Is it Scalable? A Question for Any Business
Posted by Lacey Wilcox | September 19, 2021
Every business owner has a set of questions that need to be asked and answered before a business or project can begin. While some of these are personal, some are universal – questions that should be asked regardless of your industry, size, or experience. One of the most important questions that can be asked about any business or project is, “Is it scalable?”
Scalability and Success
A few years ago, Kade and I were really intrigued in learning everything we could about food production: growing produce sustainably, raising chickens, and making some items at home that you would normally buy at the store. You can’t spend more than two minutes in that sphere without hearing the name Joel Salatin, and we ended up going down a rabbit hole of documentaries, podcasts, and interviews featuring this well known farmer who is known for pioneering organic agricultural methods that can be used by large companies and home gardeners. There are so many things he said that I can’t remember, but one of them has stuck with me for the long haul. He was talking about some of the methods developed at Polyface farms that have been shared with the world, and he said that before they shared anything with the public, they would ask themselves two questions:
“Does this scale up?” and “Does this scale down?”
His point was that if Polyface truly wanted to have a method worthy of sharing with their audience, it had to work for really large corporate farms. But it also needed to work with a small scale operation that was in someone’s backyard. If a farming method could work for both, they knew that what they had was truly successful.
Why Scalability Matters
While technically not alive, businesses tend to operate like living things. They are always growing and changing. Which means business owners have to be thinking about these kinds of things. Chances are probably very good you’ve asked yourself the first question: “Does this scale up?” But, if you haven’t, now is your time. What is the point in building out a business structure, developing a project, or creating a specific procedure, only to realize it won’t work when you’ve doubled in size?
But your business is not just going to get bigger. There might be seasons where it needs to be smaller: perhaps you need to scale back to stay within a budget, or maybe you decide it’s more profitable to work with a smaller team on specific projects instead of taking on every possible customer. Don’t be tempted to roll your eyes and assume that something will work if your company is smaller, or if you experience a loss in revenue and need to make cuts. If this last year taught us anything, it’s that your company needs to be prepared for anything. If your process, services, or variables are too complicated to work if your business is smaller, is it worth implementing?
The point is to build things that will not only stand the test of time, but also the test of scale. If you have a culture, procedures, methods, and tools in place that will work for your company regardless of size, you can be absolutely certain that what you have is worthwhile.
A Healthy Business is Scalable and Sustainable
The other reason scalability matters is that it makes your business more likely to succeed for the long haul. But scalability isn’t the only thing you need to focus on in order to have a healthy and sustainable business. Building out your entire ecosystem will help you be sure you are building something of quality. We help you do just that in our free guide below.