Scaling Up Your Business in 2021
What do almost all small and medium-sized businesses fail at? Scaling up, growing, and evolving.
Whether it’s fear, complacency or lack of money or strategy to make it happen, we need to take advantage of the opportunity this year’s amazing business recovery is going to bring. It’s a rare boomtime you can get ready for right now.
You can call it growing or scaling up, or whatever you’re comfortable with. The point is that growth is good. In fact, your survival might depend on it. Without scaling up and ramping up, you have to ask if a business idea and all the associated work is even worth it.
Revenue might only flow when you take it to the big league level where you can leverage your content, SEO and sales strategy for real ROI.
Getting into the Big Leagues
It might not require genius, yet vision, clarity, strategy and energy are needed. And getting into the “big leagues” might require funding. A good example is a really good amateur men’s hockey team who because of their older players can play and beat NHL or top European teams. But at the end of the day, they’re still not a pro team in the NHL. They get no million dollar pay checks.
Just a little perspective on ramping up to compete effectively and reap the rewards you’re really wanting.
You can scale up by delegating, hiring contractors or new staff, increasing marketing spend, adding products, expanding services, or capturing marketshare.
A New Vision
Your old business likely won”t get there on its own. You’ll have to make it happen. The rewards could be amazing.
In this post, I’m suggesting a new vision of your business can be created and accelerated, and I’ve got some tips to help you through that process. And if you need a true scaling up expert level consultant you can check out Verne Harnish and the Scaling Up Workshops.
Grow as Fast as the Market Will Let You
As wonderful as slow, organic growth sounds, I know from experience that it often results stagnation, inaction and non-competitiveness. How about clearing your path ahead of you and growing as fast as the market will let you?
Opportunities rarely materialize slowly. They happen suddenly by virtue of market changes, luck, technology or because you made visibility and leads a priority for your company.
And if you don’t seize your opportunities quick, other businesses will swipe away all your hard work.
Slow Growth Creates More Opportunity for Your Competitors
While it seems wiser to grow slowly, that slow pace may actually leave more time for failure and competitor theft. Watchful competitors today, using AI can learn quick from your mistakes. That’s why experts say to fail fast, so you learn and grow quicker. Quick growth is actually growth at the best pace for you. You’re just removing errors in the growth process using trials, testing, and analytics to find your new sweet spot.
What is the essence of slow growth is actually fear, mistakes, friction, doubt, poor strategy, lack of focus, and weak belief in your brand, company and unique value proposition?
Fast growth takes brains but you’re smart. You can do it.
Part of this process of scaling up begins with visualizing what you might become. With that vision in mind, you’re able to cast off from the island of the past and sail forward with the wind at your back.
Don’t Let Your Past Dictate Your Future
It’s your marketing and your online presence that dictates which client prospects are going to learn of your services or products. If you’re not projecting your future into your marketing, you’ll end up bringing on new clients suitable to your past.
And many marketing agencies as an example, capture a strange, incompatible mix of clients, reflecting a confused business identity. The poor staff end up stressed out trying to build expertise and flawless performance in many different sectors. They get pulled apart at the seams. Then they quit.
Taking on clients in industries you’re not expert in means you can’t offer maximum value, so your revenues are lower. And saleable expertise is key since relevance, credibility and value add are key parts of the marketing agency value proposition.
Creating a clear business vision and promoting the correct expertise/value helps to create the right clients and build focused power in the work you’ll be doing.
And this vision keeps you focused so you achieve expertise and therefore begin charging higher fees/prices. It’s the same with any business. It’s not easy to see the full vision right away. It might only appear as you progress. That’s where faith in yourself comes in.
Intelligent Growth Keeps you Fresh and Vital
Growth means spawning new capabilities and services, which lets you tap into the latest sources of revenue, and continually positioning to persistently dominate your sector.
You can progress into a valuable, desired niche and create an irreplaceable product or service — a new brand so strong it stands on its own, impervious to competition.
That vision must have a foundation of clients who want your unique services and the added value you will keep on producing. It means finding clients with whom you can continuously add value. To add value, you must build and offer new expertise, technology and services.
To reiterate then,
Your published, promoted and highly focused unique value proposition creates the exact, right new clients, keeps you on path, and moves you into the most lucrative industries.
Yes, it’s the scaled up vision that will draw you into a better environment, one where you can significantly grow revenues.
So What could be your Scaling Up Plan?
Plans are for bankers. What you actually need is a strategy document, one that gets you where you need to be. You’ll be hacking for sure, but you want a core strategic vision that keeps you on track, year after year.
1. Evaluate and Strategize:
- at least draw up a one page business plan
- conduct a digital marketing audit
- create a multipronged strategic process that leads to your new scaled up success
- find out which lucrative service sectors you have experience in, and would enjoy venturing into
- consider and what gaps in services and pain points you can resolve.
- evaluate your current strengths
- consider what your potential business/service strengths might ultimately be
- formulate a potential value proposition and what would be needed in technology and staff
- project what your revenues and costs will be
- understand and record your KPIs, objectives, and progress
2. Find the Funding:
Scaling up will require funds. This is what stumps most companies and professionals. It’s a problem that startup entrepreneurs deal with right away. They don’t even start the business unless there are funds to scale up.
Find funding through active and successful business people who can use your services and who can see the potential of your future company. Venture funding people are too demanding, want control, and take your equity. Ideal investors have market knowledge, experience, and can help advise you on achieving your growth vision.
They may see more potential in your business than you do. A digital marketing agency for instance can move into many other areas of business (such as being purchased by a fast growing company and brought in house) or by being a key sales generator and source of innovation and guidance.
And marketing is what drives success for any business.
2. Secure the Clients and Sales:
Can you create new clients in the sectors you feel might move into? What resources and time are required to build your UVP, do marketing, establish a brand, and convert leads? What kind of marketing and business development activities will be needed? It’s best to approach a market that’s related to what you’re doing now. A natural progression to an appropriate clientele will be more comfortable for you and them. Will you be doing this via advertising and online lead generation?
Let’s say you’re a real estate agent who is ready to grow and start your own team or brokerage. Many Realtors could do this. They are professionally competent. And when their level of discomfort with the status quo becomes too much to bear, they start looking for new agents to work under their wing. In an era of real estate sales where teams survive and independents don’t, it’s a wise move.
I’ve seen many start this way, then put into high gear by hiring all sorts of associates. If you’re already bringing in traffic on your website, you only need to convert those leads better. Maybe look at software solutions to help out.
4. Use Software Automation
And here’s where AI marketing comes into play. There are solutions to automate many areas of your business from accounting, to email to content funnels, to sales automation. The point of automation is to improve customer experience and accelerate leads through the funnel. Then you have more time to spend with each prospect and your customers.
5. Find Relevant Partners or Staff
If you lack funding, it might be better to team up with a business partner with complementary skills and assets. There has to be a good fit with where you want to go. Teaming up with someone with similar skills isn’t going to extend your UVP. Ideally, they are on the path to where you’re headed.
Hiring contractors is the preferred, common approach today however, you could team up with a company serving in some capacity in the sector where you’re headed.
In the end, your business is but a reflection of your customers. In business, your customers are You. They shape your esteem, value, purpose, satisfaction, and ongoing success.
Consider that your current customers may be part of your scaled up success. In fact, you may be leading them to greater things and they’re aren’t aware of it. You’ve got lots to think about in visualizing what your new scaled up market positioning and value offer will be. Make sure it’s in demand and focused.
Ensure you’ve got the branding and online marketing skills and expertise you need as you venture forth. Good luck with what is going to be an exciting journey for you. Life will be better.
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