Ensure the product is sufficiently functional
Buggy early versions of software are nothing new - every early adopter has found that there is something that could be improved on what they have purchased, and when you're the first to go to market with an innovative solution, the need to download patches and updates to fix teething troubles is, within sensible boundaries, accepted by innovators and early adopters.
However, when a company expands its reach, and makes a case for its product being something the would solve a problem for a majority of people, it's a statement of intent that needs to be backed-up with a polished product.
Pragmatists and conservatives are far less tolerant than early adopters when it comes to misplaced icons or hard-to-read graphics on apps, or an electric vehicle dashboard UI that keeps turning off and on mid-ride. With an expanding userbase, "it's not a bug, it's a feature" just doesn't work as an excuse.
Be honest with yourselves
Therefore, you and your colleagues have to be honest with yourselves: do you have a product that has been rigorously tested in the kinds of conditions it is likely to meet? Is it ready for the wider scrutiny that comes when it's available to more people? Does it have the value proposition you think it has? Before your startup becomes a scale up business, and before you start hiring that remote software development team, you need to ask yourself this.
Take care of company culture
If you want to scale up your business, it makes sense that you also want to grow the influence of your business. Remember, you're not just expanding its footprint and increasing staff numbers, you're also spreading company culture and values wider.
If there's a lesson from history, it's that when corporations expanded, it meant that the center of power was, ultimately, unable to control absolutely everything that happened. That meant putting trust in leaders in multiple locations and offices, and in the structure of the company.
The same lesson applies to you when it comes to building your business up: you've got to be confident in its value structure and culture.
What does being confident of a value structure and culture mean in practice? It means being sure that everyone you hire is aware of, and willing and able to carry out, company values, and that they believe in the company culture.
Below is an example of a mature company that works hard to make sure everyone does just that.
Culture & values case study: Capgemini
Honesty, boldness, trust, freedom, fun, modesty, and team spirit are the seven core values that all Capgemini offices pledge to follow.
The France-registered consultancy business, which now has offices worldwide, projects these values in a novel way - rather than sit-down training sessions, it uses regional Accelerated Solutions Environments (ASEs) to create fun, inspiring events for leaders and "change agents" within the company and with clients, with the idea that they will spread that culture to their teams and offices.
The ASE is a fun place to spend time, with business books, movable walls, and a rotating leadership to keep ideas fresh.
While your company may not have the capability or budget to create an ASE, it can still learn the lessons from Capgemini's expansion. When you scale up your business, think about what your company's culture and values are, and think about ways to make following them a pleasure, not a chore. That way, if you start a remote software development team, they'll have a total understanding of what's expected.
Hire a full-time HR manager
Most startups, when they're in their early stages, handle administrative matters such as Human Resources and recruitment through their founders or other C-level staff. Most of the time, it works well, as long as there is a reasonable amount of experience on board in handling different personalities, contractual matters, and making sure lawyers and accountants get everything done on-time and to the standards required.
When a company grows, though, more care and attention is needed on the HR side. This is for several reasons. First and foremost, the CEO and board cannot spend valuable time on training and onboarding when a company grows beyond a certain point (what this stage is will vary, but for many companies it is when the headcount exceeds 25-30).
It's vital to build a remote-friendly company
With a small business, it makes sense that the central messages are conveyed by the people behind the business and accountable for its performance. In the scale-up stage of a business, and especially when a remote software development team is involved, it's vital that training and development can function well, even when at several stages of remove from the founders.
Additionally, if there is a legal issue or an office dispute, you want someone neutral, and trained in resource-management matters, who can run it, ensuring that those at the head of the company can continue steering the business and are not immersed unnecessarily in internal politics. It also means that your remote team, or external offices, are fully briefed on the vision and expectations of your company.
Make efficiency savings where possible
When a lot of people read the phrase "efficiency savings" they think it means staff cuts, but actually this is only one, drastic, interpretation. It might also mean expanding your business, and growing your headcount, in a smart way.
Consider salaries, for example. It might be that it's relatively easy to find people who want to work for your tech company at its San Francisco, New York City, or London office - but how easy is it to get them there within the timescales you've set out with your HR team? And if they're international hires, are they going to have their visas and other documents in time to be able to work on developing and delivering your next killer app or amazing AI?
The problems with onboarding staff after having recruited them are well-catalogued, especially in the United States and the UK, but also when it comes to other countries with tight immigration criteria. Is there another way to make sure of having the right people on board when you need them?
Expand the marketing team
Many startup founders used to believe that the product sold itself. The successes of great ideas backed up by smart marketing, and the failures of businesses that kept quiet about the virtues of their products, disproves this. Marketing is super-important for businesses at all stages, but especially mid scale-up, when more people are coming into the company to, hopefully, make a better product.
In this atmosphere of expansion, you need to be sure that the customer base is growing with the company. Remember that market share is a fragile statistic, and that there's always a major corporation waiting to replicate a proven business model.
Hire growth marketers, content marketers, analytics specialists, and social media experts, according to what you assess as the needs and budget of your company at the time, and the efforts of your awesome developers and product designers will not be in vain.
Expand the engineering team
In addition to building a marketing operation that can build a wider userbase, the engineering team will need to be strengthened. This is natural when a company expands - what may have been the work of a few people will grow and diversify, and the team needs to follow suit.
When a startup becomes a scaleup business, there are more updates, more bugfixes, and with so much happening at once, it stands to reason that your small team of generalists, willing and able to work on whatever is the issue at that particular time, will need to become a larger team of specialists.
Remote software development teams
To help you, you may wish to consider a remote software engineering team. It can be difficult to bring in the top talent you want, at the right speed, if you're based in the UK or the United States, with immigration and visa criteria, plus the need to relocate workers to your base location, proving to be stumbling blocks.
A remote team, put together with the help of Base B, ensures that a company's growth is not delayed by such matters. Instead, you get the chance to work with experts on emerging markets, who can recruit and onboard top talent quickly and efficiently. Ukraine has 220,000 qualified software engineers, while Poland is also an emerging technology hub. Now is a prime opportunity to leverage that talent base.
The key takeout
There are many different ways to scale up your technology business, but with mindful and smart growth, an understanding and appreciation of company culture and values throughout the organization, and a remote software development team to be the catalyst for the growth your company needs, you can make a success out of the next stage.
Ready to scale up your business? A remote software development team can help you. Let's talk.