So you’ve successfully bootstrapped your way to a real company with great offerings and you’re starting to see some real growth. Congrats! Hopefully, people are spreading the word and the trajectory is trending nicely upward for the foreseeable future. Up next on the leadership todo list: Scaling your operations to handle this growing amount of work.
First, let's get this out of the way. Growth and scaling are two different goals, growth is about adding incremental growth percentages as a factor of turnover whereas scale is a process-driven approach to growth. Growth and scale require different management styles, below we’ll run through a few important questions you should be asking yourself before you start the process of scaling.
Does Your Organization have a Growth Mindset?
It’s been proven that many early-stage ventures lack the will and ambition to scale. There’s no problem with this, a small business can stay a small business. However, recognize what your ambitions. If you are that "go-getter" entrepreneur, commit and develop growth targets, plans, and concrete actions on how you can reach your definition of success.
What’s Your Competitive Edge?
Identify your strengths and what’s making you stand out from the crowd. Capitalize on why consumers are choosing you over everyone else. This allows focused growth and makes it easier to create strategies.
Where are you Spending Your Time?
Focus your time and energy on what is going to drive your business forward strategically. By this time, daily tasks should be routine and taken care of. It’s time to zoom in on what can keep you moving forward.
Are you Achieving Your True Vision?
Back to the basics, are you clear on where you want to go? From vision to traction, start by working backward.
- Refine your vision
- Create your 3-year-vision
- Create your 1-year-vision
- Create quarterly goals
Make sure all of these relate to each other and relate to the business decisions that are being made.
Now to the nitty-gritty, you’re ready to get started, here are the basics of how to scale.
Increasing sales is a major factor in scaling. Is your organization ready if your sales doubled overnight? Detail a sales growth forecast. Break it down by numbers of new customers, orders, and revenue. Develop a spreadsheet that breaks down numbers for every month. The more specific you are the more realistic your sales acquisition can be. Detail an expense forecast. How will everything be impacted by an increase in sales? Develop an expense spreadsheet that breaks down how you will meet your sales forecast.
After planning, you may find you need more money for staff, technology, or facilities. Where are you going to find this money? Do you need a loan? Do you need to reach out to investors? Researching and knowing this ahead of time will help you stay afloat and prepared.
Hopefully, your increase in business will keep up, but if you scale your business and grow, you will need to maintain the new sales coming in and keep your numbers up. Think about how your systems will change, for example invoicing, account managing, or marketing. These areas all need specific attention in developing a strategy and generating business coming in.
Who are your key leaders in scaling? It could be a good idea to bring someone in from the outside, who can help you scale accordingly. Maybe you need more help in specific areas or your whole company will grow in numbers. Think about the HR, training, and employee development available to cater to this.
Research is key in knowing what’s available in your industry to make the business run easier and faster. Investing in technology could mean fewer labor costs or it could mean the ability to manage growth internally. What systems are available that can make sales management, inventory, manufacturing, HR, or shipping easier?
Growth is great, it’s what most founders dream of but growth and scaling are two different approaches and neither is better than the other. Each has its own dynamics and works better in certain sectors Just make sure if scaling your business is the right direction that you have a plan for when it happens and that you examine the impacts on every side of the business.