Many entrepreneurs believe getting their business started is the hard part. However, that is only the beginning if you want your dream to be a successful reality.
Growing your business is just as challenging and exciting, and when it comes to scaling up, many entrepreneurs feel lost in how to keep the necessary momentum going to guarantee success.
Business specialist Santiago Vicaria Angel says many entrepreneurs often go in the wrong direction through no fault of their own: “In today’s landscape, there is no reason why you can’t focus on going to many with the world market at our fingertips.
“Many entrepreneurs focus on small things. But if you have the same 100 people and your conversion rate is 5%, it is much harder to try to increase that conversion rate.
“If you focus on 1000 people, it makes it easier to grow in a scalable and exponential way.”
Vicaria has seen the success of planning and strategizing to this effect in his own businesses as well as those he has worked with.
He is currently the Senior Vice President of Sales with Ontop, It is a technologically advanced platform that facilitates the hiring and payment of international workers in a legal and efficient manner.
With his assistance, Ontop went from zero to $30 million USD per year. The platform has more than 35 million dollars in investments and its investors include Tiger Global Management, Softbank, and Y Combinator. Ontop recently joined as Endeavor’s top entrepreneurs and are of the biggest 150 companies of Y Combinator.
He says one of the primary challenges of scaling up for entrepreneurs is managing cash flow: “As your business grows, you need more resources, including employees, equipment, and inventory. You always get to a breaking point where managing cash flow is very challenging, and many businesses struggle to keep up with the demands of growth. You have to have the confidence to trust in making difficult decisions and pushing through the breaking point. Having strong strategies in place can help with this aspect of growth.”
Vicaria has worked with multiple aspiring business owners and entrepreneurs as a mentor to aid them in their bid to create profitable businesses. As a member of the exclusive CESA Alumni Association, he has had the opportunity to coach hundreds of individuals and was awarded the ‘Best Mentor’ accolade for his exemplary expertise.
He has also enabled businesses to raise collectively over 100 million dollars in venture capital.
Vicaria adds another challenge can be maintaining a healthy and effective company culture: “You want to maintain the same level of communication and collaboration that you had when you were a smaller team. Ways to do this include fostering a sense of community and collaboration among your employees so they feel they are all still pulling in the same direction and have a strong sense of connection. There is no need to forfeit this just because you are getting bigger.”
He says one of the most significant challenges of scaling up is managing risk: “Of course, bigger margins, bigger revenue and bigger teams, as well as more clients means more risk. You will also encounter market fluctuations, competition, and changing customer needs.
“As long as you are proactive about identifying potential risks you could face ahead of time. and develop strategies to mitigate them so you can overcome anything that is thrown at you.”
Vicaria has built a team of over 200 people around the world, and believes a solid business plan can help make scaling up that much easier: “It sounds simple but so many startup founders don’t include this in their strategy. A well-crafted business plan can help you identify potential risks so you can stay focused on your goals and track your progress.”
He also advises as you scale up, always remember your employees are your most valuable asset: “It is important to invest in training, development, and programs to help your employees grow and thrive. They must always feel valued and needed. Then they will pull together and be as invested as you are in your business’s success.”
Vicaria believes paying close attention to customer satisfaction can also really help: “As your business grows, it can be easy to lose sight of your customers’ needs,” he says. “The last thing you need is negative reviews which can cause your brand damage. “If you keep your customers at the center and strive to exceed their expectations it will always be a win-win.”
Another aspect which he believes is incredibly important is integrating technology to streamline operations to make your business more efficient: “It may sound crazy but there are still entrepreneurs out there who fear automation and integrating technological tools.”
Vicaria adds: “While the initial outlay may seem expensive, in the long run it can make life a lot easier and running your business much more effective. Look for ways to automate your processes and so leverage technology. By doing so you will also be able to enhance your customers’ experience.”
Neftaly Ramirez is the CEO and Founder of Hometuls a data-driven platform that connects products and services to construction projects in Colombia.
He worked with Vicaria , who invested in Hometuls, during the scaling up phase of his company and they now have a turnover of around $1 million USD annually.
“Santiago delivered immense value with his advice and expertise. He started off in a mentoring capacity and believed in our model and invested. He has immense knowledge and experience and is also incredibly resourceful. He always delivers.”
Neftaly believes that without Vicaria’s help Hometuls would not have the success it has today: “He shared his knowledge and expertise to help us streamline our payment processes, giving us the capacity to grow in other areas of the business. He was incredibly helpful in giving us a solution. Santiago also introduced us to a number of potential customers so we could grow much faster than we anticipated.”
He adds: “Santiago is passionate about encouraging entrepreneurs to succeed and cares about your time. He has definitely helped us move Hometuls to where it is today.”
Santiago Luengas who was mentored by Vicaria, has seen how some of his advice and expertise can play out in the workplace. He has created a platform that connects university students and older adults so they can have assistance with everyday tasks.
“Santiago was able to illustrate and explain how best to scale up and what was necessary. He advised on leadership, as well as tools and processes.
“His mentoring enabled me to learn the best way to attract clients, and how to implement a database effectively and efficiently.”