Everybody wants to scale and grow, but few succeed. There are countless factors that play a role in scaling – people, luck, product, culture, public perception, etc. Unfortunately, we can't control every aspect of growing a company, no matter how hard you may try. So try to let go and focus on the aspects you can control.
Like with every big challenge, first let's try to break it down into little pieces. In a way, it is like building a LEGO – brick by brick. According to Harvard Business Review, scaling becomes a problem of less because humans, but human organizations can only handle so much cognitive load. In other words, successful scaling means finding ways to limit the number of things that people are expected to focus on and execute.
There is no magic formula, but there are key areas and best practices to focus on. So, we here at Weekdone combined 7 tips that other successful people have used to generate growth. Are you ready to take your company to new heights? Ready, Set, Scale!
#1 Be proactive, not active
A study conducted by Startup Genome made a deep dive as to why most high growth startups fail and they found that 74% of high-growth internet startups fail due to premature scaling. In order, to avoid the pitfall of radical growth stop for a second and go over the following points.
Identify competitive positioning: Without knowing your core competence it’s difficult to create strategies. Many start-ups have evolved by doing certain things without articulating their core competence.
Analyze threats and opportunities: Demand will certainly play a large role in how or when a business decides to scale, but having a competent growth strategy in place is crucial.
Consider unique capabilities and the investments needed to protect them:
- How customers move through your sales funnel?
- How long it takes to convert?
- How long they remain a customer?
- What causes them to leave/stay?
- How they engage with you?
- What attracts their attention?
- What their pain points are?
- What the biggest complaints or issues with your product/service are?
- What they love about you?
Create a shortlist of prioritized work to advance your position: Ask yourself “Is scalability baked into the company's business plan and is it ready to handle the flow of 100x clients? What are the steps you need to take to make sure you are ready for growth?
#2 Find a mentor
This one is pretty straight forward – you are 3 times more likely to succeed if you have a top-performing entrepreneur guiding you. But one point that Ben Horowitz – entrepreneur and investor, emphasizes is to make sure you have picked out the right person for the job.
Make sure you have a mentor who has successfully scaled themselves. For example, imagine trying to find a killer engineer if you’d never written a single program. In addition, make sure you meet with your mentor at least once a quarter and use that time wisely.
#3 Simplify your business model and processes
Jason Albanese has a great way to drive the following point home. “Another key component of successful scaling is to ensure that goods and services are delivered systemically. If someone goes to McDonald's to order a cheeseburger, they can expect an almost identical experience from any McDonald's, anywhere on the planet.”
Therefore, when something works, don't just high-five your team and move on to the next thing on your to-do list. Instead, figure out exactly what you did, step-by-step, to achieve that result. Write it down, and then try to repeat that result following your newly-created, step-by-step process.
Also, try to remove clutter by finding what was once useful, but maybe is in the way now. Secondly, emphasize the value of moving fast. It is very hard to grow and scale when people don't have an agile mindset.
#4 Hire forward
According to a Business Coach and Mentor, it may seem scary, but hiring forward, before the demand catches up, is often the crucial action in a scale-up strategy. If you’re only doing things that are a little bit scary, you’ve only going to have a small bit of growth.
In order to do that, you need to create a great culture deck that already describes very well what kind of person you are looking for. A great example is the Netflix culture deck.
Also, Kristen Hamilton – CEO of Koru, has some advice on what qualities to look for in a person who are great for startups. They are: grit, rigor, impact, teamwork, ownership and curiosity.
#5 Hold your team responsible
Whether it’s your employees or just you, tracking engagement and task completion can help ensure your business is running as efficiently and effectively as possible.
According to the co-founder of CloudFlare, using a simple tracking system helps to foster employee accountability, and identifies bottlenecks within the company. It also helps to keep note of what needs to get done this week and reach the goals you’ve set.
There are many solutions out there, but if you are looking for a great online reporting that gives you an instant overview of what anyone is doing, I recommend Weekdone. It also, allows you to give feedback and an opportunity to get a weekly report on your e-mail.
#6 Align your company with OKRs – Objectives and Key Results
Objectives and Key Results framework is used by the best companies in the world and the rest of the world is slowly catching up. OKRs give you an instant insight into what all the people, teams, and departments in your company are working on.
Also, OKRs help you to understand what are everybody's goals and how do they measure their success. By implementing the OKR framework you give the whole company a clear and measurable direction to strive for. It is a crucial part of being able to scale successfully.
It is not a coincidence that growth companies like Amazon, Adobe, and Salesforce have a clear focus and employees that outperform everybody else. This is the result of having an aligned focus, indicators to measure success, and an opportunity to get an instant overview of everybody's progress.
#7 Keep your culture
It is great to grow and potentially earn more money, but there is one key area that you need to keep your eye on while scaling – your people. Growing means less attention for every individual, so it is very important to keep the company culture with other means.
One of them is the company's mission. According to the COO of Facebook, you need to repeat your mission over and over and over. In addition, make sure the new hires know that they were hired because they align with the company's mission, values, and purpose.
In order to keep your culture, you can also create a recurring ritual or group activity designed to strengthen relationships.
If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you are already more likely to succeed. We strongly recommend using the OKR framework to help you get started. Remember, achieving growth is a step by step process, so using these 7 tips will help you to establish your initial blueprint for scaling your company into new heights.