The Science of Scale


Getting a business up and running requires hard work, dedication, vision, blood, sweat, and tears… and that’s the easy part.

Once you’ve successfully transformed your dream into reality, the next step is to grow that “dream come true” into something sustainable. Now, you have to figure out who, how, and where to hire? How often should you review systems and processes? What practices and/or activities accelerate growth without blowing up costs? And, let’s not forget, when can you pay yourself?

There are several questions, seemingly some that may not have immediate answers. The complexity of it all can seem overwhelming, but stay calm and take a deep breath. Like most complex equations, there is a method to the madness.  The right method and mix of variables create a master recipe for success. There’s a science to it. The following five ingredients represent the baseline of the science of scale:

1.     The Untouchables – Some people call this the purple unicorn; others call it a purple cow. Believe it or not, the color “purple” has nothing to do with it. An “untouchable” product or service is one that is so unique and so superior, that it is unparalleled in quality and performance by any other competitor’s offering. Once you understand what makes your product or service untouchable, it’s time to write a unique value proposition (UVP), so everyone knows how great it is. This messaging should be consistent across all platforms, including online, video, blog that tells potential customers why they should buy from you, and not from one of your competitors. Most experts believe the UVP is the strongest determining factor in a consumer’s purchase decision.

2.     People Power – All business owners with employees understand how top talent can grow their business to reach new heights. It’s the people on the front lines who make all the difference. It’s important, however, to realize that even the most skilled of expert talent can only go as far as you let them. Therefore, it’s imperative to equip them with the tools they need to do the job and empower them with the knowledge and training they need to be great. It’s equally important to support this talent by empowering them to do what they’ve been hired to do.  People managers should set clear expectations and goals that support the vision. Once that foundation is laid - let them work! Lastly, you need to reinvigorate your team periodically with new and exciting opportunities for career development.

3.     Streamlined Systems – It’s cliché, but true: a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Make sure the great people you hire aren’t held back by bulky or unnecessarily complex systems and processes. Everything and everyone in your business needs to work in smooth collaboration to ensure an effective and efficient organization. Streamlined systems will save the business money by producing fewer errors. They will save you time by enabling business agility, allowing for quicker execution of key decisions and increasing overall throughput. Downstream, streamlined systems add value for customers when they reap the rewards of a better product at a better price.

4.     An Attractive Destination – Skilled individuals have choices in whom they want to work for. Money is almost never the sole motivator. With money and all else being close to equal, many people will choose to work for a company that aligns well with their beliefs. Make your company an attractive career destination for these people by providing a compelling vision they can get onboard with. Don’t pay mere lip service to such an endeavor, however. Assure that you’re genuine in your message. If you truly believe in being a socially responsible organization, sing it loudly and then back it up with action. That way, your team members and customers will feel attracted to your company..

5.     A Roadmap for Success – What does success look like for your organization? Use that question to provide the baseline for an easily understood roadmap for success. Establish clear objectives and use consistent measurables for all team members in their specific roles. When certain milestones are hit along the way, celebrate them wildly with the entire team. This sort of victory lap will also go a long way to boosting team morale and ensuring people know you appreciate their hard work.

If you think you could use a closer look at the science of scale and benefit from some personalized guidance,  give us a call at Appleseed Consulting. We specialize in building systems and processes to help companies grow, and we love to work with small to medium-sized businesses that share our desire for growth and long-standing success.