Getting to Scale
I’ve worked for businesses of all sizes—from a start-up office of 5, SMBs of 25 to 125, and global firms of 3,000 to 143,000 employees, with revenues from $2Million to over $2Billion. When it comes to driving revenue growth and scaling the business to keep up and get ahead, small businesses sometimes struggle with effectively prioritizing the right investments when consistent cash flow is unpredictable. And although large organizations are often more willing to spend money to make money, processes can become cumbersome and a lack of agility can slow down progress.
The good news for small businesses is that they are opening at a faster rate than they’re closing. Yet while 80% survive their first year, only 30% make it to their 10th year. Why do small businesses fail? Typically, it’s a lack of sufficient capital, poor management, inadequate business planning, overblowing marketing budgets and cash flow problems.1
So, how do you make your business relevant and keep it moving? According to Accenture, companies need to continuously evolve and become a Living Business. A fluid, agile, Living Business leverages smart, connected data; embraces new ideas, behaviors and technologies; and makes confident decisions at the speed of scale. The difference between high performers and other companies is that approximately 90% believe their business needs a “more iterative, dynamic, agile approach” and “that business reinvention is required.”2
“A track record of sustained success is no longer a reliable predictor of future growth, or even survival. 52% of the companies included in the Fortune 500 in the year 2000 no longer exist.”2
How does a business get to scale? It comes down to people, process, productivity and profitability. It’s about investing in the people, resources and technology they need to be successful and drive revenue growth.
There are various models, tools and experts to help founders of small companies scale their business.
Verne Harnish, founder of the (Young) Entrepreneurs' Organization, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gazelles, Inc., and author of the book, Scaling Up, shows owners how to scale their companies successfully. His approach focuses on four major decisions every company must get right: people, strategy, execution and cash. He has developed a series of one-page tools and the Rockefeller Habits Execution Checklist to guide businesses through the process. A Harnish blog outlines the 10 Rockefeller Habits framework and provides an excellent video summary. It’s all about Clear Vision (or Goals) and Discipline (or Routine) to drive Success.3
You can access the Gazelles results framework and various growth tools at scalingup.com.
“Goals without routines are wishes; routines without goals are aimless.”3
Gino Wickman, founder of EOS Worldwide, a leadership team development company aimed at the small business and entrepreneurial community, is the author of Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business. Wickman developed the EOS Model™ or Entrepreneurial Operating System. It provides a visual illustration of the Six Key Components™ of any business that must be managed and strengthened to be a great business and applies to big and small organizations alike, in any industry—Vision, People, Data, Issues, Process and Traction.4
If you’ve built a business based on a vision that’s important to you and want to maintain that legacy, or if you’re on the leadership team of a larger organization that you believe in and want to see grow, it’s critical to stay on the cutting edge and get ahead of your competition. That requires more than reacting to your clients’ needs but anticipating them, being innovative by frequently enhancing products and service offerings, and being able to quickly adapt by having a team of employees aligned around the same goals with streamlined processes and the right technology tools in place to move at today’s fast pace of change.
1 What Percentage of Small Businesses Fail, by Gail McIntyre, Fundera, February 28, 2019. https://www.fundera.com/blog/what-percentage-of-small-businesses-fail
2 Accenture Report: Living Business, Achieving Sustainable Growth through Hyper-Relevance, 2018. https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insights/living-business/living-business-research#overview
3 Growth Institute Blog by Verne Harnish, 10 Rockefeller Habits—The Only Framework You Need to Scale Your Business NOW, https://blog.growthinstitute.com/scale-up-blueprint/10-rockefeller-habits-checklist