What’s holding your business back? The end game of scalability in business is constantly repeated and is sometimes tossed around as a meaningless corporate buzzword. Far from it, however. The truth is scalability, by definition, can’t be an end goal. It’s an ongoing pursuit of not just steady growth, but ever expanding room to grow. This means resources, team members, and profit margins that are designed and ready to meet the demand that comes with growth.
Small businesses come along with their own set of challenges. Half of all small business struggle with hiring new employees, increasing profits, and growing revenue. Coincidentally, businesses with low scalability also struggle with these issues. Regardless of the size of one’s business, there is always room for scalability, and that means a truly critical look at operations. For passionate entrepreneurs, objective looks at internal operations may be challenging and for the more stubborn among them, even downright impossible. Fears of failure aside, touching base with every department, no matter how small, can give fascinating insights and help guide improvements. If you find your business’s operating costs increase as sales increase, internal systems aren’t design to or don’t have room to grow, or if you’re still doing “everything yourself” as CEO, your business probably isn’t scalable.
Before giving your business room to grow, give yourself room to grow. Many entrepreneurs, especially in the early days of their business, grow accustomed to managing the day-to-day operations. Born out of necessity, this phase cannot last forever and yet all too often becomes a bad habit and turns well-meaning business leaders into compulsive control freaks. An effect known as decision fatigue sets in, understood as a condition developed when one is faced with too many, big and small, choices to make during the day. What follows is delayed or avoidance of decisions, status quo maintenance, and reluctance to take risks. A micromanaging business leader with depleted mental energy is one of the biggest threats to scalability in business, but it’s not the only one.
Scalable businesses are staffed with competent individuals, confident decision makers, and intuitive problem solvers. Their operating systems, digital and otherwise, have room and capabilities to handle increased workloads and data sets. Overhead costs to not increase drastically as sales go up or new clients come in. Scalable businesses play to their strengths and outsource when necessary to avoid overburdening a team with unreasonable expectations, and in these cases, a scalable business will only pay for what outsourcing they need. Efficient scalability will keep profit margins high as your business grows. Period.
If business is a car, then scalability is the road it drives on. Pave the way for the success of your business by looking towards scalability, relinquishing control of daily operations, delegating tasks and decisions, and start focusing on the big picture. Your business will thank you for it. Take a look at this infographic for more on the art and science of scalability, how it helps every size and every kind of business, and the competitive edge that comes along with it.
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