Many startups focus on having enough capital to scale a business. Capital is important, but scaling a business can become a lot more expensive and a lot harder if you haven’t asked the right questions and prepared your business for growth first. The successful and efficient growth of your business is dependent on having established the right foundation. Here are a few questions to see if your business is ready to scale.
What is Your End Game?
What is your desired goal in scaling your business? Are you looking to support your lifestyle through increased income? Are you positioning your business to be able to sell? Having clarity on WHY you plan to scale your business is the most important step. This will influence many of the decisions you make along the way. For example, if you plan to sell your business, you want to avoid building it around you and/or your name as the primary brand. Focusing on your end game allows you to implement strategies that will support your ability to achieve success in reaching it.
Is Your Branding Right?
Before there are sales, your business must communicate the benefit you offer. Your branding gives you the opportunity to connect with existing and new customers. Branding is not just about your logo or slogan. It is about how you present your business online and via social media. It is about how you interact in your community and what your customers are saying about you. Does your current branding give you a platform for growing exponentially? Is it a brand that other organizations would want to partner with if you plan to grow through joint ventures? What do your customers say about you and is it consistent with what you believe your brand to be? If the answer to either of these questions is no, foundational work on your branding will be required to properly scale your business.
Do You Have the Right Team to Scale Your Business?
Businesses that scale do so by having the right business processes and the right team in place. Are you a part of every business process required to make your business run? In order for your business to grow, you need to be able to trust your team to make decisions, manage processes and build and manage business relationships. Your valuable team members should be able to do what your processes and automations cannot. This includes generating new ideas to improve how you are serving your customer base, evaluating new business opportunities and creating efficiency within your business.
How Can My Business Leverage Intellectual Property to Grow?
Intellectual property (creations of the mind such as inventions) can be leveraged in a variety of ways to scale your business. When we were growing the Rich Dad company, we licensed the same book in over 50 languages and 100 countries. Each license meant new streams of revenue without us having to do the work of publishing and distributing the books. The Napoleon Hill Foundation does the same with their new works, limiting each license enough to maximize the opportunity for new agreements. My husband and I have equity in a company that creates special mechanical equipment. That company can take their one patented piece of equipment and make deals across multiple industries to grow. Over 80% of the value of Fortune 500 companies are found in their intangible assets such as intellectual property. You too have the opportunity to identify your intellectual property and leverage it to grow and scale your business.
Funding is just one piece of the equation if you want to scale your business. Having the foundational elements in place to ensure you are ready for growth both in capacity and capability is essential. Your exit strategy, branding, business processes and team will all influence the rate at which you scale and the success, and just as important… the cost, that will come with that growth. Ask yourself if you’ve created the proper foundation to grow exponentially at the speed you want before you begin execution on your plan for scaling.
With the proper foundation and business systems, your successful business will become scalable, sustainable, and saleable!