In an article from Adam Grant called In the Company…
There’s a lot of talk today about scalability in business development. Even before an entrepreneur has made their first sale, they’ve already put considerable thought into how the business can be grown. If it can’t be grown, is it even worth pursuing?
You may not be ready to scale up, but you need to be thinking about it. If this is your first thought on scaling up and taking growth risks, then this should be an exciting time. You’ve got the perfect conditions. The US economy is beginning to roar and these windows of opportunity for growth don’t appear very often.
Scaling up is important. Taking your time when building your new business and ensuring you’re able to scale up may be what makes your venture the one in a hundred that survives. You’re not the only one who must believe in it either. Who would invest in a business that won’t grow or survive?
What’s remarkable about companies like Google, Virgin, and others is their passion for growth. There’s nothing old school about them. The culture of these companies is wide open for fast growth and development. They’re afraid of nothing. They were optimistic and quietly enthusiastic and that fed their belief in the value of scalability.
Google and Virgin: A Commitment to Growth
For Google, Larry Page and Sergei Brin were tech guys focused on making their search engine bigger and better. They could see the future back in 1998. Google was going to be successful. They had no idea that in ten years they would be billionaires, and making everything from driverless cars to eye glasses with an internet connection. They applied the lessons of scaling a search engine and applied that to their business. And you know the rest.
And Richard Branson saw only what his company Virgin Records wasn’t. That dissatisfaction compelled him to grow into airlines, mobile phones and even space travel. Again, growth and scaling up were the driving business development philosophy. That focus on growth became an essential part of their brand identity and brand image.
The growth rates were high. There was no complacent, slow growth model for these winners.
Whether you’re a small coffee distributor, artist, model/wingsuit flyer, real estate brokerage, or marketing agency, scaling up gives you the certainty that your business will compete and become even more profitable. Those are powerful motivating forces.
- Hire Skilled, Versatile Talent. Your workers are your UVP and product. Find those with more skills and knowledge bring more to your company and can contribute in many dynamic ways. Companies are starting to get this. You need staff who will be able to flex, adapt and grow quickly and who can help where help is needed.
- Use Software. The big interest in SaaS is because companies can create apps that allow workers to do more, and help more customers to interact directly with them. No big outlays of proprietary software that bogs them down. By outsourcing their software (e.g., Hubspot, Hootsuite, Google Docs, Google Drive, the Cloud), they can focus on their core competencies and not micromanage tech stuff.
- Think Big, Act Bold. Having an open imagination to see possibilities is a life or death thing now. But sitting around dreaming won’t get you anywhere. You need to act boldly, go beyond your current level of confidence and give yourself license to do whatever you want. The rules imprison. From your inbound marketing strategy to your produce/service development, keep a broad mind and be prolific. Continually sharpen and strengthen your UVP and marketing strategy and go for it!
- Work on your Business, not in it. If an entrepreneur/manager is plagued with micromanaging the nuts and bolts of businesses with his wrench set, he’s nothing more than a repair mechanic. Leave the work to the workers, and focus full force on networking, leads, and new business development. You are the businesses future.
- Find Good Financing. You can’t grow a business without money. Whether traditional asset-based financing with big banks, or crowdsourcing, ensuring you have the cash ready to grow is very smart. There’s nothing worse than having to sell equity to grow to the next level. If your business outlook is good and your brand looks good, someone will want to lend to you. Business loan market is enormous right now because businesses are growing.