Scaling Your Small Business
In 1940, two brothers named Richard and Maurice opened a barbecue restaurant in San Bernardino. Within 13 years, their restaurant, “McDonald’s”, was a hamburger place starting to franchise. The rest, as the saying goes, is history, and their small business has since been scaled into one of the world’s largest restaurant chains. If you own a small business like Richard and Maurice McDonald, maybe you’ve asked yourself if you want to scale. If the answer is yes, then you need to ask yourself how to do it. I recently read a blog post interviewing James and Eileen Ray, a couple who started Little Seed Farm in 2012, and their journey scaling. Here are some steps from them on scaling your small business:
Focus on mission, not growth: If you become obsessed with growing your company, as opposed to maintaining your company’s mission, then there’s a good chance you’ll lose sight of that mission. Find a happy medium between growth and mission that fits your management style, business expectations and customer demand. You don’t want to simply be growing for growth’s sake.
Hiring your first employees: If your small business grows, you’ll eventually find yourself at the point where you’re doing the work of four or five people. If you want to continue growing, or not implode under the stress, there will come a point where hiring employees is necessary.
Narrowing your focus: Scaling a business should focus on higher-margin products, taking into consideration which aspects of the business can be scaled profitably and without too much investment.
Equipment: If you’re going to scale your product, then you need to start investing in equipment to better expand. For example, when Little Seed Farm decided to focus on soap production, they investing in equipment made more sense than hiring more staff.
Grow at the right pace: Overnight explosions are tough. You want your business to grow at the right pace. Scaling at a manageable pace means you won’t compromise your overall business.
Learn from mistakes: This is a large part of any business, whether you’re scaling or not. Mistakes are learning opportunities, so treat them as such.