There are a million things that can prevent a company from scaling. A bad product, bad customer service, suboptimal marketing...the list goes on.
But sometimes, companies that are doing seemingly everything right still find themselves at a standstill. Alex Charfen helps companies in this exact position. Alex and his team work exclusively with companies that should be scaling, but aren’t.
Over the years, he’s found five consistent reasons that prevent otherwise successful companies from scaling. I can personally attest to the value of this list, as my company was at a standstill until I addressed each of these five points.
1. Not having a strategic plan.
Entrepreneurs often complain that they are the biggest bottleneck in their company. Here’s the reality: without a strategic plan, you will always be the biggest bottleneck!
If your team doesn’t know where they’re going, they’ll be forced to ask for your direction and approval on nearly everything. A strategic plan shows your team exactly where the company is going, allowing them to get out in front of you and lead the way.
Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs never make this switch. In fact, less than 1% of companies even have a strategic plan. If you want to eliminate bottlenecks in your business, start with the biggest one–yourself–by creating a strategic plan that renews on a regular basis. Most companies in the startup phase will opt for a one-year strategic plan that renews on a monthly basis, allowing you to constantly reassess your goals and re-plan your road map.
Once you do this, you will be interrupted less, feel less overwhelmed, and your team will be out in front of you moving the business forward.
2. Not having a clear communication system.
Anyone who’s ever worked for an entrepreneur will tell you they’re not good communicators. Most entrepreneurs either communicate too much or not at all, and the result is that teams are either inundated with information–meaning they don’t know what is important–or they don’t get any information at all, meaning they don’t know what is important!
The key is to develop a system for communicating. Your team should know when, why, and how they’re going to hear from you. They should already know what’s going to be discussed in a meeting before they walk in.
It’s all about setting up a cadence of annual, quarterly, monthly, and weekly meetings with your team. That way, everyone is in the loop and hearing from their CEO regularly. Without a system like this, your team will constantly be waiting for word from on high–meaning that, once again, you’re the bottleneck.
3. Not documenting the right processes.
If you feel like your company is inconsistent, like things are breaking all the time, or that some clients are getting better treatment than others. It usually means you don’t have enough processes documented.
Documenting processes can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of trying to document everything at once, focus on documenting only the key and critical processes in your business–the stuff that makes you money and holds your company together.
Ultimately, companies are a collection of processes. As you document processes, you are literally building the infrastructure of your company. Once the infrastructure is there, scaling is practically inevitable.
4. Not completing the RIGHT projects.
If it feels like things aren’t growing fast enough in your business and it doesn’t feel like people are doing the right things. It’s because you’re not accomplishing the right projects at the right time. Your team needs to focus on projects that the company actually needs at that point in time.
This might sound like common sense, but most companies don’t have a consistent way to analyze which projects they should be working on–and it prevents them from ever scaling. Once you start to put the right projects in place, your company will start to move forward.
The simplest way to determine the value of a project is to score them against the five core functions of a business: lead generation/nurture, conversion, delivery, retention, and resell/upsell.
5. Not hiring the right people.
Most entrepreneurs hire people they know, people they’re familiar with, or people who are close to them. They don’t do personality profiling, hire for a cultural fit, or look for true believers.
This is a major problem. A company can’t scale without the right people in the right roles. Instead of just hiring people you know, you need to have a process for hiring the right people.
If you want to scale your company to the level you’ve always known it should be, work on improving these five areas. When you implement all five of these things, you will move the needle forward and experience massive growth like never before.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
This article is from Inc.com