Four Steps To Accelerate Success
Updated: Aug 3, 2020
Whether you're a business owner or business executive, you are responsible for growing your business. The details of how to create a strategic roadmap, however, can be fuzzy. I'm sharing solutions to address the top challenges business leaders face when growing and scaling a company. This article is the first of a series introducing my four steps to accelerate business success through The Scaling Up Quad or "The Squad" for short.
The route to success
Growing a business isn't always a straight path. In the early years, you may have a small team, or you may be a solo operator wearing many hats. Regardless of the team structure, you are the one making the decisions and putting out fires.
Given you can really only focus on one or two core areas at a time (and still sleep), you will have imbalances across core areas of the business. If you're lucky, the balancing act has worked out so far, and you've been successful in getting a few key accounts and delivering a quality product or service while juggling multiple areas of the business. Your revenues are growing organically, and while you may be tired, you love what you do.
The company is achieving some good milestones, but a few years in, you begin to feel some constriction in growth, which might be operational based on capacity, a downturn in your customer base, or a competitor entering your market. Regardless of the reason, it's time to balance out your business areas and build a strong foundation for your business to grow.
Focusing on these four core business areas will help accelerate your business success:
I call these areas The Scaling Up Quad or "The Squad" for short, four key areas you need to focus on to scale up successfully. I'll be diving into each in more detail in my blog series. Today I will provide a summary of each area to get us started.
1. Scaling Up Strategy
Aligning your business goals to your core activities is the foundation of your strategy. The strategy of your business is how you will achieve your goals. Creating the guideposts by which your road map adheres to will help you stay on the right path of scaling up.
As you add team members to your company or agency partners, they need to understand the strategy so they can define their focus areas, prioritize items and select the best tools and marketing channels. To successfully scale, you must have a plan, or you end up wasting time and money as you grow.
Having a defined strategy plan as you grow is essential and helps you avoid distractions and keeps the team focused on the end goal. I've observed companies without a plan fall into what I like to call the"shiny ball syndrome" which is when a sexy, fun new idea, tool or advertising channel takes your attention away from higher priority items, throws your budget out of the window, and can derail (and demotivate) a team quickly.
2. Scaling Up Sales
Without sales, there is no business. To grow, you will need to look at who is in the sales position, how many more people you'll need or potential partners who can help you sell. As the owner of the company, you likely are involved in sales. Being an expert in your industry, you have leveraged your relationships and network to capture sales. Now that you want to grow, you need to re-evaluate your sales structure.
Deciding on how to structure your sales process, including compensation, geographic regions, how success will be measured (setting KPI's), CRM use and activity tracking is essential to decide before you scale.
I find that most business owners are willing to take this step given they understand how vital sales are to the business.
3. Scaling Up Systems
Hand and hand with scaling strategy and sales is the need to layer in technology into your sales process, marketing activity, accounting and operations. The technology stack of a company can be a daunting task without help. It is best to create a holistic roadmap before investing.
The technology stack roadmap should consider the timing of investment to ease the impact on cash flow, but you must look at all areas of the business before selecting systems so that you are covering your core business areas for accurate projections and reporting.
Most business owners know they need to take this step but tend to spend years thinking about this before taking the first step. It's a significant investment, and they want to make the right decision, getting help is the best solution.
4. Scaling Up Senior Support
I've worked with over 100 SMEs over the last few years, and this is the one area almost all of them fail to succeed in scaling senior support in sales, marketing and IT.
To successfully scale a business, it works best if you hire the most senior person you can for each of these roles. Common mistakes business owners make when looking to make the first hire in marketing, they hire a marketing coordinator instead of a marketing manager. Why does it matter? Because a junior level marketing coordinator does not have the skills or experience to grow your business. They will follow your instructions and do their best, but as an entry-level position, they need mentorship and guidance in what to do and how to solve problems. Can they figure some things out? Of course, but you'll waste more time giving instructions and reviewing their work, ultimately delaying growth because they don't have the experience to help you take the steps necessary.
I've seen many companies make this mistake hiring junior positions first, and the result is that money is spent purchasing tools that don't get used; there is a poor return on ad spend and low conversion from marketing efforts. Eventually, these junior level team members leave after a year because they know they won't learn and grow in their role.
Hiring the most senior person with the right set of experience is essential in scaling up your team and your business.
I'll be focusing on each of these areas in the Scaling Up section of my website, so come back frequently and learn how you can scale your business to realize growth and avoid some costly mistakes.
About the author:
Stefanie Gajdecki is a graduate of the Ivey Business School at Western University. She brings a financial management approach to marketing strategy with strong leadership skills using an agile mindset.
Before founding Gajdecki Consulting, Stefanie worked at the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) as a Senior Business Consultant and helped over 100 Canadian entrepreneurs grow their business.
Her experience working in the US and Canada with Fortune 500 companies to start-up ventures, gives her a unique understanding of the challenges large, medium and small businesses face.