5 Giant Steps to Scale Your Business
Last time, we looked at potential obstacles you might face in the earliest stage of your business. While you can’t always predict when your company will begin experience rapid growth, you know you it won’t likely do so without some planning. You’ll need to be bold enough and action oriented enough to take these five giant steps to scale your business into a larger entity.
Step 1- Consider your Price/Value Relationship
As you get better at providing your specialized products and services, you’ll want to find ways to deliver it faster and more efficiently. You’ll also begin to see the areas where you AREN’T getting any better. Perhaps you are slow to bill your customers. Perhaps your marketing could be better planned and more efficient. You realize that if you could get those one or two lagging issues under control, you could also raise your price, but you can’t seem to get ahead of it. You realize that if you are only ever covering your costs, you will never have the money you need to grow. This is a great time to find a partner that’s strong in the areas you can improve upon. When looking for a partner, check to make sure they have a cohesive partnership structure already in place; where the process is simple, the model is transparent, and the agreement is equitable.
Step 2-Find Ways to Cut Costs AND Free-up Cash
Just as important as making sure your price/value relationship is clear to your customer, you’ll also want to find ways to minimize the costs of what you are delivering, without under-delivering to your customer. Always look first at how assets might be recycled within the company before throwing them away. Look at areas in which one person might take on additional responsibilities before you hire another person.
Consider selling a small number of your accounts in order to:
- Pay off debt or free up capital for growth
- Compete more effectively with large competitors
- Buy out a partner
- Fulfill a succession plan
If your company is “renting” any part of what it takes to deliver your product or service, see if it makes sense to create a partnership where you can strike a better deal when your volume grows.
Step 3- Create Packages or Levels
If you haven’t done so already, it is critical to “bundle” or package your service levels with an easy way to upgrade. This accomplishes two important goals:
1) Customers a better idea of all of the work you are providing at their current level and 2) They gain an understanding of how much more is available to them for a minor increase in cost. Your customer will always be aware of the option to move to a higher level of service at any point (or even a lower)—and you reduce cost of marketing additional services if the options are always visible.
Step 4- Work On Your Business, Not In It
Most struggling entrepreneurs focus on the wrong things. It’s hard to stop focusing on “what got you here” to begin to focus on “what will get you there” in a strategic way. Without some sort of intervention to shift your attention; you’re destined to stagnate.
To gain an understanding of the core activities you need to be laser focused on as the leader and visionary, you may need a stable, knowledgeable partner to guide you with your strategy. If you decide to go at it alone, know that you’ll need to become extremely disciplined in setting aside the majority of your day “to plan” rather than “to do”.
Step 5- Establish Key Relationships
Yes — you need to know your stuff. But you also need help from others. It’s all about connections. By connecting yourself both “forward” to those who influence your customers; as well as “backward” to those who effect the quality of your products (suppliers) and bottom line (potential partners) remember this adage—in order to grow; it’s all about who you know.
As the wise elders say, “you’re either busy growing or you’re busy dying”. Take these five giant steps as soon as possible and keep yourself busy growing. You’ll be glad you did.