Starting a business is never easy. There’s always the existential question of your relevance in the market, how to stand out, and how to gain loyalty from your consumers. Finding that sweet spot and getting a foothold in the market is a big milestone, but it’s only the beginning.
The next logical question becomes how to expand. As with many things, expanding a business comes with “growing pains” of its own: numerous papers to fill out, places to establish, people to manage, and tasks to coordinate. If the thought of having one facility was overwhelming, try having to manage multiple locations and teams all at the same time.
Sadly, this is where many businesses fizzle out. Despite having good market potential, some businesses close up shop because they lack the resources and the peace of mind to expand with confidence. The more people involved, the more risk the business takes. This might be what hindered your favorite mom-and-pop store down the block from expanding to another store or two, even if they've become legends from your perspective. While this level of hands-on ownership has its merits, it also comes with plenty of opportunity costs.
Fortunately, technology has progressed to give business owners the chance to expand while remaining hands-on through security systems. If you’re at this fork in the road, let’s look into the common struggles businesses encounter when scaling up and how security systems can allow owners to grow their businesses with ease.
The Struggles of Scaling Up
Getting a business off the ground is one problem, but putting your business up in the big leagues is another struggle entirely. Here are some problems your business may encounter in the course of scaling up.
Pouring your heart and soul into establishing your pioneer store is a creative and strategically exhausting process—the goal being to use your one spot to stand out from the crowd. Now, imagine having to replicate your work across stores.
Becoming uniquely similar. Doesn’t that go against everything you just did?
However, that is the mandate of scaling up. To grow effectively, your business must provide customers with the same experience no matter which establishment they end up in. Aside from achieving a similar aesthetic, this means instituting standard processes and procedures to which teams must abide to make sure everything is uniquely on brand, even without you physically looking over their shoulder.
Uniformed processes could include how to handle customer complaints, how quickly a meal gets to a customer's table, or closing up the cash register at the end of the day. Standards that a business must uphold may include the level of cleanliness or hygiene in-store, quality of customer service, and response time to customer needs. Regardless of location, all stores must be uniform in how things are set up and how the staff gets things done to ensure that all customers will get the same experience every time.
When you're starting and the core team is limited to you and two of your closest friends, alignment is effortless. However, once you've scaled up and brought in some professionals outside of your usual circles, it becomes more challenging to get everyone on the same page.
Learning how to work as a team with diverse personalities is part of the challenge of scaling up; sometimes, growing as a business also means leveraging key talents who may be difficult to manage or do not agree with your ideas. As such, open communication and coordination are key to successful business growth—this way, everyone is steering the boat in the same direction.
Conversely, teams that scale up without communicating with one another end up walking blindly. Not knowing or learning best practices from other teams is not only a massive opportunity loss but also translates to poor customer service. Constant and consistent coordination—with the head office, across teams, and members—is essential to execute processes and standards flawlessly.
Bringing in Trusted People
As the saying goes, no man is an island. Similarly, there is no such thing as a one-person conglomerate. To expand your business, you would need to bring new people into the fold. Learn how to recruit key talents and delegate tasks that are aligned with their strengths while allowing them to add value. Delegating tasks will not only increase your business’s output as it takes on a bigger scope, but it will also free up your time as the owner to take on new and strategic roles.
Trust is a hard thing to build in a business, but it's no doubt one of the key factors to expansion success. However, building trust also takes time—one the business may not have when the right opportunity strikes. As such, you would likely have to build trust with your core team while the business is ongoing. After all, tried and tested is always best, and there's no better way to prove it than a trial by fire. That's a risk you'll have to be willing to take.
In business, you never know when disaster strikes. There could be leaks in the kitchen, a careless staff member could leave a door open, or your office could be robbed in the middle of the night. Insider jobs also run rampant in bigger companies where the owners can no longer be as hands-on with the finer details of daily tasks, leaving them vulnerable to theft and phishing.
Having round-the-clock security is essential to keep employees safe. If anything, this serves as a scarecrow of sorts to dissuade potential thieves from infiltrating the premises. And if not, these serve as irrefutable proof of disruption in the workplace. Think of the roving guards or CCTV footage we are privy to prove convenience store robberies; if it weren't for these, a lot of robberies would likely go unsolved.
On the other hand, having 24/7 security also keeps an eye on the staff. This gives owners an insight into how their employees are conducting their work even while they are not on-site to check on them, which is more indicative of actual performance. The extra pair of eyes keeps staff on their toes, encourages discipline in executing their assignments, and of course, gives opportunities to reward exemplary performance even when it seems no one is looking.
How a Security System Can Help
As much as we’d want to be in the know all the time, it’s no longer feasible when the business moves to multiple venues; we can’t be in many places at once. Instead, we can use technology to be our eyes, and these eyes would even be awake while we’re asleep. The advent of automatic 24/7 security solutions is a game changer in allowing businesses to grow while letting their owners breathe easily at night. Here are some ways security can help.
Real-time Surveillance with Multi-location Video
Managing multiple locations with only one pair of eyes can be made easy with security systems' simultaneous video monitoring. A security system's dashboard can accommodate feeds from different locations and, after initial setup, be placed all on one screen. This allows business owners to oversee all branch operations at a glance in real-time.
One Setup, Daily Benefits
Some typical work scenarios: your co-worker that was assigned to do closing suddenly had a family emergency which sent her zipping out the door, completely forgetting to lock it in the process. Or you are weaving through bumper-to-bumper traffic on a crazy Monday morning because you got out of bed late and everyone’s waiting for you to open the store.
Having to physically open and close your store with consistency is a necessary task, but it doesn’t mean it’s an easy one. Automatic security systems can be programmed to arm and disarm your office at set schedules, and this needs to only be done once. For multiple locations with uniform rules, a service provider can set rules for one branch and have them applied across all stores in your network. After one big setup, you can sit back and let the automated functions do the work.
Beyond store entrances, smart security systems can even screen employees with access credentials, receive smartphone alerts based on your activity, or optimize the temperature in-store to save energy, depending on how much you integrate into the system.
Personalized Security Solutions
Part of an effective security system is the flexibility of keeping certain users in and out of certain sections. This is easy to do with smaller organizations that need little to no sectional partitions, but what about larger teams with changing users? Should there be any additions or deductions to the headcount, the keys must also be given or revoked accordingly. Having to switch around physical keys is an outdated process, not to mention a huge hassle to make sure all keys are accounted for at any given point in time.
Keeping outdated security solutions such as physical lock and key systems gets more and more difficult to manage as more users enter the picture. On the other hand, smart security systems make changing users easy; one reprogramming session is all it takes to switch access codes across users. Businesses may also opt to use smart locks, keycard and reader combinations, or other types of automated systems in which the owner can control employee access at any time.
This personalized security solution also benefits growing businesses with varying levels of delegation. Business growth may also lead to some organizational changes which may also affect access and degrees of confidentiality. With personalized security options, you can assign access groups across teams, limit full access within one location, or set time-bound access for certain locations. This reassures you as the owner of the safety of your information and resources and sets clear boundaries among teams and employees on their level of responsibility.
Even in traditional CCTV setups, there is a lack of proactive security, meaning a security system that is more than just a set of eyes. As such, we see organizations hire a security guard to manually roam the premises or a loss prevention officer whose sole task is to watch the cameras. Additional locations would be additional hires as well. Not only is this boring work, but the task can be automated instead, saving time, money, and headcount.
Unlike other security setups, smart security systems are built to keep their eyes peeled and report on any deviations from the routine. You can set an alert for when a door is opened for too long, when off-limits doors are opened, and even when someone tweaks your room settings without your knowledge. And for the ultimate proof, you can set notifications via video alerts as well.
Gone are the days where you have to be on alert all the time. The smart security systems do the work and just give you a nudge on a need-to-know basis. Additionally, these notification systems can be scaled up to all your locations, which makes the task of watching over multiple locations possible. Goodbye, sleepless nights!
Today, everything moves at the speed of light, and businesses are no exception. What once took years to establish can now be done in minutes. But conversely, it also means that a new business faces greater risk than it did in the past—of theft, sabotage, and all other external factors that come with its burgeoning success. While scaling up is the natural progression of any business, ensuring the business's security becomes paramount to achieving long-term success.
Automatic security systems are the perfect partner for growing businesses as they offer real-time surveillance, consistent monitoring, and personalized access. Through these benefits, business owners can remain involved in executing the business's daily operations successfully, but more importantly, gain the resolve to continue pushing their business forward with peace of mind.