Business scalability: what is it? Is it important? How can I achieve it?
First off, it depends on what you want for your business. If you are content to stay small, never surpassing a handful of clients and nominal profit margins, with no desire to grow or sell, then achieving a scalable position is not likely to be a priority.
However, if a seamless transition to potentially exponential growth, more clients, better quality and consistency of output in less time (think a greater number of satisfied customers, higher profit margins and less pressure) seems more your cup of tea, then yes– business scalability should be considered important to your business.
What Makes A Business Scalable?
A scalable business is one that is systematically designed to adapt to and grow- without any glitches or constant updates necessary, while still running at its full capacity. Essentially, setting a solid foundation of systems that ensure smooth running in every facet of your business, regardless of whether you have three clients, or three million.
Business owners often experience a conflict between the desire to grow, and the inevitable overwhelm that comes with increased pressure owing to a far greater workload— creating new business strategies, implementing them, updating systems to handle greater traffic, ensuring the smooth running of new processes, and still finding time to keep up to date with the day-to-day business activities that kept them busy before biting off another piece of the business pie.
Doing everything yourself and expecting growth to follow, is not only not practical— but it isn’t sustainable or, quite frankly, healthy either. It is sentencing yourself to life without breaks as long as the business lives and functions. Ironically, being too involved in your business my, in fact, slow it down and hinder growth.
Maximizing Productivity = Growth
The key to efficiency and business scalability is maximizing time through productivity. In this day and age, countless resources and platforms are at your disposal, ready to help you grow to your full potential, or, at least- set the right foundations to make it possible. Think of a graphic design and WordPress websites such as Design Pickle and WP Curve— scalable businesses themselves, a few clicks away, ready to make your life easier.
A scalable business is more attractive to potential buyers and investors because it boasts a whole host of advantages that, without, a business would be more tedious to develop, manage and expand.
So, if you plan to grow your business to sell, or are even just open to the chance of selling, or sourcing investment in the future, the advantages of scalability make perfect sense.
Advantages of Business Scalability
Standardization is one advantage, as it translates to easier market accessibility and a more stable market in which to operate. Standardization of processes is another- when everybody knows the ins and out of a process like the back of their hand, it tends to be repeated better, faster, and more easily. This means tasks such as onboarding new members and acquiring new customers smooth and painless- not to mention, when a customer knows what to expect at each interaction and is met with that exact consistency – they are far easier to keep satisfied. By extension, when processes are easy to repeat, and everyone knows what is expected of them- it’s not necessary for the owner to be present and involved all the time in order for the show to go on. A scalable position also enjoys the benefit of being able to use existing assets as leverage for service expansion or new market penetration.
How To Achieve A Scalable Position— And How A VA Can Help You Get There
Now for the ‘how’ portion of achieving a scalable position. As mentioned above, you cannot do everything yourself on the path to scalability. Enter virtual assistant— your missing link. Although it is good practice to have some basic systems and procedures already in place before hiring a virtual assistant, they can be greatly helpful in further setting up and tweaking of systems in the next step to scalability.
Having the right combination of business systems, that all complement each other as well as your business structure, is a vital foundation. These systems, such as CRM and sales tools, advanced eCommerce software, and management systems to name a few, are easiest implemented before the business grows too vastly. They can be implemented later, but it becomes significantly trickier after a certain point. By pre-empting your desired growth, and planning ahead by implementing systems that will be fully operational when the business is at its biggest imaginable size, you can save time, money and hassles in the long run. Rather than starting out with basic, inexpensive systems that threaten to crumble at the first hint of growth, your virtual assistant- likely being skilled in this regard, will be able to help you find and set up the right mix of systems to get the virtual ball of systems rolling smoothly and growing with the business.
Another area where a virtual assistant can be an immense help is that of processes. The inner cogs that keep the clock ticking on time. Standardization once again comes into the equation here: Standardization of processes eliminates time wasted on figuring things out or getting the hang of something each time a task needs completion. No new learning curve for each member each time. It becomes engrained in the culture of the business and is thus also fairly simple to pass on to the newbies.
What this means: easy, repeatable processes produce consistent quality and efficiency without the wasted time— which in turn maximizes productivity rate because, well, there are essentially now more unused hours in a day that can be used for more important tasks. Not only does this help the business to run more efficiently, but clients will also gain trust in the quality and service that they will have become accustomed to, owing once again to well-structured processes. These processes, however, do not create and monitor themselves. A virtual assistant has the birds-eye-view of all things processes and is vital in setting up these processes to be well aligned with the business goals, as well as monitor and analyze their efficiency at every turn and make minor changes and improvements when and if necessary for the greater good— keeping the well-oiled machine that is your business, well… oiled.
Owing to the heavy involvement of virtual assistants in the daily running of the business, they are in the ideal position to identify imminent issues and inefficiencies and remedy them before they become a larger issue that may start creating bottlenecks in the business. Addressing these bottlenecks and resolving them before the escalate is essential to the constant smooth running of day-to-day activities.
A virtual assistant may well be the secret ingredient to enjoying the stability, consistency, and predictability that come from achieving a scalable position. Scalability is hugely beneficial and realistically achievable- all it takes is a robust foundational mix of systems, clear and repeatable processes, and your virtual assistant to help you make those things happen.
Stay tuned for part 2 in our scalability series!
Have questions about how to scale your business? Reach out for a complimentary consult here.