Here’s a quote from Brad Sugars:
Owners rarely fail because they didn’t work hard enough. They rarely succeed because they worked harder.
As I work with business owners, I see this played out frequently. Business owners are frustrated by their results, but the only solution they can see is to work harder. Put in more hours, arrive earlier, stay later. If their sales go up, they have to put in more time and effort. That’s because hard work is not scalable.
Businesses have a ceiling of revenue when the owner is the main provider of value – if the owner does all the work, like in a startup, or one major function, such as sales or installation, then the business is capped by the owner’s time. Double your sales – double your time required.
To scale a business, You have to change WHAT you do (not the volume) to change your results. The goal is to cover all functions of the business with employees. This frees the owner to focus on driving the business, instead of DOING the business. Here’s a simple illustration:
If you need to fill a tank with water, you can take a small cup and begin moving water one cup at a time to the tank. You can get a bigger cup, or a bucket and move more water, faster. You can really get a big bucket and sweat and strain to move the water. But, in the end, you are limited by your own strength and the size of the bucket.
If, instead, you hire someone to carry the water, you are able to scale the process. Add more people, procure bigger buckets, build a pipeline, install hand pumps, then electric pumps, dig a canal, on and on. The amount of water you can move is unlimited. But to accomplish this, you need to be free to imagine the opportunities, and to drive the demand for more water in the tank.
That’s what it means to “scale” a business. Do ever more, with less input by you. I call that Leverage, and it is the secret to real success.