Growth is supposedly the goal of all young businesses, later being leveraged into profit as processes are streamlined and cost-bases regularized. However, like any successful seed, growth at all costs and at any time can leave you dying on the vine rather than blossoming in the sunshine of success. Companies face many challenges when seeking to grow, with poor hiring fits potentially disrupting a team’s balance, ill-thought-out contracts capable of locking the company into a bad situation for years or a jump in rent draining money from R&D. It’s no surprise that half of small businesses never make it past their fifth year, with 20% failing in their first year.
So, knowing how to scale a business successfully is actually far more of a finely balanced artform than the one-dimensional “grow big, get rich” philosophy would suggest. Business agility and the ability of your firm to navigate the various obstacles and diverging paths that confront it will ultimately determine how successfully it manages to grow.
How to Scale a Business Successfully
As suggested by author and consultant Jeffrey Phillips, the key to scaling a business is finding the “Goldilocks scenario” that applies to the company at any given time, i.e., not too big, not too small, but just right.
A problem for many companies in trying to scale is rushing into it for the wrong reasons, such as believing that more products or options equals more sales or customer satisfaction, when actually it might just mean less focus or quality and more customer confusion. However, staying small also has its own difficulties, such as not being able to break a certain income ceiling or hold onto top staff.
So, if you don’t want to stay small but are worried about the risks of trying to go big too soon, then how are you supposed to achieve what you want for your business? One trick is to stay agile.
Keeping Business Agility at the Forefront
As in many areas of life, the more flexible you are, the easier it is to take advantage of better opportunities as they arise. For example, if you book your calendar for every weekend for the next six months, then you’re constrained when your favorite band announces a one-off concert in your town in two weeks’ time. You either have to blow off a firm commitment to someone else or miss the chance of a lifetime.
It works the same with business agility. Agile businesses of any size can respond faster to changes in their environments – a must in today’s business climate. But there’s no one way to do business agile. As we’ve discussed before, business agile is a culture and a mindset rather than a strict set of rules. After all, it is a mindset premised on flexibility.
What are some ways businesses can be more agile? Well, for example, by entering into partnerships rather than mergers or prioritizing flexibility when negotiating contracts. By building agility into your business model, you’ll be able to bend with the wind rather than break in a storm and be able to seize the opportunities that allow you to grow the way you want to.
To learn more about how to foster business agility without the pitfalls, read our guide today. And don’t underestimate the power of collaboration tools that foster flexibility for employees on the ground, either. Schedule a live demo of some of the project management software Planview AdaptiveWork has to offer.