The 4 Elements of a Scalable Business

October 13, 2021

There are certain elements that can be universally applied and are non-negotiable to every successful scalable business. I call them ‘The 4 elements of a scalable business’. They work miracles for my business.

The 3 core elements of a successful business, the 4 essential pillars of business, the 5 core pillars of business, the 6 main pillars of business, the 7 pillar of a successful company, the 8 main pillars of business, 10 basic business elements….

And then of course there were the 7 dwarfs.

I know… I’m being sarcastic.

What I mean is, the unspecific and abstract contemplations of many of these models make little or no sense to me. I personally find ‘management’ and ‘operations’ utterly vague terms. You can’t run a business on just ‘sales and marketing’ as some of these models suggest (although you won’t hear me say you don’t need them). And every single one of them seems to forget about ‘Planning’ or the importance of ‘The Team’

Whether it’s 3, 4 or 75 elements you need in your business, each and every one of them seems to fall short of what I feel a business needs: common sense and two feet on the ground.


The 4 Elements of a Scalable Business

So after running my own business for 20 years, I worked out a thing or two for myself, away from the brooding brains behind the desks. It’s not a stuffy model.  It’s practical and ridiculously simple when you think of it. It’s what keeps me in check so I don’t ignore certain aspects of my business. It’s also how I structure my business and organise myself. It gives me focus. And most of all…  it makes me a better business owner. 

 Can you copy-paste it? If it works for me, surely…

The answer is Yes and No. How you run your business is completely up to you. Every business is unique, just like you and I are. So not everything I do will also work for you. BUT there are certain elements that can be universally applied and are non-negotiable to every successful scalable business. And THOSE you CAN adopt.

I call them ‘The 4 core elements of a scalable business’.

So here they are. They sound simple enough. But have you really thought about what they mean; REALLY mean?


Leading the Business

This is what you would call your business model, your brand and your planning. This is the backbone of everything else you do, so it pays to spend some time on it. Write it down. It solidifies your business anchor and it allows you to go back to what you are all about when you get stuck in other areas.

I’m talking about…

Your Mission

Who do you want to help? How do you plan on doing that?

Your Vision

What makes you different from all the other businesses out there?  What is your value proposition? Who is your ‘ideal client’?

Your Values

What do you and your business stand for? What are the values you live by?

Food for thought: One of the reasons why I feel so strong about having a ‘Business Your Way’ is because you can’t disconnect your life values from your business values. They should align. If they don’t, things become disjointed very quickly. It’s something I feel very passionate about, but we’ll go a bit deeper into it in a future podcast.

The Planning

Based on the vision you have for your business, the mission you are on and the values that underpin everything, you build the planning framework: Where are you going? What are your goals?  And how are you going to get there?  What does the next year look like? What are your quarterly goals? And how does that translate broken down in projects?

Food for thought: When you are a business owner, it’s important you also think of yourself as a business leader. We are used to leading our clients through systems and processes and our team to guide our clients through these systems and processes. But what we often forget is that we are also leading ourself. It’s about managing your mind and being intentional with the actions you take. This inner game of thoughts and feelings can make or break our businesses.


Growing the Business

The growing side of the business is what gets a lot of attention in other models, I assume because it’s talking money. This second point of the 4 elements of a scalable business is partly about marketing, partly about sales. It’s important. But it’s not where everything starts and ends. It’s a cog in the engine of a successful business.

Your Marketing System

How will future clients find your business? How you do attract engage and nurture potential clients? How do you build trust?

There are many marketing strategies available. My own experience is that you don’t need to do everything. Only do what works for you. What exactly that is, is basically trial and error, but also constantly evolving.

Your Sales System

How are you paid? How are you going to invite people to work with you?

Again, there is no one size fits all. Everything depends on your unique business and what works bests for you. It’s the first element that will help you figure out what that looks like for you.


Doing the Business

A good amount of time in your business will be allocated to product development and product delivery.  But there’s a danger. It is easy to get lost into the ‘doing’ of the business when you are a start-up, while you forget about the other 3 aspects of a scalable business. And to be successful and scalable, you absolutely need to make time for all 4.

An exceptional client experience is essential in both the product AND the delivery.  If you do this well, word of mouth will help to grow your business.


Running the Business

The fourth and final element of the core pillars of successful business are the back office functions. These are what make your business run smoothly behind the scenes and provide consistent results to deliver to your clients. But for that to happen, you need clear systems and processes, including some great tech.

The Finance

How does money go into the business? How is money going out of the business?  How do you account for all your money, including your taxes?

The Managing of the Team

How do you provide clear and effective communication between members of the team?  How do you share documents?  How do you collaborate? When you have this side honed down, scaling your business becomes so much easier.


This is How the 4 Elements Help Me Organise MY Business

For my own business, the 4 elements of a scalable business are much more than some vague model. The elements stop me from being overwhelmed by all of the 101 things we business owners have to do. They help me organise my thoughts and give me a framework to work from. 

But it goes even further. You can find the 4 core elements of a scalable business throughout all aspects of how I run my business.

A few examples:

  • My digital filing system reflects the 4 elements. Everybody can find everything.
  • The 4 elements dictate what functions I need in the business. As a result, it also dictates what the org chart looks like. Everybody knows what is expected of them and where the boundaries are.
  • The 4 elements help me organise my Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs). It helps things like annual planning or onboarding a client. It makes for a very efficient business.  


Of course, this is how I fill in the 4 elements of a scalable business. How it works for YOU may be entirely different. But in case you have questions, you’re welcome to reach out on Instagram.

Also, we’ll have so much more to say on the topic in the following Podcasts. So, if you don’t want to miss out, hit the subscribe button.


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