother and faster, maintaining our standards of service during periods of rapid growth.

    Moreover, I prioritized hiring the right people who were not only skilled but also a good fit for our company culture. Investing in skilled personnel and ongoing training ensured that our team could handle more complex projects and larger volumes without a dip in quality. This allowed us to grow our client base while maintaining high satisfaction levels, ultimately supporting our business expansion goals.

    Ihor Lavrenenko
    Ihor LavrenenkoCEO, Dental SEO Expert

    Strategic Hiring to Scale Technical Team

    As the founder and CTO of Zibtek, I've encountered numerous challenges while scaling our business, but one specific obstacle that stands out is the need to expand our technical team while maintaining the high quality of talent we're known for. As demand for our custom software development services grew, we faced the daunting task of rapidly scaling our team to meet client needs without compromising on the caliber of our developers.

    To overcome this challenge, we implemented a multi-faceted approach that prioritized both quantity and quality in our hiring process. We leveraged our extensive network and industry connections to identify top talent, both locally and internationally, who possessed the technical expertise and cultural fit needed to thrive at Zibtek. Additionally, we refined our recruitment and onboarding processes to ensure a seamless transition for new team members, providing comprehensive training and support to help them integrate smoothly into our company culture and workflows.

    Moreover, we recognized the importance of nurturing our existing team members and fostering a culture of continuous learning and growth. By investing in professional development programs, mentorship opportunities, and collaborative projects, we empowered our developers to expand their skills and expertise, enabling them to take on more complex projects and leadership roles as we scaled.

    Ultimately, our commitment to maintaining a high standard of talent while scaling our team proved successful. By combining strategic hiring practices, robust onboarding processes, and a culture of continuous learning, we were able to scale our business effectively while upholding the quality and integrity that define Zibtek's reputation in the industry.

    Cache Merrill
    Cache MerrillFounder, Zibtek

    Overcoming Mental Challenges in Business

    I would have to say the main challenges were mental challenges. Long hours grinding to get the money, away from people I cared about, who didn't understand why I was doing what I was doing. If I had any advice for people trying to start a business, I would recommend understanding that your mannerisms are what will make you successful.

    Kyle Johnson
    Kyle JohnsonFounder, Kyle Johnson Digital Marketing

    Managing Client Influx with Strategic Vetting

    Taking on too many new clients at once sounds great but can be crushing. Many would love the opportunity, but in practice, managing more accounts, getting to know more people, and performing at a level expected can be considerably challenging. For example, in 2014, we were featured in newspapers and business publications across Canada and the US for our incredible success despite my stage-4 cancer battle. The press attracted hundreds of new prospects. It was exciting...until we had to figure out how to process them all. By 2016, we managed to categorize by fit and urgency, passing many clients on to peers. Since then, we vet more carefully for mutual fit.

    Randy Milanovic
    Randy MilanovicCEO and CMO, Kayak Marketing

    Diversifying Marketing After SEO Traffic Drop

    SuperMoney's journey is a testament to the volatility inherent in relying on third-party platforms like Google for business growth. Initially, our growth was significantly fueled by organic search traffic from Google, which seemed like a reliable strategy. However, the end of 2019 marked a turning point when an unexpected Google algorithm update precipitated a drastic 80% drop in our SEO traffic.

    This was a stark wake-up call about the risks of dependence on external platforms over which we had no control. Faced with this challenge, we pivoted swiftly, expanding our marketing strategies to include paid advertising and forging robust partnerships. This strategic diversification not only stabilized our business but also propelled us to scale our operations more rapidly and robustly than before. It underscored a crucial lesson: the importance of agility and adaptability in the face of digital market dynamics.

    Miron LulicCEO, SuperMoney