If you ardently follow my articles I am sure you have seen me mentioning scalability quite a lot. The most basic definition of scalability is the capacity to be changed in size or scale. In other words, you can define it as the ability of a business to grow smoothly and often rapidly. Already you can somehow see why this is important in entrepreneurship. In this article, I am going to discuss this concept of substantially so that you fully grasp it. There are several things to look at like how to tell if a business is scalable or how to make a business scalable, just to mention a few.
The DNA Of A Scalable Business
A scalable business is a business that wields vast potential for its revenue to rapidly and exponentially grow at sustained low costs. The reason why I said ‘sustained low costs’ is to emphasize that scalability involves costs that stay almost constant (though revenue will be surging). Scalability normally entails a wide and ever-growing gap between revenue and costs (i.e. expenses). The growth will be so rapid that business owners will literally be forced to scale up their operations. As you can see a scalable business will rake in ever-increasing levels of revenue but at very minimal capital input.
Most prospective investors tend to bankroll businesses that are scalable. This is because they know their returns on investment will be quick and guaranteed. You can take a cue from most tech startups to understand what scalability is all about. Already I have highlighted the usually low costs and you might wonder why that is so. This is usually a result of the limited or zero need for costly physical infrastructure. For example, an eCommerce startup (one example of a scalable business model) might only need just the website and not even need office space, warehouses and the like.
Two Key Ingredients For Scalability
The two main ingredients central to the scalability of a startup are human capital and financial capital. Financial capital is an indispensable aspect of doing business as a whole. It is even more critically important for driving and guaranteeing scalability. The beautiful thing, as I mentioned earlier, is that capital needed tends to be minimal. Revenue is vital for the viability of a business and this is premised on a solid sales and marketing framework. That framework is heavily dependent on adequate funding and adequate human capital too. Any business is as good as its people so you can never trivialize the role of human capital. Human capital is basically comprised of general staff and expert staff.
3 Strategies For Building Or Enhancing Scalability
There is a popular saying which goes like, ‘jack of all trades, and master of none’. The aspect that saying accentuates is that when someone focuses on multiple tasks chances are high they will not be able to perfect even just one. That is why outsourcing is an important strategy for scalability. The idea is to find ways to solely focus on the core areas of your business. The best way to do that is by outsourcing some menial, routine or day to day tasks. Examples of such tasks are marketing or accounting amongst others. Once you outsource you will be left with vast amounts of time to focus on the core areas. That will be akin to not being a jack of all trades – meaning you will end perfecting the few areas you will devoting time and effort to. By focusing on the core areas you will be focusing on areas that bring in the revenue.
I can never underscore enough the importance of automation. In this digital age there is now so much automation due to advancements in technology. Wherever possible leverage on technology to automate as much of your business as possible. Not only will this make your operations more efficient but it will even give you more time to focus on the aforementioned core areas.
Make sure you plan out every aspect of your business down to the minutest details. You can start from the overall strategic plan of the business and then have other strategic plans (e.g. digital marketing strategic plan) that feed into the overall one. If this is all done diligently this will create a working environment where every single individual is intimately aware of what is expected of them. Strategic planning enables everyone to work in a way that makes the business operate like a living organism. Strategic plans can be anything from 1 year upwards. They will serve as instrumental tools in monitoring and evaluation or project management for the various projects you might embark on.
As a small to medium scale business owner or as a prospective entrepreneur, you should strive to build a scalable business. Remember I said investors are highly attracted to such businesses. You must also remember that a properly constituted scalable business is characterised by minimal costs and rapidly growing revenues. This, I believe, is the heart’s desire of every aspiring and existing entrepreneur out there.