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Scaling Up – the awkward teenager phase of business

Many people are not a big fan of the scale. Usually it lies anyway.

… Unless we are talking about business. Riiiight. We are in fact talking about business, and in that case scaling is fabulous. There are many questions and concerns when it comes to this topic and there are many ways a business can scale up.

First, the terms growth and scale can be mistakenly interchanged, so let us begin by distinguishing the difference between the two.

Broadly, growth occurs when increases in revenue are linked to increases in resources such as the number of employees, the number of locations, how many customers it serves, etc. This is awesome but it does mean that financial growth is achieved while also experiencing losses (expenses/costs). Conversely, scaling is achieved when increases in revenue occur without also experiencing significant increases in costs.

Scaling up can be seen as the awkward teenage phase of a business.

Much like teenagers going through puberty, business owners may shy away from talking about this chapter of their business journey. We often discuss the fun and interesting parts that outline our success, but leave out the chaos and the messy middle – the setbacks, uncertainties, and growing pains. But this is when a business can break through to greatness!

Methods of scaling can include connecting with partners and industry influencers, implementing use of customer relationship management system…

…and formalizing your processes.

There I said it! My goodness it feels good to get that off my chest.

Formalizing (and then optimizing) your processes is a fantastic way to scaleup your biz. Doing so will help you to find gaps and bottlenecks, decrease errors and miscommunications, improve team performance, and improve the customer experience. This is especially true for a business that finds itself in the awkward teenage scaleup phase. Here are some ways to scale your processes while you negotiate the awkward.

Build a Solid Foundation

Determine the key processes of your business and write them out as they are now. The important factors here are to make sure that processes are documented, and that others can pick them up without having to ask questions at every step. Scaling your business requires that you remove yourself from some of the day-to-day, and in order to do that you need to empower the team around you to be able to carry out operations without your constant oversight.

Create an efficient system

Analyze where you can increase efficiency and scalability. Scalable companies document their systems and processes and then work to improve efficiency, effectively lowering costs and reducing time wasted, without sacrificing quality or performance. This can mean changes in the process itself, the people involved, or technology used.

Keep your core processes (step #1) as stable as possible while allowing other aspects to adjust around them. For example: scaling your marketing process can include the use of an email campaign platform. By implementing this you will be able to send emails to a greater number of people while your effort remains the same.

Leverage Automation

Using systems that put automations in place will decrease time spent on non-revenue generating tasks. Automations help manage workflows and improve overall productivity.

For example, a good customer relationship management (CRM) system will improve efficiency by guiding customer interactions without being hands on with every step, allowing you more time to put efforts into attracting new customers.

Invest in Process Development & Optimization

When you do not have the need for a full-time operations manager or COO, outsourcing process development and optimization allows you to hand operations off to someone else so you can focus on being a business owner. Freeing up your time to work on the business will allow you to put your visionary hat on and determine where you want the business to go. Then you have an integrator on-hand (your Fractional COO) to help you figure out execution strategies.

There’s a lot to digest, but it’s so doable! Take two minutes and think about it. If you have any questions, I know a tenacious Fractional COO and Business Optimizer. You can reach out to her by clicking here.


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