Do you remember my previous article where I mentioned:” It would help if you treated Scale as a particular and unique speciality, empower a team that leads it, build a culture that encourages it, followed by the proper governance in place”. Assuming that your business is ready to scale, these are essential 4 steps if you follow diligently; I promise you that it will hold the whole process together, and it will work effectively on your business and achieve the desired growth.
I always start by asking the question: why do you need to scale your business? You are ok, doing well, plus or minus 10% yearly; do you not need the extra headache? Well, let me be clear, scaling is not a walk in the park and is not for everyone and every business. Because scaling means increasing the size of your business, the size and scope of your operation, any attempt to expand on that can backfire.
Therefore, Scaling is for daring entrepreneurs, business owners who are brave, ambitious and willing to go the extra mile to create a leading position within their geography and competition. This means sweat and tears, sleepless nights, and knowing that they will fail at times. It is not that dark because you will celebrate small or big successes, and with the right mindset, you will learn from failure and grow throughout the journey. Those leaders are willing to hire a team of superstars that are better than them; they are happy to let go of control and lead with empowerment, responsibility and accountability. If you relate to this form of leadership, then you will find the below extremely useful.
Many customers work with us because they are stuck and reached a plateau; yes, they might have achieved growth initially but hit the ceiling afterwards. Other clients lack knowledge about scaling and how to grow their business sustainably. Some are a little scared of the unknown of such a journey. For the latter, I always say, we will always be able to deal with what comes diligently; the unknown is an illusion and can turn into fear which is the oldest enemy of growth and progress.
The 4 steps to consider, to accelerate growth and scale your business
1. Treat Scale as a particular and unique speciality
If you want your business to accelerate revenue, grow market share, create more significant social impact, double or triple its size, you need to treat Scale as a unique speciality. This is why amazing programmes like Scaling Up exist and, in our case, the 2Y3X programme. Treat Scale, similar to a new product or a new project, and start by calling it “PROJECT SCALE”.
And like any project, it starts by assembling a team, preferably of 5 or 6 max, as there is much evidence that the bigger it gets, you will spend more time on coordination and less time doing the actual work.
Things to consider when establishing “PROJECT SCALE.”
- you will have to assemble a team and, in this case, make sure they are top performers,
- agree on a goal or set of ambitious goals, metric-driven goals,
- create a clear timeline,
- identifies stakeholders that could influence positively or negatively your success,
- develop a list of initiatives,
- put KPIs in place
- and schedule regular check-ins weekly, monthly or quarterly.
2. Empower a team that leads it
When your business starts to scale at an accelerated rate, things can begin to crack, vulnerabilities begin to be exposed, and sometimes you can’t always fix them on your own, especially when the journey has started. You could be held back by your technology, processes, cash flow, team, gaps in your supply chain or all of the above and more. Therefore you need to know in advance that scaling up and growing your business will affect your company – you must be ready, and your processes must be robust.
This is where the team in charge of “PROJECT SCALE” becomes handy. They will be on a mission to achieve Scale at Speed; therefore, choosing your a-players and top performers for this job is crucial to the success of this mission. This does not mean the most senior ones; in fact, this team, if possible, needs to be as diverse as possible on gender, ethnicity, experience level, and specialisation, but all have one thing in common: top performers committed to getting the job done. A team covering all your bases allows you to move efficiently and quickly reach your goals.
Some of what brings this team together and helps them to deliver “PROJECT SCALE” successfully
- alignment on goals,
- going through the team-building journey of forming, storming, norming, and performing,
- empowering decision making,
- creating accountabilities (do not mix between responsibility and accountability),
- allowing competition,
- making sure that they develop and own the plan,
- consider outsourcing if needed.
3. Build a culture that encourages it
Building a culture does not happen overnight. What if this culture encourages Scale at Speed. It might sound unattainable or challenging; however, the secret lies in what I call Consistent Momentum, with capital C and M. As time is the essence of what you are trying to achieve, it becomes crucial that momentum is created, and felt at all levels of the organisation. Every individual or team need to realise that she/he is an integral part of it.
Things can massively change when your business is growing at an accelerated rate, and when change comes into play, resistance to change becomes imminent. New dynamics will compete for your time and attention, which is of scarcity. As the business owner or the leader, you need to make sure that Scale is not deteriorating your culture but, on the contrary, adding value to it. How to remain empathic, be a good listener, safeguard your values so that your people and the organisation does not suffer on the way, and more.
To do that, few things to consider when building a culture around “PROJECT SCALE.”
- start with purpose and align your people around it
- have a consistent momentum and campaign it,
- establish culture-related goals as part of the plan,
- encourage feedback and lead by example
- foster open and honest conversations and be truthful
- create a clear set of processes that the team can lean on; it promotes safety and clarity
- celebrate, celebrate, celebrate small or big, wins or failures
Put proper governance in place
What glues all the above together and help you reach with “PROJECT SCALE” to the finish line is proper governance. And this is not only about compliance, but most importantly, it is about performance. With that, you can eliminate as many as possible blind spots, mitigate risks, identify pitfalls and most importantly having a set of scenarios and responses that comes along. For it to work, you need to consider having two crucial things in place, your “Music Notes” and your “Orchestra Conductor”; yes, suppose you have a band at a concert, how would you think they perform without their notes and their lead or conductor?
Your notes will be a robust and tested Framework that will hold the process together, and the conductor is the Scale at Speed consultant, who plays multi roles to keep things on track and the team feet to the flame to remain focused; she/he will monitor performacne, be a coach at times, a facilitator, a guide or a mentor. Having both from day one is essential to keep the integrity of “PROJECT SCALE” seeing it coming to fruition.
Things to consider when executing governance for “PROJECT SCALE.”
- follow up on the agreed KPIs
- deploy a robust framework or strategy map, with the end goal at your sight
- develop the road map that will take you there
- create your risk registry and keep a close eye on the potential challenges
- Keep stakeholders regularly updated as you Scale,
- Try to predict the future with the proper data and creating regular alerts
- get external help
If you want your company to Scale at Speed, you’re going to need plan on how to scale your business.
By focusing on scaling rather than merely “growing” your company’s finances, you can generate greater revenue without ramping up costs or diminishing resources along the way.
I know that Speed is not always synonymous with sustainability. Now what 2Y3X does is create sustainability within Speed and Scale by utilising a robust set of tested and proven frameworks. To know more about the 2Y3X programme and get help to scale your business at Speed, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.