DoYouEvenScaleBlog

Do You Even Scale, Bro?

How to grow a stable, unstoppable business with Stable Scaling!

Scaling your business is a buzzword, right? We all want to scale. Let’s scale.  Let’s grow. Let’s all get bigger.   

Let’s get swole.  

Scale.  Up and to the right, man.   Woo hoo!  I got a bright future in sales, baby.

Sure: to a certain point, that’s a really good thing.  There is security in size.  You can run a superior business when you have a layer of management and processes than you can when the owner is acting as management.

And so we usually want to grow.

But we want to grow in a safe and stable way.  Without biting off more than you can chew, risking your reputation or doing anything else that ultimately hurts your business more than it helps.  

We call this “Stable Scaling” and it’s the key to explosive growth that builds businesses worth owning.

#1:  Can you Really Increase Production?

Most businesses wouldn’t know what to do if they got 7 new clients on a random Monday. It’s not as if they couldn’t handle it, they just don’t know what it takes to serve their clients.  

Owners just have a “gut feel” about how busy things are (or aren’t).  

What winds up happening is that the owner jumps in when things get busy.  They fill in the gaps because they know every job.  They go from sales call to delivery to doing whatever it takes to make something “kind of” work.

This is good, but owner attention doesn’t scale well.  It doesn’t create a true business.  When sales go up, the owner should be looking to staff this not just grind it.

And, there should be a sense of profit per client. 

For every piece of business, you should know:

  • How many hours (clock)
  • How many days (calendar)
  • How much profit it should yield.
  • What the risk factors are.

That will keep things “high level” and make sure that things work.

#2 Are Your Deliverables Performing at a High Level?

Revenue issues are often a symptom of operations problems. A lack of systems means stuff falls through the cracks. Clients don’t hear back on time.

When your business delivers a mid to high service, then referrals should come from 25-50% of your clients within 90 days of service delivery.  This, combined with a reasonable pricing strategy will be enough to grow most service businesses.  Referrals (or net promoter score) is why good businesses accumulate advantages over time.

That’s the measure. How do we get there?  We have to make sure we’re ready to serve the best clients and keep promises 100% of the time.

When your operations are in trouble, it’s OK to increase sales in order to have the runway to fund better ops, but you have to pay attention to operations at the same time.

For each client do the following:

  • What should an awesome performance look like?
  • Were there any places where your clients had to wait without knowing what was happening next?

# 3: What Does Your Pipeline Look Like?

Most service businesses would have no idea what to do if they got 7 brand new clients next Monday.  And yet they need to maintain a consistent pipeline of people in various stages to sell.  

What winds up happening is that client work pulls owners out of sales, so they focus on delivery.  Then, they don’t have a pipeline because they’ve been busy with clients.  This causes the boom and bust cycle or what my friend Jason Resnick calls “the feast/famine” cycle.

This is their inventory, and to escape – or prevent – the boom and bust cycle requires awareness of inventory.  The tools for this are waiting lists, incentives, and a commitment to demand generation.

We want to know:

  • Who is at the early stage in the sales process?
  • Who is ready to buy?
  • Do you have a waiting list or pre-order list?

This is What We Call Stable Scaling.

When you pay attention to the three “P’s”:  Production, Performance, and Pipeline you will get control of your business and scale in a stable way. 

Your business will grow based on the efforts you put in and you’ll know what’s happening in and around your business.  

Sales – without an awareness of inventory – isn’t helpful. It just creates new problems and kicks other problems down the road.  Scaling with stability is magic.  It allows us to build a secure, unstoppable business without risking our reputation with clients or experiencing burnout.

Is this something you want in your business?  If it is, simply book a time to work with us. We’ll ask a few questions to see if your business is scaling with stability.

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Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson is the process-driven sales consultant that runs this site. He's been in the startup world for 10+ years. Formerly, he founded, then sold Simplifilm.