This week I’ve been reflecting on growth and scaling, positioned in the entrepreneur world as the ultimate prize. Most business owners want more. More growth, more opportunities, more freedom. Achieving our goals without burning ourselves out is no easy task. How do you scale your business, find more clients, earn more money without paying too high a price? What’s the best business model to achieve your goals in ways that work for you? Whether you’re just launching a new business, thinking about starting or in a growth phase, understanding how to scale in a way that works for you is essential if you want to avoid burnout and falling out of love with your business.
“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.” Andy Rooney
Ready to scale your business?
When we start out in business, our first challenge is to find one client and deliver amazing value for them. Then we need to repeat by finding more clients. and delivering for them. Once we’ve figured out who we want to serve and how to reach them, our thoughts turn to how to grow our business and build something that has longevity. Whether you want a lifestyle business providing a sustainable income for you and your family or your goal is to build something bigger that might continue to grow or that you might one day sell, your next challenge is how to scale your business for growth.
Scaling is a careful balancing act between capacity and capability. It can feel like trying to juggle while on a rollercoaster! Even if you manage to dramatically increase your sales, you’ll soon face a new problem: how to deliver to all those new clients. Does your business have the capacity to grow? Will your business systems, infrastructure and team be able to accommodate growth?
Most people focus on only one side of this balancing act. It somehow feels easier (and certainly more exciting) to chase what’s new and shiny. Many business owners will tell you that their major business challenge is finding new clients. But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find money being left on the table , and opportunities going to waste, through failures to leverage their existing networks and manage the clients they already have. Every week I receive several messages from random strangers promising me untold riches and an endless stream of high-quality leads! What none of those messages talk about is how to prepare your business for all these new clients. That’s the hard bit.
If a sudden spurt of growth is going to cause your business to stumble because of confusion, orders falling through the cracks, not enough people, miscommunication, not enough manufacturing or delivery capacity, then you’re going to have unhappy clients. The manual processes that were fine when you were small, will start to slow you down as you grow. You’ll either be putting out fires or desperately trying to keep your head above water. All of which is stressful and draining.
Scaling a business requires planning, some funding and the right people, systems, processes, technology and partners. Just make sure, before you set off on a wild ride, that it’s what you really want! Here are my Top 10 Tips for Scaling Your Business:-
🌟 You. Before chasing the scaling dream, make sure you’re really clear about what you want. Do you want to build something that’s separate from you, that can function and grow regardless of your role? What’s going to work for you?
🌟 Evaluate. Take a good, hard look at your current business. What capacity and capability does it have? Think about what it would take to increase sales and whether you have the right people and processes to cope.
🌟 Plan. Once you’re really clear about where your business is today you can construct a scaling plan. Map out a detailed sales forecast over time and align cost estimates for the people and infrastructure required to deliver.
🌟 Cash. Once you have a plan it will need funding. Cashflow timing can be a major pitfall when scaling. Yes you’ll have more clients but also more cost and that usually comes first. Don’t underestimate the cost of scaling.
🌟 Speed. It’s important to decide how quickly you want (and need) to scale. Bootstrapping tends to give you control but is slower. Consider loans, grants and outside investment to speed up the process.
🌟 Sales. The engine of growth is sales. Make sure you look at your sales process from start to finish. You will need to have defined a structure that’s tried and tested before growing your sales team.
🌟 Quality. Never compromise on high standards. Define what ‘good’ looks like early on and ensure that consistency is built in as you create new systems and processes. Metrics are key to learning as you grow.
🌟 Technology. Automation is key to scaling quickly and cost-effectively. But it can also be a mindfield. Integration of systems is the key to success so make sure you’re getting good advice on how to use tech to your advantage.
🌟 People. You cannot scale without good people. Remove yourself as a bottleneck in each and every process in your business. Bring in people with different strengths and abilities. Consider a mix of employees and contractors.
🌟 Enjoy. Scaling is hard work, so don’t forget to carve out time for yourself. Self care is not selfish. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself some love, focus on activities that make you feel wonderful. Enjoy the process.
It’s completely unrealistic to expect yourself to know everything or be able to do everything. Please be kind to yourself and if you’d like to talk through the choices you’re facing or any blockers in your business, let me know.
Lisa Zevi – February 2022