Scale or fail: 4 steps to prepare for business growth

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July 20, 2021

Scaling a business means setting the table to implement and support your company’s growth. Having the proper plan, processes, financial resources, technology and talent creates the foundation for growth, but to scale it requires the ability to leverage these resources and execute the plan.

It is about successful growth. You can grow your business, but that does not necessarily mean you are able to handle the increased output. In fact, your growth can have a detrimental effect on your business if you are not able to deliver quality services because you may not have the proper infrastructure.

To scale means you can take on the increased work and meet the demands of increased business without suffering or overstretching. It is about getting a comfortable handle on the increased workload, and then delivering.

CRITICAL STEPS

ILLUSTRATION: ERHUI1979/DIGITALVISION VECTORS/GETTY IMAGES

ILLUSTRATION: ERHUI1979/DIGITALVISION VECTORS/GETTY IMAGES

The four critical steps to scaling your business are:

1. Evaluate and plan. Is your company ready for growth? You need a baseline. If your plan includes doubling the size of your business, take stock. Does your organization have the people and systems it needs to handle new sales, without failing or hurting your reputation? This is where a good plan is paramount.

Start with a detailed sales forecast, broken down by number of new customers, as well as revenue by service type. Create this forecast month by month. The more specific you are, the more realistic your sales acquisition plan can be. Then create a similar expense forecast, based on adding technology, people, infrastructure and systems to handle all those new pest stops.

2. Find the money. Scaling a business does not come free. Your growth plan may call for hiring staff, deploying new technology, adding equipment and facilities, and creating reporting systems to measure and manage results. How will you find the money to invest for growth?

As the saying goes, “you can go broke getting rich.” If you determine how to fund your growth before embarking on the plan, you will have a better chance of achieving your goal. But at the very least, you will learn how much money it really takes to expand. The answer may surprise you.

3. Start selling. Scaling your business obviously assumes you will sell more. Do you have the sales structure in place to generate more sales? Look at sales from end to end. Do you have:

  • A sufficient lead flow to generate the desired number of new sales?
  • Marketing systems to track and manage leads?
  • Enough sales representative bandwidth to follow up and close leads?
  • A robust customer relationship management (CRM) system to manage the activity?

4. Find staff or strategically outsource. This is easier said than done. When I ask my clients what is the most difficult challenge they face, the answer always is finding good people. While technology has given us the ability to do more with fewer people, we still need great people.

You need technicians, sales staff and customer service representatives. Areas such as marketing and bookkeeping can be outsourced to an agency or a fractionalized CFO firm. Hire for the positions core to performing pest control services, and outsource the rest. This will allow you to focus on the core of your business: selling and performing pest control.

It has been said that if you are not growing, you are dying. To grow, you need to scale your business, which essentially creates the infrastructure to handle the growth.

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About the Author

Dan Gordon owns PCO Bookkeepers, an accounting and consulting firm that caters to pest management professionals throughout the United States. He can be reached at dan@pcobookkeepers.com.

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