by Ron Stein
There are many hurdles that’ll slow down your business. From rapidly changing market conditions or unexpected cash crunch, to finding the right people to drive key initiatives. If you’re nimble enough you’ll adapt and respond. Then life is good again.
Sometimes there’s a barrier that’s almost impassable and keeps many businesses from growing. One of the leading causes is the inability to scale.
Scalability is not a vague concept, but a real world problem for most companies. At its core, a business that can scale has the ability to adapt rapidly to increasing demand without compromising performance or losing revenue.
Look at it this way; If the effort or cost necessary to deliver 10 units of your product is now X, when you figure out how to deliver 100 units and it only requires 2X instead of 100X of work to make it happen you’ll have a scalable business model.
Sounds like some sort of trick -- more work, less resources. Still, it works.
Scalability is a potentially huge barrier to success for most every company in any industry. Because, when a sustainable business model is missing in action, it will be all down hill when the going gets tough.
Once a company has a carefully thought through plan of how to scale, growth takes off. It’s what turns a startup into a small business and then a giant in their industry.
So, exactly how do you scale a business?
Bake scalability into your business model. Just because you have a hot product or service that people want, it’s not necessarily scalable. The key question to ask is, as sales take off can revenue multiply with only marginal incremental costs. Think staffing, training, equipment, facilities, inventory, manufacturing, and other expenses that affect your type of business. Whether you’re a startup or an existing company, reassess your business model by projecting what happens as more customers come onboard. To continue to grow everything will need to hum along without breaking the bank or stressing out your resources. Or driving your team crazy. To keep everything running smoothly prepare for scalability now. Scrutinize everything to make sure all of your processes are ready for your growth and success.
Use strategic leverage. Explore the different ways to sell more in ways that prevent your crew and systems from going into overwhelm mode. Such as selling online and through reseller channels, or outsourcing to a manufacturing partner that has the capacity to pump out your offing quickly and cost-effectively. Plus indirect channels will help to get your message out quickly to the targeted audience. There are dozens of possibilities that can work for your type of business. Take a step back and look at the big picture. For instance, is it better to seek out premium customers that spend more money per unit and give you greater visibility and influence with your target audience, or serve many more buyers at a lower cost to them? In both cases ask how you do that without crushing your company as you grow amid a corresponding rise in unread emails, delivery backlogs, social media posts, and of course costs.
Outsource tactically. How you can serve more customers without stretching existing resources to the breaking point is at the heart of scaling. Jettison non-essential tasks that aren’t core to your essence. This allows your business to focus on what you do best, move faster, and keeps costs down. Independent professionals and other outside resources may seem expensive, but not compared to the time it takes to hire non-strategic staff and train them. Consider engaging virtual assistants, public relations experts, graphic designers, and software developers. To do this efficiently, keep track of your outsourced team and their projects using management software or simple spreadsheets. Also document your processes and consider providing online training videos to quickly get your vendors up to speed and in sync with your mission. Just focus on what you're good at and let others do the rest.
The only way to achieve widespread adoption of your wonderful product or service is to become more efficient and effective. Play to your strengths and leverage the power of partners, channels, and technology.
The keys are to have a sustainable business model and then execute on that before you begin scaling. A built-in growth model is characteristic of a well oiled and growing company. Plus when you put in place processes and technologies at the front end, you’ll avoid making a left turn against traffic on a one-way street.
This how you’ll take your business to a new level and become a market leader.
Ron Stein is founder of More Customers Academy, helping business leaders build strategic messaging and positioning that cuts through the competitive noise to grow revenue. Ron has developed his own highly successful 5-step Stand Out & Sell More approach to winning new customers as a result of his twenty-five years of business development, marketing, and selling experiences. He works with a range of businesses, from startups to large corporations across industries including technology and healthcare, manufacturing, and financial services and banking. Ron conducts workshops, leads company meetings, offers keynote talks, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or by email.