What Now? Scaling Up in the “New Normal”


May 11, 2020 5:35 am Published by

It’s fairly obvious that “business as usual” no longer applies to any of us. That’s why, for the past few weeks I have focused on things we can do to keep moving forward—even in uncertain times. We’ve taken a look at essential thinking, planning, and execution—in light of some of the challenges we all currently face. I’m also very aware that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. While we’re all affected by the spread of COVID-19, not everyone is impacted in the same way. I hope that the principles I’ll be sharing will help you move forward in a way that’s appropriate for your specific situation. This final post in the series is a look forward to consider the next steps to take when scaling up a company in uncertain times.

 

 

 What Now? Scaling Up in the “New Normal”

There is increasing talk and debate about “opening up” the country. While there is considerable disagreement about how and when that will happen, there is pretty much universal agreement that the current situation will end, and that we will experience a “New Normal” when all is said and done. That, of course, begs the question: “What Now? What will scaling up look like in the “New Normal?” Even after restrictions ease, we’ll still be living in uncertain times.

Back to the Basics—With a New Twist

As much as the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted business, there are certain principles—basics of business, if you will—that haven’t changed. What has changed is how we will apply these principles as we move forward. The principles of scaling up remain sound, but we will all need to rethink how we put them into practice.

Here are some key questions about six essential areas you’ll want to focus on if you want to continue to scale up.

Leadership

Business success always begins with leadership. Scaling up a business in uncertain times will require a different kind of leadership. Not only will your vision need to be clear and bold, but you will also need to be nimble. You’ll have to be open to new opportunities. You’ll also need to keep your finger on the pulse of emerging business trends. What are your plans for improving your leadership skills (and those of your team) to meet the challenges of the new normal?

People

Surrounding yourself with the right people—people that share your value; who are committed to your vision; and who have the skills (or the ability to develop them) is essential to scaling your business. What metrics do you have in place for evaluating existing employees and for hiring new employees?

Of course, it’s not enough to simply hire great employees. You’ll want to develop them and prepare them for the challenges they’ll face in a scaling company. Do you have a development plan in place? What are the skills and qualities you’ll want to build into your employees?

Strategy

While having a clear and inspiring vision is critical for growing your company, visions don’t fulfill themselves. You need a strategy that allows you to bring your vision to reality. How solid is your strategy? How often should you review it and/or adjust it? Are you prepared to “pivot” if the circumstances require it?

Execution

How is your company doing at actually executing your strategy? Are your processes running smoothly? Are you hitting your current targets? How are you checking that? How often are you checking? If you’re not hitting your current goals, how can you expect to meet them when you scale up to the next level? The Rockefeller Habits Checklist for Execution is a great (and simple) tool for evaluating the level of your execution. Contact me for a free copy.

Cash

One thing that the coronavirus crisis has made clear is that companies need to have enough cash on hand to fund current operations, weather times of uncertainty, and have money on hand to take advantage of unforeseen opportunities. Simply having money in the bank isn’t enough. What is your current cash flow situation? Can it handle the burden of expanded or new operations? Do you have alternate plans if conventional means of access to cash aren’t available?

Communication

Scaling up a business is never a one-person job. It requires a team. It also requires clear, meaningful, transparent communication that allows you to move quickly and make adjustments as you scale your business. Do you have a clear communication strategy that gets the appropriate information to key employees regularly?

The Coronavirus Isn’t Only Challenge You’ll Face When Scaling

In times of uncertainty, it’s easy to focus exclusively on current concerns. Of course, you need to do that, but you also need to keep a long-range perspective. The current crisis will pass. Keep in mind where you want to be down the road. Focus on the essentials of scaling. Avoid the traps that can sidetrack you when things finally settle down. I encourage you to download our free How to Avoid the Growth Traps eBook to help you do that.

Stay safe and keep scaling!

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

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This post was written by Chuck Kocher