Scaling a mountain 10,000 feet high doesn’t sound quite so hard when you break it down into 10 sections of 1,000 feet – and the same goes for planning and scaling your business.
Planning for scaling – if you don’t have a goal you can’t score!
At the risk of mixing climbing and football analogies – whilst you don’t want to get bogged down in minutiae, if you are going to stand any chance of scaling and achieving your vision, you need to have at least a simple plan which breaks down your journey into manageable stages with clear deliverable goals or milestones. That way you have something with which you can assess progress and, if necessary, respond to external impacts and make the necessary ongoing adjustments to keep your plan on track.
It sounds obvious, but very few businesses actually do this properly, often mistaking a spreadsheet with some numbers in it as a plan! To have any use whatsoever, a plan should be a live document balancing the necessary short term revenue generating activity with the activities needed to lay the foundations for future growth. The outputs of this then drive the processes and resources needed to deliver the plan – and the numbers drop out.
Most businesses are people dependent to some degree, and people take time to recruit, train and make productive. Slippages here can have a serious knock-on effect, so building realistic timeframes and milestones into your plan when it comes to people is critical.
Porter’s theory of competitive advantage explains that if you have a real competitive advantage, compared with rivals, you operate at a lower cost, command a premium price, or both. Either way you command a higher margin and are best placed to make real returns. If that isn’t the case with your numbers when they ‘drop out’, then the problem lies with your strategy!
So first, spend time getting your strategy right, then, each month you should be spending some time on ‘this month’, some time on ‘this year’, and some time on the ‘next few years’.
Discipline yourself and your team to do this and it will pay dividends.
The title of this blog was the mantra of Multi-Level Marketing (MLM).
Whilst there are a lot things wrong with MLM, the concept of networking and building channels to market is very sound. Seeking partners who are already selling complementary products, or technologies into your target markets, can really fast-track your sales growth and eliminate the need for expensive sales and marketing costs.
However, it is important not to rush into the ‘partner’ strategy, and not to make the mistake of thinking that, once you have found your ‘partners’, you can sit back and count the money!
Bad partners and badly negotiated deals with partners can really limit and damage your business – protecting your brand reputation, having the freedom to expand or change partners if agreed performance levels are not met, owning the IP going forward, unforeseen training and development costs – are just some of the issues that can arise when pursuing the partner approach.
Managing partners is a full time job, but if done properly they can open doors that might take you months or years to open by yourself – and at significant cost.
Your Partner Avatar
In the same way that really understanding your target customers is essential to successful marketing, understanding your target partner profiles and doing your due diligence on potential partners is critical. Three key questions need to be answered.
- What can they offer you?
- What is their track record in partnerships?
- What is the Win-Win scenario – what do they get out of it?
If there is a mutually beneficial opportunity and the partner has demonstrated they can manage partnerships, then things are looking good.
We help companies through this process, having experienced it many times.
Make time to talk to us – we can make that mountain climb seem like a walk in the park!