Scaling. More Than Just Getting Bigger.

April 10, 2018 Process Improvement

Have you ever wondered what “scaling” a business is really all about, but been afraid to ask? Great. Let’s explore the concept – within the context of this month’s focus on business growth. We’ll identify a few critical success factors and share a few resources to help navigate potential challenges involved when considering a scaling strategy.

First, let’s acknowledge that we’ve heard and experienced what you’ve likely heard and experienced: the terms scaling and scaling up are somewhat ubiquitous in today’s business conversations. Depending on who uses it – their role, organizational size and business challenge or problem to solve – the context of how scaling up is being communicated seems to mean different things to many different people (Candidly, that’s exactly why we think it’s a fascinating business concept worth exploring!).

Sometimes scaling or scaling up is being used to communicate an opportunity to add new people (hiring talent) in response to rapid growth or expanding the business footprint into new geographies. Or, perhaps someone just references scaling when they speak of spreading operational best practices without replicating costs or delivering system-wide solutions to address variations in quality? Regardless, Inc. Magazine seems to give a complete snapshot with this notion: “Scaling isn’t just about getting bigger…it’s about spreading exceptional ideas, systems, or business models and then persuading – ideally, inspiring – others to make them their own.” Check out Achieving Scale section on the Inc. website.

Growth vs. Scaling is a frequent topic discussed in startups. Leaders of midsize companies should not feel left out of the “buzz.” So here’s a growth strategy piece, Ron Carucci wrote in 2016 just for you – “Midsize Companies Shouldn’t Confuse Growth with Scaling” and is relevant to organizations with annual revenues of $10M – $1B. Carucci provides three unique actions executives can use to compete and secure scalable growth.

Pamela W. McNamara, CEO and Co-Founder, Health Helm, Inc. shares her sound advice and insights on scaling your business successfully with this short list of five critical success factors to achieve forward momentum and results:

  1. Listen to, learn from our customers
  2. Build a shared vision
  3. Grow a high-performance team
  4. Deliver operational excellence
  5. Cash is “king” (or “queen”)!

Perhaps you crave a deeper dive into the subject. See what author, Robert Sutton and his Stanford colleague, Huggy Rao have to say on the subject. They tackled how to scale up farther, faster, and more effectively as an organization grows in their book, Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling For Less. By using case studies and examples of industry leaders, Sutton and Rao explain how you can create a successful business by looking at every aspect of your company or startup.

Have we peaked your curiosity regarding how to approach scaling up at your company? Good! We believe scaling up to manage growth is a topic worth considering. Regardless of the specific context, growing a business means change. So maybe the challenge in relating to the idea of scaling up has less to do with pure use of a term than its relevancy to the topics of strategy, change management and expansion.

We’ve believe there are no one-size-fits-all solutions to your organization’s unique opportunities and challenges to growth. That’s why Transform is committed to help bold leaders like you — develop growth minded strategies for your organization and situation based on customized solutions targeted to meet your specific challenges in the marketplace. Our clients say it best when they speak to our ability to achieve results.

As always, thanks for reading! We appreciate your continued commitment to growth in your personal and professional life. Since springtime is a time of the year when the organizational focus is on growing teams with new hires here are a few questions to ask during an interview to assess a candidate’s emotional intelligence … to help boost your efforts.

And, speaking of questions, if you have any let’s talk! Simply click here to contact us about this post or other topics you may have on your mind. Did you know we offer a complimentary 30-minute consultation to prospective clients? Please share our email messages with friends and colleagues you think would appreciate knowing about our services.