Building a successful company isn’t just about growth – it’s about scale.
Growth means increasing resources at the same rate that you’re increasing your revenue. For example, a company that gains a customer, hires more people to service them, and adds revenue at the same rate it is adding more cost. This is typical in many professional services-driven business models. While the company is technically growing, they’re not scaling.
Scale is about increasing revenue at a rapid rate while increasing resources at an slower rate. Google, Salesforce.com, and Citirx are prime examples of successfully scaled businesses. They have mastered the formula of quickly adding customers while adding fewer additional resources; thus, driving consistent growth and increasing margin over time.
Scaling growth is about creating business models and designing your organization in a way that easily scales in order to generate consistent revenue growth and avoid stall-points without adding a ton of extra cost and/or resources along the way. Here are five strategies for consideration as you think about scaling your early or growth-stage business.
Strategy # 1: Boost Renewals
Stack your revenue month to month or year to year. Get your customers to stay with you and renew their services with you or return to buy more.
Strategy #2: Hire Good Product-Minded People
Hiring strong product-minded people gets you the following:
- Alignment of product development with market needs
- A focus on selling effectiveness
- A focus on delivery efficiency and effectiveness
- An end-to-end (i.e., define, develop, operationalize, launch), cross-functional perspective on what it takes to successfully and scalably release product
- And more
Strategy #3: Package Value-Added Services for Repeatable Selling & Delivery
Whether you’re scoping every professional services project (as if they are unique) based on man hours, selling one-size-fits-all services, or, worse, giving service hours away for free — these practices are not scalable. Package your services offerings as if they are products, using project-based pricing or even annual/timeline subscriptions.
Strategy #4: Combine ownership of Product Management with Services Delivery
Combining Product Management with Product Delivery “keeps the roadmap in the money, the customer experience in the center of the roadmap, and a focus on delivering revenue.” This also lends itself to not only more scalable services offerings, but also a more scalable end product. Particularly in early and growth stages of company development, if product managers can see first hand how the product is being deployed, integrated, optimized, etc., then they are in a better position to productize capabilities that otherwise require customization work and services hours to activate.
Strategy #5: Fire the Sales & Marketing Engine on Multiple Cylinders
Multifaceted go-to-market models tend to offer the best growth and scale opportunities when executed effectively. This could mean:
- Selling to multiple verticals at the same time, e.g., retail, financial services, travel
- Selling to more than one market segment, i.e., enterprise, mid-market, small business
- Selling through more than one channel, e.g., direct, online, VARs
Whether you’re firing on multiple cylinders within one of the bullets above or across them, at least three cylinders is the magic number. The best companies will attack this opportunity as early as possible in their journey, while making the most of limited resources.
Lastly, have the right company structure to scale
If you’re running your business as a sole proprietor, partnership or LLP then it’s time to reconsider your options. Having a company (or a Sdn Bhd) is recommended for scaling. Reason ? Because it allows you to raise funds from investors or access credit facilities easier.