As you reflect over this Easter weekend, you may be thinking about growing your business?

Especially as we start to break free of the Covid restrictions. Now get ready for the next challenge: how to scale your business without burning yourself out so you can enjoy the rewards and have some fun on the way.

Even if you manage to grow fast you’ll soon have another problem: Staying on top of your health, relationships and mindset.

I have recently taken on a client who inspired me to write this article. He has scaled during the last 10 years to an 8 figure business. But he tells me his marriage has broken down, his waistline has expanded and he is mentally exhausted – Now he’s not sure if it was worth it.

So if you are embarking on growing and scaling your business during the next ten years what do you need to do to avoid this happening to you?

Scaling your business is about capacity and capability. Do you and your business have the capacity to grow? Will your operational systems accommodate growth? And do you have the right team to deliver the strategy?

If there is a bottleneck in your business because of a lack of clarity or what I often refer to as the ‘mist’ –you’re going to have unhappy customers and growth will not happen. This is usually because orders fall through the cracks, customer service is falling short, incompetent staff and a poor communication strategy.

As a small business you can get by with manual processes, but because you want to grow manual processes won’t let you move fast enough. You’ll either be dealing with problems rather than generating sales or desperately trying to operate in multiple areas of the business. All of which will lead to burnout and poor health, and ultimately poor results.

To grow your business you will need to create a solid platform to launch your growth plan. It means having the ability to scale without becoming overwhelmed and maintain clarity along the way. It requires planning, money and systems.

Here are 5 critical steps to take to ensure you scale without burning yourself out.

Get clear about where you are today and create a game-plan

This can be uncomfortable as you need to analyse exactly what is happening in your business today. You need to take stock of where you are so you can understand what needs to change going forward.

You will need to be optimistic about the number of sales you will create and be clear about the strategy you will implement. Do you have the right team and systems to deal with those sales without lowering your customer service? This is key to creating a robust plan for growth.

Here are three simple weekly metrics I ask my clients to focus on:

  1. Leads generated
  2. Sales call taken/made
  3. Deals closed

Create a spreadsheet that breaks the metrics down and measure performance against them every week. Be as specific as you can. Then create an expense forecast, which includes hiring new members to your team, new technologies and systems to handle all those new sales leads, and especially how you onboard new clients. Look at all items on your current P&L to see how they might be affected.

You will have to anticipate when, where and how your expenses will increase. Create an expense spreadsheet that breaks down the investment needed to meet your sales forecast.

This is where you need to go deep into your business and forecast real costs, which will make your game-plan stronger.

Get Investment or Bootstrap?

Scaling a business requires money, it is the fuel for your growth.

Do you need to:

  • Hire staff
  • Increase your marketing spend
  • Invest in tech
  • Purchase new equipment
  • Create reporting systems

How will you find the money to invest in growth? I have bootstrapped my businesses in recent years, however, Burnout Boss and Team Head Coach are now global coaching businesses, so we have decided to get investment to accelerate our growth during the next 5 years.

There are also small business grants available, I started my first business in 1998 with the Prince’s Trust which enabled me to build my first six-figure coaching business at age 22. Banks may provide funds to accelerate your growth such as a loan or an overdraft, or even credit cards if you’re smart with them.

Get Clear About The Customer Journey

When deciding to scale your business, you have to be optimistic about what you will achieve in sales, but you must have a structure in place for a slick customer journey. Look at your sales process from end to end.

Consider the following:

  • How will you get attention and generate leads?
  • How will you know what marketing tactics are working?
  • Do you have a sales team to book calls and close deals?
  • Do you have a robust customer onboarding process to delight your new customers?
  • Do you invoicing or billing function to follow up to ensure invoices are done in time?

Invest in Technology

Growing your business with the right technology will make it easier to scale faster. You can gain huge economies of scale and more throughput, with less labour with the right tech. By investing wisely in technology and automation, you’ll gain better economies of scale and reduce labour costs.

  • Invest in minimising manual work with automation
  • Make sure your systems integrate before you start splashing out the next shiny piece of tech. Most companies are using multiple technologies and systems. If they don’t integrate or talk to each other your company will have problems in the future.

Take time to evaluate new technology on the market that can save time and money, and allow higher volumes in every area of your business. Find a good CRM that is the right fit for your business plan, implement a marketing automation solution, and consider what sales management, accounting, HR, and other technology systems will be needed.

Be sure to evaluate your networks and hardware such as servers, computers, printers and telephony equipment to make sure you have the right tech for your future business. An IT expert of virtual CIO can come in very handy here if you are not tech-savvy.

Whilst technology can be a game-changer in your business, you still need to ensure you have the right people on the bus. And make sure they are in the right seats playing to their strengths.

  • What are the industry benchmarks for delivering exceptional service in your sector? Ensure you have the right customer team to deliver on your promise
  • What is the typical ratio in your industry for a sales/operational person to customers? Think about the number of people who are responsible for the delivery of your product or services.
  • What process will you put in place to hire talented people? What will keep them motivated and ‘sticky’ in your business?
  • Build a management team that can deliver the strategy. This will help you work on the business rather than in it. Also if you want to exit in the future there may be an opportunity for a management buy out, or if you want to sell – a buyer will want to be sure that you have a solid management team to continue growth.

Depending on the level of investment you have or the pace you want to grow, you may consider outsourcing to a partner rather than hiring internally.

As the leader in your business you will have to make tough decisions about what you will focus on personally, there may be things you love to do and doing them could hold the business and your team back. Be honest with yourself about what role you will play in your company.

Rather than hiring a team too quickly, which is a big investment you may want to find a reliable partner to outsource, this can help scale way more efficiently. There are great companies who specialise in this. Trying to build a team internally may require too much investment and slow down your growth in the long run.

These are five key areas to work through when scaling your business.

Maybe you have grown a business in the past and you resonated with the client I mentioned at the beginning of this article?

Are you ready to scale up your business without burning yourself out?