Scaling A Business - Are You Ready?
The answer is: You'd better be.
As we struggle to navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, we are dealing with a new world reality. Knowing if you are ready to scale is more important now than ever.
Technology is being utilized more as people are working remotely, afraid of being in an office together. Technology can keep things moving but for many businesses (like ours), it doesn't fully replace the personal, face-to-face meetings.
COVID-19 is forcing all of us to examine the inefficiencies in our businesses. It's forcing us to make decisions on people, how we communicate with customers, what services we provide, how we provide them, what customers are showing up and which ones are not. For the smart, good entrepreneurs, it's forcing you to look at your business differently and acknowledging and fixing what's no longer working.
There is a difference between scaling your business at a manageable rate and scaling your business at an unmanageable rate. As I've said before, faster isn't always better.
Rapid, high-scale growth often comes with curve balls. If you've never managed through those curve balls before, it can puta strain on your people, on facilities, and on vendors. When you are growing fast, it is harder to absorb demands from your customers, demands from your bank, and demands from your employees. Some entrepreneurs deal with it using brute force, others go down with the ship.
Growing your business at rapid scale - whether intentional or not - is very difficult. Few people can pull it off, and those that do may have a lot of luck on their side. It's much better to have a written plan round manageable goals and the rate of growth you are willing to engage in. It's a control issue. If you don't manage to control it, it will control itself. And that can be very dangerous for you. How do you do that?
First, you need to have a solid business foundation. If you don't have the fundamentals in place and the "J curve" happens, that can put you out of business. And at a minimum, cause unnecessary strain.
You need to have the basis built the right way, and in working order. Then you can - and should - start turning what Jim Collins refers to in his book, Good to Great, as the Flywheel.
The analogy of the Flywheel is a massive metal disk, mounted on an axel and weighing 5,000 pounds. It's your job to rotate it as fast and as long as possible.
You'll begin by exerting full effort and it will seem to take forever just to complete one entire turn. But as you continue to push, the turns gradually get faster and faster until the Flywheel's own weight and momentum is turning itself at an unstoppable rate.
If you tried to identify which turn effort caused the Flywheel to rotate on it's own, it would be impossible. Because it wasn't one big push that made the difference. It was your cumulative, collective effort applied consistently that resulted in the buildup and breakthrough.
This is the way to scale your business. It's not one major action or event that suddenly grows your business. You will keep making small herculean pushes. Eventually you will see yourself getting better at your business, and you will see the demand for your product or service increase. Everything will accelerate as you continue to find new ways to solve problems that come up. All of this happens at a faster and faster rate, gradually building momentum. You will recognize that it's not slowing down, but things just keep getting better.
Part of having a written, executable business plan in the beginning is to control your rate of growth, build a foundation and have everything in place to move that Flywheel. As that happens and you're realizing gradual growth and not linear growth - you will be growing at an accelerated rate, but on much more controlled basis.
So many businesses try to turn the Flywheel way before they are capable and able to. If you build a foundation first and then apply the Flywheel concept, your business will scale. And you will be ready.
What efforts are you making to scale your business? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn!