These days, it’s hard to get away from the chatter about “scaling your practice.” It’s a huge driver of the “fear of missing out” for so many business owners. The reality is that it takes a lot of hard work, time, resources and ingenuity to become successful at it. Scaling is a stunt that requires skill that most who attempt it won’t have. It’s like every other hard thing we face; of those who try, some are truly exceptional at it, but most won’t succeed. So, before you try, I’ve assembled 10 steps for you to consider if scaling is the right next step for you.
Scaling takes an organized plan, punctuated with a beginning, middle, and end (and everything in between). There is no scaling without vetting a realistic, organized plan that can be executed at each productivity plateau your business faces.
- Money Investment
The notion that we must explain to people in the investment world that scaling requires an actual investment continues to surprise me. If you don’t think your own company is worth the investment, stop here.
- Time Investment
You might go backward before you go forward so recognize the wins as they come along ... and the areas where you need to retrench. Changing course is hard work, particularly during “changing times.” If you have a solid plan, trust it and know that it will take time. Select and celebrate benchmarks along the way.
Find people to take things off your plate so you can focus on being an entrepreneur rather than a salesperson. If possible, make hires to focus on your infrastructure.
- Think Like a Franchisor
When you hire subadvisors, hold them accountable for their own success in exchange for the lead flow and back-office support you’re financing on their behalf. They need to be the CEO of their own franchise.
Whatever brought you to the point where you are now will likely NOT bring you to the next aspirational level. This means you’ll need to change your habits and add some hours to your week. We’ve worked with many of the biggest firms in the U.S. and can tell you that those that work harder usually win the scaling game.
- Become Digitally Savvy
There are many affordable software solutions to streamline your workflow, whether CRM software, project tracking technology or marketing automation tools.
- Do It for the Right Reasons
The financial business comprises herd behavior. Don’t try to scale just because it’s the thing everyone is talking about. Scaling is not for everyone, and it doesn’t mean that you can’t be successful as a small office.
There’s no substitute for doing the work. Mailing it in is not an option and making compromises is a slippery slope that never ends well.
- Allow Room for Error
You don’t have to be perfect, but you should try to be. It’s common to overthink strategies and plan too much. Perfection is the enemy of great. Scaling favors the fearless.
John Capuano is co-founder of Lone Beacon.