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Timing is everything
-Said most people who have succeeded at anything
I’m going out on the proverbial limb here to say that in business, scalability is everything. Take a leap with me and we’ll unpack the reasons why and how focusing on business scalability is not only the most important thing for your small or midsized business (SMB) but it may be the only thing.
Scalability is an attribute that describes the ability of a process, network, software or organization to grow and manage increased demand. A system, business or software that is described as scalable has an advantage because it is more adaptable to the changing needs or demands of its users or clients.
Essentially, business scalability occurs whenever you create a process, system or invest in a resource that will meet a current need and adjust to meet future needs as your business grows and changes. Think about how your customer contact, marketing, payables and receivables processes occur today. Will that process or system work for twice as many customers? What about ten times as many?
Business scalability means making each decision today in a way that supports the business need you’ll have tomorrow and beyond.
The topic of scalability is so endlessly diverting. It can take you anywhere you want to go and everything eventually ends up back again.
--Todd Hoff, High Scalability
Business scalability is essential because everything in your business is related to scale and complexity. In other words, even the most basic of functions are ultimately related to your ability to make more, do more, serve more people and make more money—or not. Even if your company is just you and your laptop today, making decisions based on scalability will help you to prepare for growth in the most efficient and effective way.
Beyond the philosophical and strategic reasons for business scalability, there are some very practical reasons too. Scalability will position you to increase revenue without significant financial investment and prepare you to adjust and adapt based on consumer behavior and marketplace shifts.
Scalability creates increased profitability without a significant increase in costs. For your small business that means you can bring in additional revenue without spending much more money. One employee can manage customized email campaigns for 50 or even 100 customers, but how many employees would you need for 1,000 customers?
With client management software and strategic automation of things like marketing, customer engagement, and customer service functions, your business is prepared to continue managing exponential customer growth while retaining a lean team to manage scalable systems. That’s scalability.
We live and work in a fluid and rapidly changing world. As consumers, we’re more informed and educated and have access to a mind-boggling variety of consumer buying options. As you make business decisions that are scalable to support growth, you will also be in a position to make changes to meet consumer demand.
With a client management system and automation, customizing and adapting an email campaign is fast. Scalable systems mean you can manage customer data in real-time and adjust more quickly. Your customers will be delighted that you’re able to meet their need, respond to current trends and retain a personalized approach.
Is scalability the only thing to think about in the day-to-day of your business? Of course not, but it should provide the framework in which you consider all decisions and activities required to run your business. Incorporating scalability in your business strategy will position you for future success along the way.
Think about the actions, processes and systems involved in your day-to-day business right now. As you consider each, ask the question, “Would this work for ten times as many customers?” If you send product updates via personalized emails to 100 clients, could you personalize emails for 1000? If you manage 100 leads in a spreadsheet, would the same process work for 1000 leads?
It’s likely that you have a mix of traditional small business processes and more fluid, scalable systems in place right now. Begin with assessment of current state. Identify the areas where scalability is needed to be prepared for growth. Prioritize each of these areas and focus on one at a time.
Business scalability will equip your SMB for rapid growth, allow you to adapt more quickly to meet market demand and position you for increased revenue. When you focus on scalability as a guideline today, you’ll be preparing every aspect of your business for greater success tomorrow.