Make your own plan
Having seen how others have done it – and where their respective journeys have taken them – it’s time to get the cogs turning for how you’ll scale your company. This is the starting point of what’s likely to be a wild and, hopefully, wonderful ride.
The 6-step scale plan
01. Think about why you want to scale your company. There are right reasons for wanting to grow (i.e. demand for your product or service is off the charts) but there are also wrong ones (growth as an end in and of itself). Remember, there’s nothing wrong with maintaining a ‘lifestyle business’ – a company that provides just enough income for you to live comfortably.
02. Conduct research to determine how your competitors have grown – and learn from their mistakes and successes.
03. Get lots of feedback from your customers about what they like – and don’t like – about your business. Be open to what they say, ask tons of questions and try to spot trends in their responses.
04. Tap up your network of friends or colleagues who have grown businesses – either successfully or unsuccessfully. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice.
05. Craft a detailed sales and expense forecast to work out what your growth will actually cost.
06. Work out how you’ll fund the expansion. Will your rocket fuel come from sales, your personal bank account or outside investment? If you’re considering taking venture capital, it’s tempting to take as much as possible, but it’s probably best to take only what you need.
(And honesty really is the best policy here…)
How much energy do you have? And are you ready to make the lifestyle changes required to get the job done?
What specific aspects of your lifestyle are you willing to change to grow your business? What are you not?
How much of your time are you willing to commit to the business?
Do you have a personal five-year plan for where you want to be in your life?
What’s your plan B in case the business fails?
What are you good at? Not good at?
If you lack specific skills, are you willing to bring on ‘professional’ help such as advisors or a new CEO?
How willing are you to fix mistakes? Small mistakes can quickly and easily become big ones.
What bad habits must you shake?
Sources worth scoping
Over 1000 (!) episodes featuring host Andrew Warner chatting to entrepreneurs in a range of industries providing business tips for startups.
Harvard Business Review’s weekly podcast, spanning from personal development and how-to’s, to industry trends and founder stories.
Tim Ferris Show
Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, goes intodetail on how to develop personal skills –many of which are transferable to growing a business.
Zero to One
By Peter Thiel & Blake Masters.
A practical book from the (controversial) venture capitalist, full of anecdotes and advice on how to create something new.
The Lean Startup
By Eric Ries
This advocates the idea that businesses should shorten product development cycles and learn about the success of their product as quickly as possible.
By Ben Greenfield
The forthcoming book (Jan 2020) on how to upgrade your brain, optimise your body and defy aging – top traits for busy founders growing busy businesses.