Once you have established your Microsoft CSP business, it is time to think about the next step, business growth. Business growth can be both in terms of expanding your service offerings as well as increasing your customer base. Scaling up your business can be a powerful method to grow your business and revenue. Capability and capacity are vital parameters to consider when scaling up your Microsoft CSP business. Scaling up a business requires a different skill set from that of setting up a business. In terms of Capability, you can also take a cue from Microsoft’s Capability Score.
It requires strategic planning, capital, efficient resource utilization, risk management, etc. Before starting to scale your business, you need to find out whether the business is ready to scale or not. Premature scaling can be detrimental to business growth whereas delaying scaling up the business results in lost opportunities. In this article, we will discuss the various aspects of operating at scale, including the benefits, challenges, and mistakes you may be vulnerable to and must avoid.
Benefits of scaling your Microsoft CSP business
Once your Microsoft CSP business is ready to scale up, there will be various short-term and long-term benefits for the company.
Successfully scaling up your CSP business can help you increase revenue and maximize profits. You can establish multiple revenue streams by offering a diverse range of products and services. These can range from providing support and other allied services to your customers, selling value add-ons that complement Microsoft products, and providing integration to industry-standard tools to your customers.
An effective scaling model ensures improved process efficiencies, ability to respond to market demand, increased stability, and constant innovation. All these put together result in the long-term success of the Microsoft CSP business.
Growing customer base
Scaling allows businesses the opportunity to enter new markets and attract new customers. Having a large and diverse customer base can help your business be safe from over-reliance on a few clients or specific industry sectors. In that case, if an economic downturn or any unforeseen events affect a few of your clients your business will not shut down.
Challenges Microsoft CSPs face when scaling up
Though scaling up your CSP business sounds lucrative there are many challenges that you will have to face as a part of this journey. A few of them are listed below.
Shortage of funds
Scaling up a business requires capital for investing in new technologies, workforce, and other resources. Lack of funds can not only derail the expansion plans but also affect the viability of the existing business.
There is an increase in financial obligations due to increased workforce, marketing spending, etc. Added to this is the risk of entering newer markets and geographies without the guarantee of success.
With the increase in the number of customers and sales, there is an increase in the workload that becomes difficult to manage. In the absence of streamlined processes, this increased workload leads to inefficiency, inaccuracy, and loss of customer trust.
7 mistakes to avoid when scaling your Microsoft CSP business
Business growth and expansion is the dream of every business owner. The challenges of scaling a business should not function as a deterrent for you. Avoiding the following mistakes can help you go a long way in scaling your Microsoft business.
1. Absence of a marketing strategy
Marketing helps attract new customers and also reach out to existing customers with new products and offers. Failure to invest in marketing can lead to the failure of your business. Unless your target customers know about you, they will be unable to do business with you. Without a high-impact marketing strategy in place, you will be unable to get the desired results. You can begin by identifying your target audience and the preferred traction channel to reach them. After this, the next step is to design marketing campaigns that can attract potential customers and convert them into paying clients. Microsoft also provides Go-To-Market resources, tools, customizable content, etc. to its partners.
2. Unpredictable revenue stream
As mentioned above, achieving scale requires capital investment. Running out of funds in the middle of scaling up can not only stop business growth but can also risk the existing business operations. A two-pronged approach can mitigate the risk of failure due to insufficient capital. The first is trying to build a predictable revenue stream by enhancing and solidifying your subscription-based business. You can also offer discounts and time-bound special pricing for long-term subscriptions. And the second is to carefully plan your cash flow such that the investment needed for scaling the business does not hamper the short-term business goals. A CSP billing management tool can help you by keeping a real-time tab on your financial inflows and outflows and can assist you with cash flow management and revenue planning.
3. Failure to adopt automation
With business growth more customers and products are added to your business. Operating at larger volumes becomes difficult without a proportionate increase in workforce strength. Your existing team will be unable to handle the increased workload which will lead to mistakes and unhappy customers. To manage the licensing and billing of the growing number of customer orders, hiring a large workforce will not be cost-effective as it will reduce the profits.
As a rule, you should try to automate most of the repetitive, time-consuming tasks so that your employees can focus on business growth. Automation can be adopted in marketing, HR, customer service, sales as well as billing. CSP billing automation tool can help streamline the invoicing and billing of thousands of customers without putting any strain on your employees.
4. Scaling too fast
When businesses scale too fast, they are unable to perform well and lose track of their goals. When scaling too fast, you and your team will not be able to deliver value to your customers which will lead to customer churn and diminishing revenues. Before starting to scale you need to have a clear strategic vision and the structure in place to support growth. When rapidly expanding your CSP business, you need to ensure that the finance, team, products, and customers grow parallel with each other. If your pace of growth gets too overwhelming, take a step back and relook at your business plan to achieve a more sustainable pace of growth.
5. Losing customer-centricity
To widen your customer base, you might end up directing most of your resources to acquiring new customers. Neglecting your existing customers who have been loyal to you will cost your business a great deal as it costs more to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones. When scaling up your Microsoft CSP business, remember to take action to optimize customer retention.
This can be done by running promotions and offers for existing customers and understanding the needs of the customers to provide appropriate solutions. Self-service portals can help serve the customers more efficiently when the business is expanding at a rapid pace. This will reduce the burden on your staff as they will be free from handling routine queries and processes. At the same time, having a self-service portal for your products and services leads to a better customer experience.
6. Poor hiring decisions
Hiring quickly without considering if the individuals are fit for the roles, they have been hired for hampers the growth of the business. The need to add more people to the organization within a brief time leads to poor hiring decisions. Not having standard recruitment and hiring practices can lead to disastrous results when scaling up. You should invest in experienced HR professionals who can implement high-quality processes and standards leading to better selection and onboarding of new hires. Your Microsoft CSP business can scale only when you have the right team. Hiring people who have a multifaceted skill-set helps your business stay agile.
7. Not being agile
There can be times when you are faced with unpredictable scenarios in your scale-up journey. The business environment changes rapidly and if are unable to keep up then your CSP business will not survive in this highly competitive environment. Being agile will help you adapt quickly to market dynamics and internal changes. To be agile you should focus on fewer priorities at one time. The aim should be to create an agile workplace where your employees are provided with real-time information on customer demands. This will allow them to rapidly introduce new products and offers to the customers.
Partner with C3 to overcome the business challenges faced when scaling up your business
To assist CSPs in growing their business, we keep innovating and improving our technology ecosystem to serve CSPs better. Partnering with C3 will help you overcome the challenges faced during scaling up by enabling you to:
- Automate tedious order management and billing processes.
- Provide superior customer experience via the use of a self-service portal.
- Improve financial planning by minimizing cash flow mistakes.
- Sell more by creating bundles and packaged solutions.
Book a product demo today to learn how C3 has been helping CSPs across the globe scale their operations and accelerate their growth journey.