Article written by Tiffany Ghrist
You started your business. You had ideas, strategies goals, and took action towards them all so you could fast-track your way to success and never look back. Congratulations! You have hit your goal!
Maybe you’re familiar with the feeling that your business can’t quite “make it over the hump” and take things to the next level. You can’t seem to put your finger on it. You are just as eager and motivated to scale as you were to build but nothing seems to work. You may even find yourself feeling like you have forgotten everything you knew and did to get where you are!
Why do some businesses seem to gain more and more traction while others fall flat and plateau?
One word. Adaptation.
If we imagine a business as a house, the difference is that the first ones, having reached the limit of possibilities, change the roof to one that is sturdy and new, add solar panels, hire painters to give it a fresh coat inside and out, do some purging of items and upgrade the appliances. The second ones keep the old and outdated, and duct tape things together but do not change anything dramatically.
When you have hit your goals, no matter how long it took, it is really easy to fall into the trap of, “this is the way we have always done things.” With that, I ask you, are YOU the same person you were when you started? Are your ideal clients the same as they were on day one? What tools and resources have been introduced to the world that you have not taken advantage of? What do your processes look like, and are they efficient? Do you need a team? Do your marketing strategy and online presence still fit your brand and align with your core message?
If you could not answer the above brain busters with a positive response, it’s time to transform your business! Your answers are just a few signs that can be strong indicators of why you’re not growing. Unless you change them, your results won’t change. How do you know if your business needs to transform before it can scale up?
Often businesses look at sales, profitability, or market share as key indicators for success. Don’t get me wrong: Those are important measurements, but they don’t necessarily tell you what the real problems are. You need to figure out why your sales, profitability, and market share are off.
I encourage you to break your business and start over.
Yes, start at square one. Now, I do not mean scrap everything and starting completely over, but in order to get to where you want to go, you must first understand how you got to where you are.
Just as in the above example comparing businesses to houses, you can upgrade and improve an existing business if you take a step back to look at the big picture and see where to put your time and attention. Only then, can you make sense of how to get to the next level.
Create a new vision.
Sometimes businesses have been so busy “doing business” that they forget what they are all about. I invite you to go back to square one. When you started, did you have a clear vision of your “why”? Did you know what you wanted to accomplish? How did you plan to stand out and really connect with your ideal audience?
You probably answered, “yes” to these questions. So what’s changed from then to now? Take a look at your business in its current state and revise your vision. Answer these questions from a present to future stance. Sure, increasing sales and profit is a great goal to have when it comes to wanting to scale, but that’s not the only thing that you need to really motivate yourself and reignite that fire that pushes you forward.
The goal here is to do more with tweaks, improvements, tossing or restructuring what you already have.
Stop working. Build a vision that is in line with who you and your business are now and pave the way for where you want to go next and create a strategy to achieve this.
We talked about creating an updated vision, well we need some action steps in order to take this from an idea into action. Sit with the detailed goals you have mapped out for yourself and your next-level business. Break the items out into categories and brain dump any and all things you can think of that you will need to address and what you or your team will need to do to get these things done.
Without a clear strategy to accomplish your goals, you’ll be frustrated because nothing will happen. A solid strategy takes a hard look at exactly what steps you’ll need to take to fulfill your dreams (your vision)
Create your vision in these areas:
This category is for all efforts, new and old. The ones you plan to implement, improve upon, and the ones you are going to scrap. Where will you connect with your audience? What platforms work and what is not so impactful? Are there new places you can establish a presence? What can be done with low effort and high reward? What will your marketing message need to loo like to match your new vision? What are the competitors doing?
Do some market research to really dig deep and understand where you need to be and what you need to do and say to connect.
Unless you have a firm understanding of who your ideal client is, you will be throwing things into a bottomless pit.
Get really clear on who your avatar is today, what they want, how they shop, and what they do and don’t like. What are their traits? What are their priorities? And most importantly, what problem do they have that you can be the solution for?
As your business grows, you will need to appoint one more person in a vital position. This can be as simple as a Virtual Assistant to manage the day-to-day for you or you can start building a team. If you are looking at filling roles in your business, be ready to let go of a little control – that’s what theta re there for!
Map out what you do and do not like doing or what you are willing to let go of, then be clear on expectations so you can identify the right person for your business. It is important that this person (or people) not only have the skills you need but are also a match from a personality and values standpoint that are aligned with you and your business.
Products and Services
All of it. What do you offer? What can go? What needs to be improved? What is your audience looking for? Can you dust off an old service or program? Do you have an enticing product, service or program that has always done really well that you can focus on making even better? What do you need to let go of? Are you priced competitively?
A fast way to make more profit is to evaluate your pricing. If you have not revisited this in some time, you can be lowballing yourself and find missed opportunities in increasing your income with what you already have out there.
Processes simply mean how your business does things. If you are going to scale, you need to implement a standardized and repeatable process, with proper delegation, if applicable. When you first started, you probably either built as you went or built what you thought you needed before pulling the trigger.
So these processes serve you and your business? Can you replicate them? Are they easy to delegate? Where are you doing the same thing multiple times and creating extra work for yourself? A key to scaling is freeing up as much of your time as you can so you can focus on the bigger, better, and brighter future you have envisioned. What can get simplified or automated?
You need proper systems for accounting, project management, client management etc. Without them, you are going to be tied to your business 24/7 and things will fall through the cracks as you begin to scale.
If you are doing things manually, take a look at what your existing systems have to offer in terms of a more robust way to incorporate additional features that may be of use to you in your day-to-day.
Aside from creating a new vision and taking a look at strategies for how you can take new actions on existing aspects of your business, it is important to be consistent in terms of productivity. If you start an aspect of change in your business, stick with it to the end or you will be left with a big mess.
Too many companies fail when it comes to the execution of their plan. The trick here is to create milestones within each initiative you intend to take on. This is the only way you will be able to measure progress and adapt or adjust as necessary throughout the process. We can not measure what we do not track and going into a project blindly will surely not give you the results you intend to achieve. To track progress, it is important to make sure goals and responsibilities are clearly defined—and then tracking them to make sure they’re happening.
Transforming, scaling up, and growing your business can be an exciting and demanding proposition. It can also be a bit daunting. But the more you re-evaluate, the more you can be sure that you are focused on the right things at the right time. The things that will have the biggest impact should be done first and the larger, less impactful items can be pushed to the bottom of the list. Without a clear vision of what you want the future of your business to look like, you can not create a plan of action.
Without a plan of action, you can not begin to execute, and without knowing exactly what needs to be accomplished, and in what time and order, you will find yourself standing on that plateau rather than scaling. With these tips and tools in place, you’ll soon be well on your way to scaling up your business.