The word scaling can mean a LOT of things. Pause for one second and picture a scale in your head. What did it look like?
Was it a food scale or a body scale? Maybe you visualized the scales of justice, or perhaps it wasn’t even a noun, and you focused on scaling a mountain.
So let’s say that 80% of you reading this right now pictured a body scale. Even then, what purposes come to mind?
Are you looking to lose weight? Or perhaps you’re looking to stay consistent and monitor your health. If you’re expecting (congrats!), you want to ensure you’re gaining weight at a steady clip.
Your universe not only influenced your definition of scale, but it also affected the purpose you associated with the object.
Scaling your micro-business is no different.
So how do you scale your business?
Start with the end in mind.
Is your business trying to get lean, lose weight, and sustain itself? All of these would lead you towards a different scaling focus.
What are you trying to do with your business? Here are a few common ones — do you see your goals on this list?
Selling the company (someday)
Carving back time (and perhaps sanity)
Proving a business model is viable
Increasing your impact on the world
Begin with the end in mind: What’s your reason for scaling in the first place?
Identify your measuring stick.
Based on what you’re looking to accomplish and where you’re today, you’ll need to pick your measuring stick.
We tend to go to sales by default, and there is a time and place for that; but when you’re looking into getting investors, selling, or increasing your compensation, then profit is often the name of the game.
If you are in your first year and iterating on an idea, sales are usually the priority. In year one, you need to prove the viability of the concept. That is — will customers pay enough for the solution you have to their problem for you to make money?
Knowing what you want and where you’re at right now influences your measuring stick. Pick the right one, or you’ll get the wrong result.
Triage your flow.
Once you’ve decided on the measuring stick, you go through the flow from top to bottom to figure out where it’s getting stuck. Let’s take sales, for instance.
Are you attracting qualified potential customers (leads)?
Are you converting them from leads to interested buyers?
Are you closing them consistently?
Are you delivering well and creating satisfied customers?
Do people buy from you again?
If you can find the bottleneck, you can narrow in on the solution (or the diagnostics).
Once you figure out where you need to optimize, you can target the right changes for you.
Do you need to invest in automation?
Do you need to cross-train work?
Do you need to add value to your solution?
Do you need to invest in a team that gets the job done?
Are tasks being done at the right cost for the work?
What will it take for you to scale?
Scaling is not a one-time activity. It’s a journey you take by implementing a mindset of constantly getting a little bit better.
It starts with one small step for you but will be one giant leap for your company.