The word scalability gets thrown around a lot in the online world, and for many business owners it’s a scary term. It sounds like growing a million-dollar business, which isn’t always the case. If you’re a solopreneur, you may be wondering if you even need to know how to scale your business. Many small business owners simply want to be profitable so they can live a comfortable life, pay for their child’s college or retire at some point.
When you scale your business, it means you’re no longer working in a linear fashion. In other words, you’re not working all the time and you’re not trading time for dollars. Often you’re doing something once and replicating it to do over and over again. You’re adopting processes and systems so you can work smarter, not harder.
There are a lot of different ways to scale a business; it’s up to you to find the ways that feel right to you based on what you offer your audience and how you’d like your business to grow.
Focus on what only you can do
No matter how you scale, it’s important that you, the business owner, focus on the tasks that only you can do. You’re the visionary and the leader, often the face of the business, and need to continue to guide the business and its growth. So before you decide the best place to scale, know what you will hold onto.
Develop other revenue streams
One of the best ways to scale a business is to develop other revenue streams. While I work one-on-one with clients, I also do a lot of speaking and I recently launched a book. This allows me to get in front of more people while collecting a fee for my speaking and my book. Think about what other ways you can serve those you work with. If you’re a product-based business, where else can you sell your products? What other, complementary products can you offer? If you’re a service-based business, what other ways are available to serve your audience?
One caveat I’ll mention here: Don’t try to do too much too fast. Finding other revenue streams will allow you to scale, but if you have too many products or services you’ll find yourself overwhelmed.
Turning a one-to-one service into a program or course is a way to deliver your expertise to more people at once. You can run a live program or evergreen (that clients can begin at any time), depending on how involved you want to be in the delivery. One of the great parts of a one-to-many program is the community it builds among those who purchase.
You can’t do it all in your business, and you shouldn’t try–especially as you start growing. Going back to my first point, once you’ve identified the tasks that only you can do in your business start outsourcing the rest. What do you dislike doing in your business? What is time-consuming for you? What is beyond your technical abilities? Figure this out and then find the right people to outsource to. This gives you the focus you need to grow your business.
Invest in your expertise
The more your business grows, the more your audience is going to expect specialized information from you. So as you scale, I recommend finding ways to invest in your business and your expertise. Join a mastermind, hire a coach, take a course. Do what you can do to grow your knowledge base so you can continue to stay on top of your game in your industry.
Protect your time
This is one of the most important but often most difficult things to do in almost any business. In order to grow, you need to protect your time from time-sucking interruptions like social media, your inbox, random client “emergencies” and so on. Be sure to block your time and tune out distractions so you can get your most important work done.
At the end of the day, it’s your business to scale and grow as you wish. Don’t follow the advice of other “experts” who tell you there’s only one way to do it. There are as many ways to scale as there are businesses out there and you can do what feels right to you.
I recommend you listen to my podcast with Angela Lussier to give you more background on scaling.