What does it mean to “scale your business”?
'Scale' is increasingly being used as shorthand for 'scale up' (“to grow or expand in a proportional and usually profitable way”). I think it’s also important to understand that sometimes scale can be depth and breadth.
When looking at your business, I believe everyone needs to look at scale at some point along the way, no matter how big your company is, or whether you offer services or products.
Perhaps you need to scale in the ways that your time and energy is spent. That doesn’t fall into the “Scale Up” mindset, but in looking at ways you can maximize the time you spend with your business, it counts as scale.
My first experience with scaling came after I built a thriving real estate business in Northern Virginia. Because we move often, I was having a hard time letting go of the company I had created, the clients we had added to our business family, and the income that came along with both of those things. In 2016, when we moved from Northern Virginia, scaling meant expanding to a team model, where I now manage a team in Virginia, even though I’m thousands of miles away. I am also creating the same methodology here in Nebraska.
I didn’t “scale up” but instead scaled the expanse of locations in which I could serve clients.
Another way to scale is to exponentially reach more target clients by implementing systems that expand your impact with little change in the energy / time you’re spending - and we can talk more about that in detail later.
WHY is it important to scale your business?
Scaling is typically very important if you know you want to EXIT your business. Even if you’re years away from thinking about exiting, it is still a good idea to have an exit strategy. It is more important to plan a GROWTH strategy. Look at your business 3 years from now … 5 years from now.
What are your target goals:
in terms of revenue?
In terms of reach?
In terms of number of clients served?
Will the current SOP (standard operating procedures) still serve you in the future?
What needs to change in your daily operations between now and then?
Once you’ve answered those questions, work backwards to understand what kind of scale you need.
Can EVERYONE scale their business?
Scalability is about capacity and capability. Does your business have the capacity to grow? Will your business systems, infrastructure and team be able to accommodate growth?
Every business owner *can* scale but it’s important to know if that’s right for you. Sometimes scaling means landing investors, which means you lose control over your business.
In my business, scaling is defined as bringing on team members, and finessing our systems and brand messaging.
THREE TIPS TO SCALE A BUSINESS:
TIP No. 1: Evaluate = what missing pieces do you have in your business and where can you invite strategic advisors in to help you flesh out your missing gaps? (financial expertise, products or sales, staffing, etc.) Perhaps when you evaluate, you realize that you simply need a temporary board of advisors, or collaborative partners. This is where an amazing organization like FemCity comes in strong as a benefit. With resources like an international women owned business directory and amazing classes they offer (I’ve taught many classes with them!) to identify other individuals you could bring onto your team - even temporarily to help build processes and systems that will help you scale.
Tip No. 2: Create a new revenue stream! = For some of us, scaling can simply mean diversifying your offerings! If you currently teach a course, and each time, you show up live, consider scaling your business by recording some of that and offering more of an evergreen option so that you can bring in revenue without adding more hours to your day. For others of you, scaling your business may simply mean identifying a few trusted partners that you can be an affiliate with. For my real estate business, I scaled by creating a nationwide referral program that takes advantage of hundreds of Realtors that I’ve worked with over the years, whom I’ve built relationships with . . . to now connect those Realtors to individuals and families that I’ve met in person or on social media. When they find out they are moving, they call me, I match them with a vetted and trusted Realtor, and it provides a wonderful passive income - and allows me to scale.
Tip No. 3: Take a 30,000 mile view = you HAVE to be willing to look at your business with a critical eye. This is again where asking others to come in and help you take a look at your offerings and the inner workings of your business can be beneficial. Use the power of trust and relationship to pick apart your business. This is also helpful in allowing someone else to identify others ways you can grow, scale and diversify. We are often TOO squarely seated in the middle to see creatively.
What if you’re saying “I hear you Naomi, but there’s no way I can do this!”
Look for the holes and the gaps in your industry.
Are there ways you can immediately see opportunities for solutions?
If you’d like to talk more about scaling and ways you might be able to implement some of what I’ve shared, reach out and let’s discuss! Hop over to my contact page and let’s chat!