If you are thinking about scaling your business then listen to this episode to make sure you get the timing just right.
There are certain foundations that you need in place if you want to scale your business. Without these, you could be making yourself into a busy fool. And while there is no ‘one way’ to scale – there are many ways to peel an orange.
In this episode, I walk you through everything you need to have before you start thinking about scaling plus when you might want to think about scaling back to position yourself as a market leader.
Scaling a business is done best through the process of learning, testing and trying to see what works. You can then continually improve. I also re-released an episode about why continually releasing new programmes will keep you at square one. While brand new is exciting, it is not necessarily an improved product.
When is the best time to scale?
This is the most critical question. People come to me because they have big dreams and ambitions to build this market-leading business. So if you want to build a market-leading business you have to scale in some way. Therefore, this question of when to scale is often on the minds of those who work with me.
There is always a right time to scale. We can create amazing market-leading positioning but your business needs to catch up with that positioning. You need momentum, to grow an audience, to get to your desired stage.
Giving real business foundations in terms of client acquisition can hold a business back from scaling. You do need to have built a large audience or a consistent prospect-generating method that is proven to convert them into clients. Otherwise, if social media is just your method it is such a risk. It is not consistent and leaves everything to chance.
Even a Facebook group is better than a personal or business profile. Even then, Facebook owns it and can close it at any moment.
Start building your list. Absolutely build your Facebook Group but pull that traffic onto your list. Otherwise, you can lose people at a moment’s notice. We have seen huge drops in Facebook Groups. Landscapes change and people’s behaviour changes. So build a consistent foundation where you give your prospects a home but also several homes.
You need to grow an audience quickly
We have campaigns that will grow an audience quickly. In the last three years, we have had a Facebook Group and grown it through campaigns. Then we have a large email list. We have a large number of people in our business eco-system we can sell to.
If you only have the people who you market to on social media, then now is not the time to scale. You need to build the business foundations first before you get to this point. It doesn’t mean you can’t build a group programme in the meantime, if it’s suitable. But let’s think about what we need to do to prepare to scale.
Your methods and processes
When you work with people, is it bespoke? For example, you work with people 1-1 and then you work to an end goal. Perhaps that process is bespoke and you change it for each client. It is great for your clients but this is not great for scaling. So you need to look at your processes.
This comes back to the Unique Magic Bullet – your personal methods of getting people to where they need to go. It doesn’t mean you cannot add extras in or be flexible and change things around. It could be a framework versus a step-by-step but you need to know what this is in order to scale it. There are different ways of scaling.
How are you going to scale?
It is not always possible to scale in the same way that someone else has. For example, I have a client who is struggling to scale. She has seen someone else scale in a very process-driven way. My client is building clarity in people’s minds, and this does not work in a tick box way. There is probably some framework there and some one-to-one work. Therefore, my client needs to scale in a very different way to the other person with the tick box process.
How do you do it when there are nuances there such as a different type of teaching? And a different type of coaching? We have to think instead of automating the process, think about getting others to step in so that you do not need to do the one-to-one. Maybe it is a hybrid of self-study and 1-1 work. You have to think creatively.
There is more than one way to peel an orange when it comes to scaling and you have to pick the right scaling model for you that works. This may not be bunging in self-study and putting it on a funnel.
What audience are you selling to?
You also need to understand the audience that you are selling to and what you are trying to scale. If you try to scale a product that people currently pay a lot of money for – they are further along in their journey and want someone to tell them what to do. You need to think long and hard about how to scale this. This type of person will not want a self-study.
You have options here. Do you build a team of people around you who deliver and you take a cut of that money? So you are growing a team of 1-1 experts. Do you change your audience? You keep your 1-1 work and build a different product for a different type of audience. It is almost like starting again.
Nail your messaging to scale
Have you nailed your messaging for this particular type of product in order to scale it? Do you have people drooling over what you put out there? Are you selling it easily as a 1-1 or in a small group programme? This will mean that you can then take it and put more people into it.
If you do not get the buy-in then you are in trouble. You cannot scale something when no one wants to buy it. You need to make sure your articulate what the product does but also what problem you help them with. Is this a wanted outcome? If not, go back and make sure your messaging is right.
It is great to think about scaling – that is ambition – we also need to take things in stages.
Sometimes it may mean you need to scale back on your process. What do you do that might not work in a group setting or for another expert to deliver? We either need to find a solution for that part or we need to take it out.
In order to scale the product, there might be part that you need to take out and use as a 1-1 upsell. So sometimes scaling is about scaling back.
Have you tested your methods? Do you know that it works? Have you done a beta-test with more people and do you know it gets results at scale? Do you have testimonials, and social proof that it works? To draw more people in, you need to think of these elements, too.
So before you run off with trying to scale, you need to know what you are running on. Have a look at that roadmap and where that is going to be taking you. Consider all of these elements and that your Unique Magic Bullet and methodologies are in place.
Many people think they are going to scale so want to sell to a new audience, you need to go back to square one. You cannot scale immediately. You need to test that audience and understand if it works. If you go ahead and build a course only to find it does not work, you have wasted a tonne of time creating it.
Create as you go
Start that beta test and create as you go and see what they need. Do that market research. Including the deep client market research where you have got someone to pay you for the results and to take them through that process. So that you can really see under the bonnet what is going on for them and what works. While never forgetting the reason they have bought from you in the first place.
Where they started is why they bought from you – so think about the messaging for this and not where they are right now. Keep the reason they bought from you front and centre. Sell them what they want, give them what they need. Test this over several people as the needs may be different with the same want.
How can you systemise and process the different needs into the offering? Understand if it’s a common problem or an anomaly. You need to think about this when scaling and this is how I help people in Elevate. To look at that process, ensure they have the right foundations that enable them to scale in the right way.
Scale your way
If you try to copy what other people are doing, you are going to get yourself into a pickle. And does it create the lifestyle that you want?
When I helped to start Evertrek, I never thought about a team of people. We are now a team of nine. That’s minus the partners in other countries. I did not realise the work that will take me. I spent a lot of time managing this team over the last 20 months, taking them through their own dynamics. To make sure the team is healthy.
There is a lot of elements that I was not expecting. So if you are scaling with a team of experts, you need to manage this. Much of what you need to think about is what you figure out as you go. But it is good to learn from people who have gone through it and what you might need to think about.
You will have to grow from being an entrepreneur into a business owner and CEO. To someone who thinks about the needs of the business being different from the beginning. Moving from flying by the seat of your pants to planning strategically. Plus, the higher you are up, the bigger the fall.
The pandemic closed many companies. As a travel company, we had to step up. We hired during the pandemic and laid down the foundations for more growth. We have more customers now and make sure our customer service is as good as when we only had a few.
If you don’t think strategically, you will quickly hit crisis point. This is when contracts become important. When leadership needs to step up so you can lead a team. There is more to scaling than hoping more people will buy what you sell. You need to be aware of the responsibilities.
Through the uncomfortableness of the process, creates growth. If you understand that you also need to step up and evolve as a person, you will work through it and change with your business. Often people look at it and think it is too much hard work, then maybe scaling is not for you. It doesn’t make you less good at what you do.
Scaling does not need to be done in these ways either. You can scale in a way by raising prices or extending the product portfolio. You can build an audience quickly by using strategic PR. That is another way to peel the orange.
Don’t be scared by the bigness of what is to come. The key is getting the right help and support. You will make an impact and leave a legacy.
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