If we think about scaling a business, we often think about things that we have to do. You have to focus on the right tasks. But focus is defined by the things that are in it, as well as it is defined by the things that are not.
This blog post will shed light on the things you have to stop doing to scale your company. And by doing so, take this not only as a recipe to improve your scaling efforts but maybe also as a test to see if you really want to scale – or if you instead are happy with things how they are (which is a great place to be in).
Here we go!
Stop doing what you love
That sounds harsh, I know. What I mean by this is: You as an entrepreneur have started a business usually out of something you’re good at. May that be selling, consulting clients, manufacturing drinking bottles or brewing beer. Because you’re good at it, you gain customers, and your company grows.
At this point now, where you want to scale, you have to shift your focus from manufacturing, selling or serving to building a company. This will still contain what you did before, but your view is different. You try to create a system that can do whatever it is you’re doing without you. Take over the CEO task and manage your company, not the next client account.
Stop chasing revenue
In the early days, cash is the most valuable metric. Usually, we take on many assignments that are not our core business and experiment with side projects as long as they bring in some money. So what’s the problem here? Well, if you want to scale, you’ve got to build an organization that handles the tasks. You can only build an organization for a more or less known set of tasks. Whatever assignments you take on that are not part of your core offer will require attention and resources that often far outweigh their benefits and also dilute your ability to operate effectively. So, as the CEO of PointClickCare Mike Wessinger stated it, chase markets, not revenues. Scale your company tackling a market you know, not ever-changing tiny contracts.
Stop protecting underperforming team members out of loyalty
For sure the hardest part. In the early days, many companies need to hire on a budget. You often bring on great people, and nothing beats the cohesion of the initial team. But in some cases, you will also have team members in your team that you are loyal to, but that are not the right fit for scaling the organization to the next level. You have to let those people go or reassign them to tasks they are a good fit for.
Stop to dig into every little detail of your operations
When scaling a company, it can’t be you checking if the last invoice was paid. It can’t be you, quality checking every bit of work that goes out to a client. You get the point. To be able to do that, there are several steps involved. First, you need the right people. People that you trust to get the work done. Second, you have to have a clear mission and values you’re organization operates by. This will guide your team on how to complete tasks and approach problems. Third, you’ve got to build an organizational and a meeting structure to make sure everyone knows what they’re responsible for, and communication is exchanged regularly. And one hint here: Don’t trust Gurus, who will tell you automation is the key to scaling. It’s not. Clear responsibility and accountability are. Fourth: With that structure in place, delegate effectively. Delegate responsibilities, not tasks. Do follow up (delegating doesn’t mean pushing a task over the table and think about it never again), but don’t micro-manage. With those four things in place, you should be well able to stop diving into the weeds of operations. But another honest word: This requires hard work and commitment from your end. No secret recipe here, just constant work to make your organization more autonomous.
Stop locking yourself up to get some deep work done
When you transform your small business into a large company, your role changes. Regardless of what you work on, also the way you work will change. If you like to lock yourself up for three to four hours a day to get some deep work done, this will most likely have to end as well. Your role as the CEO is to manage the company’s growth. In that role, your job is to align all the different players, set strategic direction and make sure the organization works in the same tact. Your day-to-day will consist of communication for the most part. Also, you will be not close enough to the topics anymore for it to make any sense to work on things alone. You will instead have workshops with your team to determine what to do about it than figuring it out alone. You will have to stop locking yourself away to dive into one question.
Are you ready to scale?
After reading all this, do you still want to scale? If you don’t like the prospect of not doing all these things anymore, then maybe scaling isn’t for you. And that’s a perfectly fine decision. Your company is such a big part of your life, run it in a way that it leaves room for all the other things that might be equally important. I still recommend making use of the above approaches, because they have the potential free up time and make your life easier.
If you think, “Great, I can stop all those things. Let’s do this!”: Awesome, this will be the first step to prepare you for the journey. A lot more challenging tasks to come!
Please let me know your comments in the section below.