Do you have a strategy in place for scaling your business? Are there new products or services that you want to offer? Maybe you have a new geographic area that you want to see your business open in? Where will you generate the funding to explore these new and exciting options? To execute the visions and goals of scaling, it is important to work through potential pain points with your business and create a thorough plan for how the business will be successful.

The perspective of scaling can be explained best in this quote:

A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.

Steve Jobs

One of the first distinctions that we need to make is a clear understanding between scaling and growth. While they are closely related in meaning, scaling is linked to your processes and operations, while growth is linked to the sales and revenues of the business. Establishing this will help to create the mindset you need to start the planning process and which areas to concert your time and efforts towards.

What does it look like to scale your processes and operations?

The word replicable is used a lot when understanding if your business model or processes are ready to scale. When you create a process within your business, is it something that is applicable to a majority of the situations and people within your business?

The goal is to “furtureproof” your processes. This concept is a goal to work towards when thinking about a process to put in place. It allows us to be proactive versus reactive and think about a process and how it interacts with our business in the future, versus serving an immediate need. What steps can you do to make the process grow with your business?

Three areas of focus when scaling your business.

1. Human Capital

As you look towards scaling what you do, have you looked at who is going to do it?

Putting a plan in place for succession of positions will be crucial to scaling how you operate. People are the essence of what makes your business move forward. It is important that they know where you are going and how they will be a part of it.

2. Technology and Automation

What processes do you currently do that you would be able to automate or where would you be able to implement new technology. This can also include outsourcing parts of your business to allow for more time to work on the vision. This may include:

  • Payroll Processing
  • HR Reporting
  • Social Media Management
  • Insurance and Benefits

3. Cash Flow

Cash is the factor that makes any business move forward. Are you funded to work through a new expansion or process implementation? Understanding where those funds come from and how they will be allocated creates a clearer picture on what it will take to scale your company. Here are examples of where you may start with understanding your cash flow for this situation:

  • Have our sales increase but our operational costs stayed low?
  • If it will take X dollars to scaling, what will I need on hand to operate after?
  • Is there a back-up plan if it takes longer to implement?

Application of Scaling

We can take the example of hiring and on-boarding a new team member to explore processes and how they can be built for scaling your business. Intentionality with the processes is important. Focus on enough detail to give a call to action and direction on what needs complete, but refrain from using specific names, dates and locations. Here is a great article on the art of on-boarding a new team member.

Below are examples of scalable and non scalable processes:

Scalable Non-Scalable
Team member 1 will report to Human Resources on day 1 and fill out new hire paperwork. Team member 1 will see Joe on Tuesday, April 20th to complete the Iowa Labor Forms
Team member 1 will tour with the office manager and meet the team. Team member 1 will tour with Joan and meet Jake, Drew, Mark, & Susan.
A follow up meeting will be set up with Team member 1 by their assigned leader to go over questions from the first week. A follow up meeting will be set up with Team member 1 by Jim to go over questions from the first week in the Des Moines Office .

These are just a few examples of how processes can be specific but also transferable from person to person or location to location.