Growing a service-based business, is not as hard as you think it is if you implement my 4 tips for scaling up your business without growing pains.
WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GET GOING!
It’s called universal wisdom.
But is it REALLY wisdom?
I mean… sure: when things go haywire; you do something about it. Fast! But in my book, the tough get going well before the going gets tough!
This especially applies when you are growing your service-based business.
See, if you don’t take hold of your business when it hits its first growth spurt, you’re about to get really overwhelmed in the future.
BUT I AM THE BEARER OF GOOD NEWS.
I’m here to tell you that operating a service-based business CAN be enjoyable. You don’t HAVE to work all hours of the day to make it successful, sacrificing your personal time, your health and your relationships along the way.
But in order to grow a service-based business without the growing pains, there are a few things I recommend you to do from your initial growth spurt, well before it becomes a pain point.
I give you: 4 TIPS FOR SCALING UP YOUR BUSINESS WITHOUT GROWING PAIN.
Tip 1 For Making A Business Scalable: Niche Down
What I mean by this is that you need to be really intentional about who you are serving and what problem you are solving for them. I know it’s one of my favourite brass tacks, but with good reason. So before you cause yourself an injury running for the hills, think about it….
When you first start out, it will take some time to figure out exactly what your business offers. You need to do it all in order to pinpoint who you are, what you do and who you serve. I did, and so should you. It’s part of the process. But at some stage, sooner rather than later in the journey of making your business scalable, you're going to have to decide to be a ‘content marketing agency’ rather than a ‘do-it-all marketing agency’.
This is important because you want your client to think about you as their go-to for a certain problem or need.
I speak about this from personal experience. You’ll have heard me talk before about how I was taking on all and every event management work I could get my hands on. I spoke about how it was backfiring because my clients developed this idea that I wasn’t experienced enough in the type of event they wanted me to organise for them. It wasn’t until I gave myself permission to say ‘no’ to certain events that didn’t fit my focus that my business really started growing.
So my advice to you is: Say ‘yes’ to the right work and say ‘no’ to what doesn’t fit your focus. Simple!
Tip 2 For Making A Business Scalable: Create Processes Before You Need Them
Another one of my cornerstone pieces of advice. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s one of my top tips for scaling up your business without growing pains.
Without the processes in place, everybody will do a certain job in their own way. Of course they do!
But this causes two problems that come to mind immediately:
- The first is an unreliable result: I can’t think of a single client who will be happy with that.
- The second is inefficient use of time: Everybody will have to reinvent the wheel, learn new skills and software, making it all extremely time-consuming. Worse, when they get stuck, you’ll be the port of call for problem solving.
We spoke in the last blog about how a service-based business is really selling time and how as a result, time is a precious resource.
So the sooner you document processes, the better. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Just write them down and start testing them. Take feedback, update, re-work, re-shuffle, improve, fine-tune as you go.
Do this for the new client onboarding process, for the service delivery process, for document naming and the filing system (You don’t want to know the time people spend on tracking down documents and files when there is no filing and document naming process in place!)
If you make these systems and processes a habit before they become a pain point, you’ll dance through the stages of growth. Well… kinda.
Tip 3 For Making A Business Scalable: Track Time
This may sound like an odd one, but it -again- has everything to do with the fact that we’re in the business of selling time. Time is precious, so we should treat it as the valuable resource it is.
Knowing how time is spent makes it easy to create accurate quotes or proposals. It creates transparency for the client. It creates transparency for you as the agency owner.
The importance of time tracking firmly ties back to the first two tips for scaling up your business. In order to be money-efficient, we need to be time-efficient. The best way to do that is to be focussed (tip 1) and make things smooth and repeatable (tip 2). For every client, I track the team’s time against the deliverables that make up the project so I can run it as tight as possible without compromising the quality of the job. You should too.
The problem is that tracking time is fussy. So, you want to make it as easy and efficient as possible. In my business, I use Xero Project, because it seamlessly integrates with my accounting system (You know, the easier , the better). But in the past I have used WorkflowMax and I hear some people like to use Toggl.
Tip 4 For Making A Business Scalable: Identify When You’re The Bottleneck
As our business grows, stepping into the role of being the CEO in your business is something many of us struggle with. We started the business because we love being in the weeds, doing the client facing work. But as we grow, our role as agency owner develops.
If we intend to grow our business though, it's our job as the business owner to set the vision, set the strategy, be the role model, manage your team members, look at the systems, and strategize the business growth. For the client facing work, we need to train our team,… and then trust them.
If we don’t, we ourselves become the bottleneck in our business.
So in order to avoid being the shackles of our growing business, we need to expect this stage of growth, have the mindset to shift our role, and be on the lookout for the signs the time has come to evolve.
Remember, nothing changes until you do.
So if you take 4 tips for scaling up your business without growing pain onboard, scaling your business will be easier than you ever thought possible. Better; you will have created a business that provides freedom for your life. Just don’t let anybody tell you it can’t be done! Because it can!
My FREE 60 Minute Scaling Strategy Session
If you want some help in getting your foundations in place so you can achieve scalable growth, then I encourage you to book a FREE 60 Minute Scale Strategy Session. Head on over to SandraJulian.co/scale and book yourself in!
Together we'll look at your current situation to see what is or isn't working. We'll identify what's possible for your business in the next 90 days and beyond. We'll also uncover the number one bottleneck restricting your growth and holding you back from scaling your business. And finally, we'll develop a three-step growth plan that will get results in your business.