How To Scale Your Systems As Your Business GrowsSamantha Cordero
Have you ever tried to pour a gallon of water into a pint glass? If you’re picturing the ensuing mess, you’ve got a good idea of what it’s like to grow a business without scalable systems in place. It can be chaotic, overwhelming, and often, counterproductive. Here’s the thing – what worked to get you where you are today won’t work to get you where you want to go by the end of 2024. The tools and processes that served you well in the early stages may now be holding you back, just like that pint glass.
But don’t worry – it doesn’t have to be that way. Scaling your business doesn’t mean you need to compromise on efficiency or lose that personal touch that makes your brand unique. With the right scalable solutions, you can increase productivity, streamline operations, and foster innovation, all while maintaining the heart and soul of your company.
What To Have In Place For Scalable Growth
- Clear, Adaptable Processes
A clear and adaptable process is one that is well-documented, efficient, and designed to accommodate changes and increased demands giving you an advantage to manage growth effectively. Your processes should include clearly defined roles and responsibilities, streamlined workflows with minimal opportunities for inefficiencies, and the flexibility to easily adapt to evolving circumstances. When your business begins to scale, these established processes ensure that everyone knows their responsibilities, and tasks can be executed efficiently. Processes that are difficult to adapt with growth will show early signs of quality issues, delays, or errors.
- Choose Flexible, Robust Software
The right software choice gives you the option to use more features as your business needs it. It also allows you to stay with the same software. In the early days of your business, it’s likely you chose systems that made the most sense for your budget. Though, this often leads to puzzle-piecing multiple different software’s to make your processes work well. Instead, whenever possible, opt for the one software that accomplishes as much as possible within a reasonable budget. For instance, Hubspot or Keap can replace a CRM, email marketing platform, and a meeting scheduling software.
- Build A Strong Team
For me, a strong team is mainly comprised of people who are not only skilled in their area of expertise but can figure things out on their own, appreciate collaboration and teamwork, and are willing to help wherever their needed (i.e. not the people who say “that’s not in my job description”). Though, I do also advocate for having clear job descriptions that align with efficient processes but as you grow, you need people who are willing to dive in where it makes sense. This is the team that is going to be excited to contribute to the goals and overall success of the company.
How To Adjust As You Scale
- Have Job Descriptions & Hiring Priorities Ready To Go
Having job descriptions in place for future needs is like having your shotgun locked and loaded. It gives you the opportunity to map out the training and development of your current team so that they are equipped for potential promotions and prevents the overwhelm of wondering what kind of help you need when your team is almost drowning in work. When you need to hire, you’ll know exactly what to post for and how the team or processes may shift to account for new demand.
- Keep Customer Centricity At The Forefront of Processes
Maintaining customer centricity can sometimes feel like trying to keep balance on a tightrope. On one side, you have the need to streamline operations and increase efficiency. On the other, you have the commitment to delivering exceptional customer experiences. How do you find the balance? The key lies in adapting your processes with the voice-of-the-customer in mind. You never want to lose sight of what your customer cares about and how you contribute value to their needs.
- Lean Into Clarity & Transparency
With business growth comes change. And when change isn’t explained it brings with it questions and doubt in leadership. I once wrote about how communication is honestly everything in keeping clients and employees happy. Be open about the reason for changes and how those changes will affect certain team members.
What To Look Out For:
- Growth Points or Milestones
Set growth points to know when to implement changes. These might be at certain revenue milestones or based on client/customer capacity per team member. Knowing your growth points will help you be proactive in effectively scaling your systems rather than being reactive to pain points.
Bottlenecks are sneaky and often dismissed until real problems start to arise from them. I would argue that you can have better foresight to eliminate the potential of them happening in the first place. For instance, a common bottleneck is approvals. If a high-level manager is approving all client deliverables then as your client load increases, this is likely to turn into a bottleneck. You would want to reimagine who needs to give approval and at what step in a process it needs to happen.
- Decrease In Quality
If you fail on step 2 of scaling your systems (customer-centric processes), then you risk a decrease in quality of service or product. I would prefer your risk delays and other inefficiencies before you risk the quality of what you’re selling (not that I’m really a fan of either). Keep this in mind and set audits or metrics that can help catch potential quality issues before they occur.
- Growth Points or Milestones
Embrace Scalability with Confidence
Growth without scalable systems can lead to chaos. Scaling requires clear, adaptable processes, robust software, and a versatile team to create a strong foundation for success. But it doesn’t stop there. To maintain operational excellence, it’s crucial to have job descriptions and hiring priorities ready, keep customer-centric processes, and maintain transparency.
Throughout your scaling journey, watch for key growth points, potential bottlenecks, and any decrease in quality. Smart and sustainable growth keeps your business thriving, and we’re here to help. Whether you’re starting your scaling journey or looking to optimize your existing systems, we invite you to book a call with us for a comprehensive audit of your current systems. Let’s work together to ensure your business not only survives but thrives in an ever-evolving market. Your success is just a call away!