Updated: Dec 1, 2020
In today's entry, I provide tips on how to scale up, smartly, and gives advice on operating successfully outside of your comfort zone.
When you’re ready to start your business, or take it to the next level, you’ve got to have a plan on how to do that. This is tied directly to the organizational architecture we discussed in Part 3.
Vision is, again, the first step here. Where is your business heading? What does it look like today? How do we move from the business of today, to the business of your vision?
Scaling up comes with its own challenges. Your business is taking on a new shape, a new look which could mean new people taking on new responsibilities. What are those responsibilities and who is handling them? In some effect, you’re starting a “new” business so you can go back and use the same trusted models, updated and upgraded for this new phase. Go back to your organizational chart!
When scaling up, don't fall into the familiar traps we've discussed this far. A good coach or mentor can be a very valuable resource when starting or scaling up a business. They can help you identify blind spots or possible "growing pains" you haven't fully considered or addressed.
Finally, when scaling up companies often lose efficiency, which leads to frustration among both the managers and the team. Plan for this! Use your checkpoints and metrics to evaluate how your plan is working and seek feedback for ways to improve and get your team back into the "zone".
Your Comfort Zone
Nope. Can’t stay there. No matter how bad you want to stay there you've chosen the role of leader or entrepreneur. Therefore, your comfort zone is exactly where you DON'T want to be. You need a growth mindset.
When you notice things getting comfortable, that is a sign that your growth toward your vision, or the next phase of your business, is slowing. It can also lead to the emergence of blind spots. Comfort brings complacency!
Business is a competition, so you need to be more adaptable and more resilient than your competitors. Personally and professionally, change is always coming at your business. It can arrive externally, when you will be forced to act. It can also arrive internally, when you can set the pace and adjust more thoughtfully. There is a reason that first movers gain an advantage over the competition.
Similarly, as the business grows you and your managers and leadership team must fight the urge to slip back into old, familiar roles. Those roles are part of an old version of the business. Those are not the roles of today or tomorrow.
As we discussed with planning and time management, this is a skill you build yourself. Start with small areas of personal and professional life where a beginner's mentality and some trial-and-error will have a limited impact. Then as you become sterner stuff, you can take that growth mindset into the bigger tasks with confidence.
As the saying goes, "a comfort zone is a nice place, but nothing grows there."
If you've missed any of the past episodes in this series, they are available here:
In Part 1, Matt discussed Total Cost of Ownership and provided tips for managing cash flow, as well as basic strategies for marketing and sales.
In Part 2, Matt discussed how taking time to regularly set and rank your priorities is key to better planning and time management skill development.
In Part 3, Matt offered advice on improving hiring and recruitment, and on creating a high-quality organizational chart and architecture.
About the Author:
Matt Beckmann is the Founder & Managing Director of Ascent Consultants. In addition to experience as a former Chief of Staff to the Missouri Auditor and as a Corporate Vice President and General Counsel, he has advanced training and certifications in law, business, coaching, athletics, and other disciplines. His blog content, inspired by his deep passion for unlocking his reader's best potential, consistently equips business owners and individuals with the knowledge and resources to overcome obstacles that may be hindering growth.
Ascent Consultants provides business and project management consulting services, and executive and leadership development coaching. By converting client growth goals into an actionable "game plan," we lead companies and individuals to extraordinary outcomes.