Are you ready to scale your business? Scaling means laying the groundwork for exponential growth beyond your usual growth rate. It transforms businesses and allows them to reach their goals faster.
While scaling is what most businesses want, it won’t go according to plan if your skillset isn’t ready. Here are the 5 skills you need to take your business to the next level.
Willingness to Learn
When your business suddenly grows exponentially, there’s a great deal to learn. You’ll be dealing with challenges you’ve never handled before. You’ll be managing a bigger team, implementing new workflows, expanding into new markets, and facing bigger competitors.
Learning new skills is essential, and it starts with your attitude toward learning. You should see it as a journey where the process is just as important as the outcome.
You’ll be doing many things for the first time, and you must be ready to fail.
A great deal of this learning is done through trial and error. It won’t all succeed or go according to plan, and learning what NOT to do is just as important as learning what works.
Failure is a blessing in disguise because it offers the most powerful opportunities of all.
You can cultivate a love of learning by motivating yourself and staying focused on the end goal. The only way to get your business where you want it to go is by learning new things. You can also work on this skill by changing your mindset to embrace challenges and failure as learning experiences.
Leadership Skills for Your Growing Team
Until now, you’ve run your business yourself or managed a small, close-knit team. When you scale, you’re setting your organization up to grow and become more complex. You’ll now need to build a team and you need leadership skills to do this.
Leadership means having a strong vision for your future and an underlying “why” that defines all you do. It includes clear core values that you share and communicate with others.
Leadership includes the ability to delegate. You can’t do everything on your own anymore, so you’ll need to delegate, train, manage workers, and offer support.
Leaders also need to motivate and inspire. You’ll need to work closely with your team to keep them on track, ensure they’re on the same page, and inspire them to do their best work.
There are several ways to learn leadership skills. One is to find good leaders in your life or industry who inspire you. Study what they do and learn their habits and qualities. Even better, get a mentor who can guide you towards becoming a better leader.
Another way is to put yourself in situations where you have to lead. Much of what makes a leader comes through experience, so pushing yourself outside your comfort zone and making big decisions can help you grow.
Communication skills are important in every area of your business, and even more so when you start scaling and preparing for growth. You need them in hiring and training people, offering your team support, communicating with your market, and negotiating with business partners or potential investors.
There are many ways to improve your communication skills, but the best is to learn how to listen better. You need feedback in many different areas as your business scales. This includes hearing from customers, dealing with issues with your team, and discussing with outsourced help, suppliers, or other business associates.
Clarity is also essential for good communication. Take a moment to think before speaking or responding to a message. You should aim to speak clearly and concisely. Pare down what you say to the essentials so it’s easy for the other people to understand.
Just like leadership, you can study good communicators as your model and imitate. Focus especially on people you’ve learned from who you see as good teachers. What about their communication style makes it easy to understand and valuable? Try to adopt these characteristics.
Seeing the Big Picture
Scaling requires you to think big. You are enabling the business to grow into an organization with many moving parts. You’ll need the ability to see what’s happening so you can make key decisions.
You also have new strategic concerns. As you scale, you’ll encounter new competitors and changes in the market that you’ll need to address. You need to understand what’s happening in the competitive landscape.
The big picture isn’t just for the present. It also means looking far into the future. Big-picture thinking involves seeing a clear vision of your business not just next week or next month, but over the next year, five years, or decade.
There are many techniques for developing big-picture thinking. One is to “look up.” This means take whatever you’re considering right now and zoom out, so you see what surrounds it.
For example, you’re working on a problem with your marketing campaign that you just can’t seem to overcome. Zoom out and look at how this campaign ties into the rest of your business or your plans for the more distant future. This can help you see it with a new perspective and figure out what needs to be done.
You can also identify bad habits that prevent you from looking at the big picture. For example, you might have limiting beliefs, or you might get stuck in the details or mundane day-to-day, and this stops you from seeing the birds-eye view.
Fast Evaluation and Decision-Making Skills
A leader in a growing business needs to be able to make decisions quickly and in a way that gets results. You’ll need to have all the necessary information at your disposal and do a quick evaluation of the situation so you can make the best decision possible.
Decision-making is vitally important in hiring the right people, investing in the resources you need, and upgrading your sales model and marketing plan.
Decision-making requires you to be abreast of the most current information. You should be up to date and keeping the big-picture view. You must be able to gather the experts when you need more advanced knowledge. Find the right people who have the information you need and open a debate to help you find the answer.
Next, stay in touch with your principles. You don’t want to make decisions that go against your core values. For example, you may find an opportunity for growth in the market, but it’s a product category that causes a disconnect with your other offerings. You should immediately understand this is not a good direction.
Another idea for working on your decision-making skills is to visualize all possible effects of the decision to understand what might happen or what might go wrong. You can map it out into all possible contingencies and then choose the best path.
Are You Ready to Scale Your Business?
Scaling your business is exciting, but it can also be scary. You shouldn’t attempt it until you’re ready or it might actually hurt your business.
How do you know if you’re ready to scale your business?
- Are you hitting your business goals and feeling like it’s time to go to the next level?
- Do you feel like you’ve plateaued and you’re worried your business might stagnate?
- Are you having trouble keeping up with all the orders coming in? Are you finding yourself needing more resources than before?
- Do you have a strong and engaged customer base that listens when you pitch products and services?
- Are you seeing opportunities in the market where there are customer needs going unmet?
- Do you want to earn more exponentially beyond your current growth rate?
If you answered yes to any of the above, it’s time to consider scaling. But the key to scaling is to plan well.
There are many moving parts involves in scaling a business. Things are going to get complex quickly. Start by clarifying your purpose and understanding your core values so you can make sure you stay aligned with them.
You should then prepare your infrastructure, workflows, team, and brand so that they can accommodate scaling. Do all of this with the customer and their needs at the forefront of your mind.
Any business can scale as long as it’s ready to and willing to do the proper planning.