Is Your Business on the Right Path to Scalability?
By Adrian Davis
May 14th, 2012
There should come a time in every business owner's career when they should look at their company and ask themselves "Is my business on the right path to scalability?" The answer should always be YES! Scalability, for those not in the know, is the ability to grow a business that can manage an influx of clients and employees while reducing costs and increasing profit margins. A truly scalable business is one that can virtually run itself, or at least continue to function under new employees, new technologies, and even new management. The first step to becoming scalable is to take a step back from your work, and begin to manage. Only then will you have the creative energy to set up the framework that is necessary for true scalability. So if you answered NO to the question above, here are a few ways to turn your business around and grant it consistency, productivity and profitability.
Give your company an area of expertise
It may seem best at first to boast many areas of expertise, or offer a large variety of products that span the wide imagination of the consumer, but you'll find as you begin to grow that a business of this sort is difficult to scale. To start, any help you hire on will have to undergo a rigorous introduction to your services in order to be fully knowledgeable in all that you offer. This is time and money gone. Furthermore, in generalizing you lose the chance to be a specialist, and a specialist is what you want to be. This narrowed focus will make it easier to systematize your business, will simplify the education process of future employees, and will enable you to be more valuable to your customer (a specialized knowledge of your service will give you a chance to become the go-to for your service and give you an edge in competition). This will give you control in your field, and will make it easier to measure your success and scalability.
The creation of a repeatable system
This process is meant to streamline your business and to suit it more to scalability. When assembling an efficient framework you should go to your past experiences (how you have done things, and how effective they have been), while looking towards the future. It should include what you do, how you do it, and why you do it. With a system in place you can ensure that no matter who is hired on, they are working to achieve goals your company has previously set. This will help your company to grow within your vision, without the need of micromanaging. It will also make sure that your internal structure doesn't become horribly convoluted and confused as your company and client base expands. While it should have a stable skeleton that stays consistent, your system should be able to grow along with you. You should include measurable goals to make sure that your system is working. It's easier to document these procedures when what you have to offer as a company is narrowed and directed.
Don't only depend on your "super-workers"
It will always help your business to have an ace in the hole, one of those well rounded, highly skilled workers who could carry your business or their department on their back. The danger of these workers is that they aren't scalable, they won't be around forever and generally what costs you've saved while employing them will leave when they do. If your company can't be run by anyone else apart from the highly capable, then your business has too much risk and isn't scalable. What if one of these workers drops off the face of the earth one night? Are they likely to take all the productivity with them? You can't always count on an influx of people willing to over-work themselves, so you need fall back on a system that your employees can follow. Depend on your rank and file, because they will give you the most consistency. If you increase their productivity and streamline their work towards a well-defined goal, they will not disappoint. This process can then be repeated every time you have a new influx of employees.
It's important that your business becomes both wanted by customers now, and is scalable so as to make room for future customers. One without the other will give you a lopsided business model that's sure to tip over. Making your business scalable is granting your business a future, and giving you a chance to reap the benefits that only productivity and security can bring.
Adrian Davis is a JournalEngine licensee, business strategist and trusted advisor for chief executives and business owners. He is a thought-provoking speaker and is frequently called upon to address senior management teams and sales groups on the subjects of corporate strategy, competitive advantage and sales excellence. For more information, please go to www.adriandavis.com.
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