You have decided to grow your business, now for the next challenge; how to scale your business for next-level growth. Even if you manage to blow your sales expectations out of the water, you’ll soon have another headache; you have to be able to fill the orders or service whilst meeting quality and customer expectation standards.

Scalability is about capacity and capability.  Does your business have the capacity and capabilities to grow?  Will your technology, business management systems, processes, infrastructure and team be able to accommodate growth?

If growth causes your company to stumble because of a lack of a clear and decisive plan, systems and process resulting in orders falling through the cracks, insufficient staff, miscommunication, insufficient product or delivery capacity –you’re going to have unhappy customers or customer that don’t return.   You are working in your business putting out fires or desperately trying to keep your head above water. All of which is stressful.

Scaling in business means increasing the size and scope of operations. But without clear direction, attempts to expand can backfire and can hamper your business.  It requires planning, some funding and the right systems, staff, processes, technology and partners. 

  1. Goal setting and Planning – confirm your personal and business endgame.

The importance of having clarify around personal and business goals, understandingthe ultimate goal for you and your business, and in particular, understanding what scale business is required for exit or transition.

Take a hard look inside your business to see if you are ready for growth. You can’t know what to do differently unless you take stock of where your business stands today.  It’s only when you’re clear on your destination that you can plan a scaling strategy to get there. For example, building a company to sell requires a different approach to growing a business that supports a lifestyle.  Plan and grow your business to be an investment, not a job – achieve your income and freedom goals

2. Business Planning

Breaking out of the ‘business owner” mindset is not easy and getting the balance right between working on the business and working in the business is a real challenge for many business owners.

Establishing a business plan for profitable growth is the first step. The business planning process enables you to consider all of the factors for growing and scaling the business. The business plan roadmap puts the plan into actions and timelines – makes everyone accountable

3. Never compromise on quality or consistency

They both enable growth. There’s no point growing your business if your products, service or customer service deteriorates because customers will leave, remember they have options. Having the right systems, processes, culture and staff is key to maintaining quality. You will make mistakes when scaling, but understand why they happen, learn from them, get better and don’t repeat them.

4. Capitalise on What Sets You Apart – Your Unique Point of Difference

For your business to be successful, you must have a competitive advantage – a unique point of difference over your competitors. This is beyond your product or service offerings—think how you chose to face your face and deliver your product or service, rather than what those offerings are.

With a critical eye, assess what exactly your business brings to the table that other businesses don’t. While it is important to continually build on strategic weaknesses, it’s equally critical for scaling businesses to identify, develop and effectively market their differentiating capabilities.

5. Ensure effective systems and processes are in place – invest in technology.

Manual processes are time-consuming and lower productivity, resulting in a high percentage of errors that lead to rework. Ultimately costing the business increased expenses and reduced revenue.

The path from being self-employed to owning a sustainable “growth business” can’t be achieved without systemising your operating model.  With no automatised processes in place, you effectively become the system.  And while this is necessary to set up the business at the start, if your business literally can’t function without you, it’s not scalable or saleable. 

CRM systems automate sales and marketing processes. Other areas you can implement automation include operations, production, HR and payroll, sales, order processing, accounts and invoicing processes, customer support, and data analytics.

By incorporating automated systems into your daily workflow, you can leverage the power of technology to improve efficiencies and ensure you as the business owner focus on high-value tasks.  This frees you to focus your attention and skill where it matters most—on running and growing your business.

Build systems that scale and drive efficiencies. Systems that are sufficient in a small organisation can break down when the business is ten times the size.

6. Invest in a Fit for Purpose Management Information System

As your business starts to expand, the management information system you use becomes more important. A management information system is the central backbone of the business, it collects, stores, and reports data from various systems like financial, operational, marketing, sales, procurement, inventory, and human resources.

Without data, you can’t evaluate the company’s performance, predict future growth, identify obstacles, and make adjustments to business strategies.

7. Lean principles and agile structure

Lean operating is one way to achieve and maintain scalability for your business. Throwing money at a problem is not always the answer.  If you drain yourself each month with too many outgoings on cost lines that don’t provide a valuable ROI or benefit, you will reduce your profits. Instead, look to minimise the amount of time, money and energy spent on these things, and devote those resources to efficient profit-generating activities.

When you’re scaling your business, a deep understanding of your client base will help you figure out which way to proceed. One of the key ‘lean’ principles is to build a measure-learn-feedback loop to validate your product at every juncture.

Starting with a minimum viable product continual monitoring, measuring and refining according to internal and external (client) feedback ensures a winning alignment between your product and what the market requires. Small enterprises that remain agile, innovative and attuned to their clients’ feedback stand the best chance to achieve sustained growth.

8. Manage Cashflow And Finances for scale to next-level growth

When growing from $200k to $1 million or from $5 million to $50 million you are going to need additional capital in the business.  Growing the business at a sustainable growth rate is important, this enables business owners to balance taking money out of the business with the increasing working capital requirements.

Managing finances and cash flow are critical, with monthly budgets (including profit budget) and weekly cash flow reports and forecasts.  Reviewing accounts receivables, managing account payables, implementing inventory best practices, appropriate trading and timely invoicing are all activities in managing cash flow.

9. Develop Management Skills

Developing a wide-ranging management skillset is essential before you scale your business. As a business owner, you’re used to wearing many hats during the foundation years of your business, but knowing how to effectively position the business, where the money is made or lost, teach, train and delegate tasks to your employees are mission-critical skills for scaling.

Scaling in business often requires bringing new personnel on board to avoid pain points and realising the value and optimising workflow so tasks aren’t concentrated in your hands.

For businesses looking to scale, you need to be prepared to move from “Owner” to “Leader”, and know where you best add value to the business to create a winning workplace culture that generates trust and mutual respect.

10. Put a Strategy in Motion

If you want to scale your business, you need to be able to develop and communicate the big picture strategy that envisions where you want the business to go, target revenue and what share of the market you want.

This strategy should include your endgame plan. Formulate a plan for leaving the market after you’ve scaled, whether you want to cash out, transition or make the company your personal cash cow. You need to have a clear vision.

Finally, to bring all these points together – Work on Your Business, Not in It.

The final step is to establish a professional structure for the business. The process of professionalising the business is the recognition of the importance of motivated, well-informed and talented people within the business as well as putting in place business plans, systems, process, technology and OKR’s to monitor performance. This includes establishing and formalising processes to implement the business plan, setting performance expectations with clear, well-defined goals and OKR’s, organising formal monthly management meetings, and nurturing the culture and values of the business as you grow.

Engaging and business coach or establishing an advisory board also contributes significantly to scaling up the business by providing sound, objective, independent advice.

Successfully scaling up the business can provide long-term sustainability and financial rewards for business owners, ensuring their personal income and freedom goals are achieved. 

Where are you with scaling your business for next level growth?

Is your business at a scale to provide you, the business owner with your income and freedom goals?

Contact us at Aligned 4 Growth for your gifted strategy sessions to find out how we can help you with scaling your business to the next-level growth.