5 Common Business Scaling Mistakes Made By Entrepreneurs

by Josh Barney

Do you dream of scaling your business? Have you got desires to conquer your niche? Is your brand ready to explode?

There’s much more to scaling a business than simply increasing sales. In fact, scaling too fast and without preparation can be incredibly dangerous for your business.

The risks of scaling up include:

  • Cash flow problems
  • Customer relationship issues
  • Brand reputation
  • Staff losses and/or shortages
  • Leadership stress

New business owners and entrepreneurs can easily make an error that leads to one of these business scaling mistakes. It’s no surprise that in 2019, The Telegraph reported that in the UK:

660,000 new businesses were registered per year, with 20% failing within the first year and 60% failing within 3 years.

The Telegraph

The idea of scaling your business is exciting, but it needs to be taken with a roadmap set in place, alongside, checks, markers and a clear scaling strategy.

As your business grows, the challenges it faces will change. It’s your job to predict what these challenges will be and have a plan ready to deal with them ahead of time.

Let’s look at the 5 common business scaling mistakes made by entrepreneurs:

1. Not Taking the Time to Build a Team

Not taking the time to build a team is the first common mistake that entrepreneurs make when trying to scale their businesses. They presume that they are able to run their business by themselves or with minimal help from other people and may even rely on family members for assistance at some points.

What these entrepreneurs fail to realise is that over time it becomes impossible to keep up the pace of work as a business scales up.

In order to scale your business successfully, you need people, partnerships and outsources who will be able to take care of certain projects while also providing support when necessary.

71% of executives say that employee engagement is critical to business success.


A team should ideally consist of those who possess skills that are complementary in nature because this allows each member to share responsibility and avoid any one person being overwhelmed with doing everything all at once.

If your budget is low, hire part-time or entry-level candidates, or outsource some of your tasks to freelancers. It’s not always possible to hire the finished article, so build them instead! Look for passionate people who want to grow alongside your business.

Narrow your tasks down to those that are most valuable to your business and find team members to complete everything else for you. As the business owner you need to lead the business, that means using your time more effectively than doing menial and repetitive tasks.

2. Not Knowing Your Customer

Not knowing your customer is a cardinal error in marketing, let alone when you’re planning to expand and grow.

Before you make any decisions about your future, take time to research and better understand the people who use your services or buy from you.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • Who are they?
  • What do they want?
  • Why should they care?

The more insight into their lives, motivations and goals that you have, the easier it will be for you to market and create content that is relevant to them. This helps grow trust in your brand which can lead customers down the sales funnel at a much faster rate. When this happens with enough frequency (and timing) scaling your business will become a much simpler task.

If you only have a vague idea about who your target market is, use a customer avatar to create a list of specific behaviours, interests and demographics for you to target.

customer avatar
Download your very own customer avatar worksheet, as well as gaining access to video training, marketing action plans and ebooks for FREE, in the Einstein Marketer Studio.

When you’re done creating one customer avatar, make more for different customer personas.

Knowing your customer is crucial not just for a growth in sales, but also for your relationship with them.

Scaling a business in a short period of time can often leave customers feeling alienated, especially those who require extra customer service.

Understand where and when your customers will require the most assistance, and be ready to provide it to them.

Poor customer relationship from low quality customer service will damage your brand, particularly with the number of forums and review websites available online.

3. Not Having a Clear Vision

Without a clear vision of the future, your business has no direction, no checks or markers and nothing to aim for.

Eradicate your business scaling mistakes by having a clear vision of where your business will be in specific time periods.

Create forecasts, predictions and understand what your business will need as it moves towards your vision.

A clear vision will help you choose the right people for your team, invest in the best products and services as well as identify clients that need what you offer.

A lack of clarity can cause an entrepreneur to make decisions without knowing if they’re taking their business closer or further away from its goal.

In order to scale successfully, entrepreneurs need to have set long term goals.

Write them down so they’re easily accessible and reviewable.

If you haven’t already, create a business plan – even if you think you don’t need one, it will help provide you with clarity about the future of the business and its requirements.

4. Failing to Invest in Yourself

One of the most important decisions entrepreneurs make is where to allocate their time and money.

Scaling a business involves marketing, product development, team delegation, future planning, cash management and more.

Investing in yourself is an absolute necessity for scaling your business. When you are putting 100% effort into scaling your business – there isn’t enough hours in the day, but if you aren’t prepared with the correct knowledge, you could miss some massive opportunities.

Investing in yourself will also give you an insight into what has worked for others, and what scaling tactics will work for your business too.

A few great ways to invest in yourself include:

  • Reading books (check out our list of must-read marketing books)
  • Learning from digital resources
  • Getting a business mentor
  • Joining a collective group of business owners (our Facebook group is an amazing way to meet like-minded business owners)

Spend some time and money on your own personal development. You’re the one steering your businesses direction, ensure that you’re in the know.

5. Taking on Too Much, Too Quickly

Trying to scale too fast can kill your business.

You might be tempted to hire more people, open up a new branch of the company or take on an additional project.

Take these few steps before making any decisions:

  • Know where your bottleneck is so that you can focus efforts there and get results when it matters most
  • Don’t spread yourself thin – focus on the things that are most important to your business’s long term visions
  • Create a timeline with milestones as well as checkpoints along the way
  • Take stock of what you have and then see where improvements can be made.
  • Don’t overextend yourself on the things that aren’t mission-critical to your long term success.
  • Get clear on what’s important for you or your company right now; this includes hiring, projects, partnerships etc…and make decisions accordingly
  • Avoid making big commitments without being sure it is going to work out well. Don’t rush into scaling before you get a sense of how sustainable it will be for your business over time

5 Business Scaling Mistakes And How To Avoid Them: Conclusion

As you can see, the key to scaling your business is not only in taking a deep look at where and how it will grow but also what needs to happen for that growth.

If there’s one thing we’ve mentioned here today about scaling, it’s this: don’t overextend yourself! This mistake causes many entrepreneurs’ downfall because they start their journey with more than they think they need and end up running out of time and resources later down the line.

In summary, our top 5 business scaling mistakes are:

  1. Not taking them time to build a team
  2. Not knowing your customer
  3. Not having a clear vision
  4. Failing to invest in yourself
  5. Taking on too much, too quickly

If you have any useful tips to add – leave your advice in the comments and be sure to share this article with your entrepreneur friends, family and followers.

Good luck with scaling your business!

Josh is the Founder of We Imagine Media, an award-winning content marketer, best selling author and creator of the www.joshbarney.blog. He creates and strategises content, sharing the most successful tactics with his lovely audience. He hates writing in the third person, follow him on the social links so he can get back to writing as himself.

2 Responses

  1. I think the most important one is team but you can easily egt around this by outsourcing most of the work. using virtual assistants for small tasks is a good way to start. finding the right people is the hardest thing to do when you are scaling up a business. interesting post. thanks.

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