Scaling a business comes with challenges. In this article, we will figure out how to scale your business without sacrificing quality.
In PART I of the scaling series, we talked about how to grow and scale without sacrificing wellbeing. We covered the different aspects of wellbeing, and how they relate to running a business. Today, we’re going to talk about the quality and why that might suffer when you grow and scale.
Scaling is different from growing
Growing and scaling are not the same things. Scaling is a form of growth, but it’s very different from linear growth. Of course, scaling itself can also have several meanings; either scale up or down, depending on how your business is designed. But, in this article, we talk about scaling up while keeping or improving, your work and deliveries.
Scaling is about getting better, not just bigger
Scaling means that you get more and improved results with less or the same effort. For example, your email marketing takes you an equally long time if you communicate with 2500 people as it does if you communicate with 250 people. If you want to scale your business without losing quality, you need to focus on those activities that allow you to get scalable results out of your efforts.
Scaling means change
If you want to scale your business, you’re going to have to make some changes. One of those important questions you need to ask yourself and your team: is it time to scale? Because if it’s not, you will be sacrificing way more than quality.
What worked great externally?
If you want your business to scale, you need to know what your existing customers and clients think about your work. So, the first step is to figure out what works well and what doesn’t.
A client of ours, a service firm delivering interior architecture services, was having a call with their previous clients and asked them what they thought about their services. While they got raving reviews about the actual end results, they received mixed feedback about the delivery process itself.
The key: you need to be brave and ask your clients what worked and what didn’t.
What worked great internally?
There are always two sides to the story – in this case, the quality of your work. We have the client’s experience with your services and the internal experience with the work you did for the client.
It’s critical that you assess what worked internally, and what didn’t! Even if you managed to onboard a client with success, deliver amazing results, and get smashing reviews… there’s still a risk that your team didn’t feel good about delivering the project!
When you do the assessment after each project, ask your team and your potential suppliers how they experienced the project.
What makes your quality great?
Now that you have received feedback from your clients and your team members, it’s time you identify the exact areas of your business that made your quality outstanding.
- Is it a certain process that makes your quality great?
- Is it a certain person whose involvement makes your quality great?
- Is it a certain tool that makes your quality great?
What needs to happen to keep the quality great?
If you received a review that you, in fact, need to improve your quality, ask yourself: “what needs to happen so that we can get better reviews?” “How can we improve the customer experience?”
The keys to scaling your business without sacrificing the quality of work
Let’s talk about the keys to scaling your business without sacrificing the quality of your work.
Invest in a strong identity
Your identity is important both for your marketing and branding, but also for your customer satisfaction. Start by setting the boundaries that you know your business needs in order to maintain a great quality of work.
Invest in people
Your team is critical when scaling your business. And to keep your team awesome and delivering amazing experiences for your clients, you need to keep investing in them.
- What training can you invest in?
- If your team is not skilled for the next-level activities, whom can you bring in to either train them or take a seat at your scaling table?
- What activities can you do to make your team perform at its peak?
- How can you make sure that your team members stay with you and improve their skills?
Invest in tools
Scaling without tools is impossible, and regardless of your business model or the maturity of digitalization and systemization, it’s high time to invest in the right tools to improve your quality.
Tools will make your work more efficient. They will make your team members love their work more because they can focus on doing things that they love, while the tools take care of the mundane things that nobody should do manually.
Invest in process design
Tools can’t work without processes, so when you start scaling, you need to first identify the processes that work well, and the ones that don’t work well, and improve them. After that, you choose the tools that can replace manual work, and decide on the persons who will manage the tools and processes.
Invest in materials
Scaling your business requires you to standardize your processes, but also materials. When you start scaling, you want to develop the materials your and your team can use in the client deliveries.
These materials could be brand assets such as your brand book, your project management guides, process descriptions, standardized packages and pricing, delivery terms, and payment systems.
Invest in measuring results
In order to scale, you need to develop rituals for measuring your results and outcomes, getting feedback from your clients, team members, and suppliers, and improving them while you level up and expand your business.
Once you have found the processes, tools, activities, delightful touches, and people who can help you grow and scale without sacrificing quality and wellbeing, develop guidelines for how your business operates to maximize client satisfaction and joy for everyone involved!
Last but not least: Set reasonable expectations when you scale your business without sacrificing quality
Scaling is hard work, and things will go south. If you want to scale a service business sustainably, set reasonable expectations for yourself and your team, and keep improving and scaling with focus and actions. Don’t forget to enjoy the process too!
This article is a part of the scaling series presented by Avenue – a boutique consulting and coaching company helping design + wellbeing professionals and brands grow, scale, and go international. Read more about our services here.
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