Have you ever noticed how many different types of bridges there are? Beam bridges. Truss bridges. Arch bridges. Suspension bridges. They’re all different, and yet they all hold the same purpose: to take people from one place to another in a way that would be inconvenient or even impossible were the bridge not there.
Consider this, too: wherever there is now a bridge, there was once someone tasked with designing it. Someone decided what two points needed to be connected. Then they found the best design to connect them, and the materials to do it.
If you’re a business owner, you’re a bridge builder. You’ve taken on the task of getting your business from one point (now) to another (the future). To get there, you have to build the right span for your business.
That bridge is called scaling. Entrepreneur magazine defines scaling as “the point in the existence of a startup where it experiences positive growth. The kind of growth depends. Most of the time, scaling up involves acquiring more employees, seeking more capital or spending more on marketing. Usually, it’s accompanied by more sales.”
But scaling can be a huge challenge! All too often, business owners see growth start and get so busy putting out fires that they aren’t able to grow well. In the long run, that can hurt your business. Here are five ways to prepare for growth now so that you can get to the place you want to go sooner and more smoothly.
Develop a partnership mentality.
When new business starts rolling in, you’re going to have to have systems in place to support it or you’ll be scrambling. Go ahead and have players in mind NOW for when you need to grow. If no one comes to mind, then now is the time to start networking and thinking about which people or companies you’ll want to work with to get the new orders completed or new jobs done. Think of these as the partners who will support you. Then, figure out who can help you get to the place you want to be.
Outsource what you or your team can’t handle.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but this is one way you can develop offer more and develop a larger “team” quite quickly. When someone comes knocking for more than what you can give, outsource it to someone else, requesting it come back in what’s known as “white label” form. Your bill your client for the full package at a rate that is profitable for you. And just like that, you’ve grown your offerings and your client walks away with a more full-service experience. That’s scaling.
Know where you want to go, but be willing to pivot quickly.
Goals are vital for business growth. You definitely need them in order to go anywhere with your work. But it’s important, at the same time, to be willing to pivot–to change–quickly. If you get stuck in thinking your plan is the only way to get where you want to go, you might miss opportunities that come your way unexpectedly. No, we are not at all saying that you need to say yes to every opportunity that comes along. Quite the opposite–we support wise decision-making and thoughtfulness. However, it’s dangerous to get stuck in one way of thinking. Be open to different methods and willing to change if it will get you someplace even better or the same place even faster.
To that end, we all have to stay customer-centric. What do your customers need? How are they responding to your current offerings? Listen to them. Ask them! (And we have to add here that if you are too busy to do any of this, it’s time to hire one or more virtual assistants to take some of your workload.) And then respond by offering the products and services that will delight them.
Be willing to go slowly if it means you build a stronger base.
Yes, growth is good. It is, for most businesses, the goal. But too much, too soon, can backfire. If you can’t deliver what you promised to them, then it can leave clients and customers with a bad taste in their mouth So if quick growth will undermine your ultimate goals, be willing to go a little slower and sharpen what you need to. THEN you’ll be ready to grow off that good, deep base.
Take a good look across the way and at the future. We see your business there. Do you? You are the one who gets to build the bridge to get there. You’ve got the vision, now it’s just a matter of getting the right team, materials, and timeline in place. Scale well. Then, grow well and serve more people, for longer.