Does your business model allow you to scale? I have yet to meet one SME / SMB business or startup owner who is content with the current size of their business. They want to get bigger, serve more customers, expand the breadth and depth of their product offerings and expand the number, size and location of markets served.
You have heard the expression: be careful what you wish for. If your business model doesn’t allow for growth, you will chase after goals that may, literally, be outside of your business’s capabilities to reach.
Here are four key areas to put at the top of your To-Do List before you move forward and scale your business.
- Dissect your business model. What does your current business model look like in real time? Now dust off your original business plan (in the case of established businesses) or the business plan you used for that last pitch competition (for startups). Compare what your business model looks like on paper with how well you execute daily, monthly and annually.
- Be proactive. You may want to scale and grow; your business model may not provide a feasible means of maintaining even your current level of business. Create a means of measuring how often everything goes according to plan. Create a process for how to address the situation when your business model does/does not allow for consistency and high quality output, positive customer outcomes and positive revenue generation.
- Anticipate the chaos. Scaling a business is not a linear process. There is more involved than adding on a few people here and there to serve more customers or create more output. When you scale a business your growth will be logarithmic: every facet is impacted simultaneously. If your current business model doesn’t even resemble your original business model, what will happen when you have more customers, offerings and a global marketplace? Create a plan for how to scale infrastructure in preparation for growth.
- Obtain buy-in. When you scale a business, your leadership is tested. So will the motivation of your staff. Will everyone in your company agree with your vision to scale? If you are a small company or a startup, perhaps employees/co-founders will perceive that the informal feel of day to day operations will be lost as processes and systems are put into place. Some staffers want to show up, do their job, leave at the end of the day and receive a weekly paycheck. When you scale a business, the quality of your people will pivot in response to increased demands of your initiative – and that’s before you’ve even won your next customer.
Ponder these topics honestly and realistically. Address these issues with your staff. Look before you leap so you scale with purpose.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, catalyzes business transition, startup growth, and professional development. She works with non-traditional sellers like engineers, manufacturers, and technical startups to create sustainable business models and revenue strategies. She was named a Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencer 2014, for the second year in a row, by Top Sales World magazine.