Scaling Up Your Business: Why Growth Alone Isn’t Enough

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On October 12, 2018

Scaling up your business

Scaling Up A Business

As an executive business coach, I work with high-growth companies. These are businesses that have aggressive business goals that they’re actively pursuing. They have big plans and they’re eager to accomplish them. When I meet with them one of the topics we regularly return to is the concept of scaling up their business, and I remind them why growth alone isn’t enough.

Scaling Up is About Sustainability
Let’s say your business has a goal of multiplying your sales by 10 times. That’s a great goal. It’s aggressive. It’s specific. It’s measurable. And I’m going to assume it’s reachable. Here’s where it gets a little tricky: Increased sales don’t happen in a vacuum.

If you plan to increase your sales 10 times, that is going to have a significant impact on everything else in your company. Here’s what I mean.

Do you have the leadership skills to drive and manage this kind of growth? You’ll be facing issues that smaller companies don’t face. Chances are good that you’ll need to delegate more responsibility to your leadership team. Have you prepared your team for these new responsibilities? You have to develop your own leadership skills and the skills of those around you to handle things they haven’t dealt with before. You need to transform your thinking about what leadership looks like.

Having the right people in the right positions is critical. It’s not always a matter of passing on additional responsibility to existing employees. For instance, there’s a big difference between managing a sales force of two people and a sales force of 20 people. Just because someone is loyal (and capable at a certain level) doesn’t necessarily mean they will be capable at a much higher level. Can you re-train your staff or will you need to hire new people with different skills?

You may have had a great strategy to get where you are today, but will that strategy work when your business multiplies? You’ll have to transform your thinking in terms of marketing, production, customer service, and more. There’s a great book by the title of What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. It’s not specifically about strategy, but I love the concept that in order to truly transform your business you have to transform the way you do business—and that includes making sure your strategy works for the new thing you’re attempting to do.

You’ll need to execute differently than you have in the past. There’s an old saying that nine women can’t produce a baby in one month. You can’t simply do “more of the same thing.” It’s not just a matter of ramping up the number of employees. It’s a great thing to have aggressive goals, but you need to make sure the execution of your plans is keeping pace with your new goals.

In Scaling Up (one of the books I highly recommend), Verne Harnish says, “Cash is the oxygen that fuels growth.” Even if you have all the other areas mentioned above under control, you can’t survive without an adequate amount of cash. There is no way around it: Growing a company consumes a huge amount of cash. The answer isn’t necessarily to borrow money (then you have to deal with debt, which can slow your growth). Smart high-growth companies figure out how to control their cash flow internally (and smart business coaches help them with that process).

Simply growing can’t be your only goal. If you want to see significant, sustainable growth you need to scale up your business. That means transforming the way you currently do things to a whole different level. One way to do that is to evaluate where you are and what you need to change. Click on the orange “Business Not Growing?” button below to take a 5-minute assessment that will let you know how your company is doing in areas that are critical for scaling your business.