Scaling up your business is a great goal to pursue. However, there are many factors to consider before taking any steps: Is the market timing right? Do you have enough revenue? How is your relationship with your current employees? Do you have enough work to delegate to new team members?
To help you recognize the right time to scale up your business, we asked the members of Business Journals Leadership Trust to share some clear signs to look for. Read on for their advice.
1. You have the necessary talent to seize the opportunity.
Scaling successfully is all about people and talent. It’s the right time when you have the talent necessary to see and seize the opportunity and build the teams and structure to support growth. Companies that want to scale invest in developing leaders who are equipped to take their teams and the company to the next level. – Blake Bozarth, CoThryve
2. Your leaders are operating at a high level.
It’s really easy to underestimate what it takes to scale up. The single most important factor is the capacity of the senior leaders. If your leaders are operating at a high level and your leadership team is operationally and relationally healthy, then they are likely ready for the next challenge. If not, choosing to scale may have unintended negative impacts. – Tony Julianelle, Atlas Real Estate
3. Your projected revenue is growing quickly.
You’re ready to scale when you have a notable increase in the rate of growth of projected revenue. Of course, you need a system in place that can accurately project future revenue. Once you see your rate of projected revenue growth start to accelerate, it is time to scale. If you wait until the revenue actually hits, you’ll likely be too late to take full advantage. – Brian Walters, Walters Gilbreath, PLLC
4. You’re getting more and more involved in your day-to-day business.
One sure sign is my level of involvement within my business. When I see myself taking on additional roles that should be outsourced or expanded, that is my cue to start the process of scaling up. I am more effective at working my business externally by directing and managing others than being more hands-on and working within it. – Terence Young, Young Phoenix Enterprises
5. You’ve got great sales momentum.
Like a freight train, businesses experience a sales momentum. You can track this through several factors: the size and quantity of leads in the sales funnel, higher close ratios, increased average customer spending, monthly gross sales, etc. You should be able to project the tipping point to acquire more space and labor. – Keith Woods, KB Woods Public Relations
6. Your managers are taking on additional responsibilities.
Scale up when you start seeing your management taking on more responsibilities. We all take on extra loads to support growth, but we often forget that when you go above and beyond too much, you are not doing your primary job well — and your team suffers for it. Leverage lean management with clear role definition to maximize your management team. – Gene Yoo, Resecurity, Inc.
7. You’ll plateau if you don’t scale now.
Ask yourself, “If I scale now, where will I be in a year?” If you see a plateau if you don’t scale, you know the time is right. If scaling up would add costs and processes without incremental revenue, it might be best to hold off. It’s important to think big picture when scaling a business. It’s about where you are in a year, not tomorrow. – William Balderaz, Futurety
8. Your systems are performing with little need for assistance.
One sure sign that a company is ready to scale up is when its foundation is solid. This means there are systems in place that are performing without much assistance. Over time, these systems are proof that the company is ready to take on more weight at the top. A company is only as good and successful as its foundation is solid. Before scaling up, check the foundation first. – Karen Barbee, Renaissance Wellness Services, LLC
9. You have the resources to bounce back if things go wrong.
You know what they say: Nail it before you scale it. So when you have all the right systems in place; a reliable, comfortable pricing model; and enough resources to bounce back in case things go wrong, it’s a sure sign you are ready to scale. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
10. You’re surpassing all your business goals.
Ask yourself if you are surpassing all of your goals. Your company sets business goals at the beginning of each year. You may have to modify them here and there, but a sure sign you are growing is when you are on track to attaining everything you wanted to achieve. For example, if you surpass your leads generated and are converting those quickly, it’s time to think about growth more seriously. – Scott Scully, Abstrakt Marketing Group
11. Market demand is growing.
Scaling is tied to market demand. If there is a true demand for a product it will sell itself. When marketing a viable product you will see through increasing demand that it is time to accompany your growth through scale. Don’t fall into the trap of scaling when there isn’t the demand for a product — if your marketing is aligning with the market demand, scale accordingly. – Jared Knisley, Fizen Technology
12. You understand what is sacred and what is taboo in your business.
One of my favorite books is Scaling Up Excellence by Robert Sutton and Hayagreeva Rao. The book centers around two big questions that are core to scaling: What is sacred in your business, and what is taboo? Knowing the answers to these two mission-critical questions can unlock a new level of clarity into your work and can be a sure sign that you’ve built a business on a solid foundation and are ready to scale. – Carrie Fox, Mission Partners
13. You’re turning away business.
Having a repeatable process and turning away business are two telltale signs that the time is right to scale up the company. Whether the company is turning away business because of low inventory levels, a lack of current employee bandwidth or some other common organizational issue, a repeatable process will help the company scale to the next level with reasonably predictable results. – Matthew Halle, Lead2Growth
14. Your backlog is greater than your current resources can handle.
One sure sign the time is right to scale up the company is when your backlog increases above and beyond what your current resources can produce. This is important because as production increases, more attention needs to be given to the work product, and you want to make sure that you have the right leadership in place to conduct those reviews. – Jerry Ramos, Ramos Consulting, LLC