Jade Boyd Co.

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How to Know if your Business is Ready to Scale

How to Know if your Business is Ready to Scale | The Business Minimalist™ Podcast with Jade Boyd
I'm Jade!

MBA | Business Strategist | Business Minimalist | I help busy creatives bring order to chaos with an intentional business strategy and simple systems.

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“Am I ready to scale my business?”

This is a question I get a lot because there are so many misconceptions about what it takes to scale a business. I mean, you don’t want to dive into something you’re not ready for and risk falling flat on your face, right? But you also don’t want to disqualify yourself from taking bold steps in your business even if you’re not 100% ready! You can think about scaling your business like having kids. There’s no perfect time to do it, and you’ll never be 100% ready. But there are certainly things that will make the process easier, and today, I want to help you figure out if your business is “ready enough” to scale.

In this episode, I’m breaking down the four stages to scaling your service based business, how to identify which stage you’re in, and how to know if you’re ready to scale your business this year.

How to Know if your Business is Ready to Scale | The Business Minimalist™ Podcast with Jade Boyd

Key Takeaways from this Episode

  • The non-negotiable things to get clear on before scaling your business.
  • How to know if you business is niched down enough or too much.
  • What it takes to create a solid business foundation and sustainable revenue.
  • The identifiers of a productized service.
  • What you need before productizing your services.
  • How to increase the amount of people your business can serve.
  • When to expand or diversify your offer suite.

Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode


Click here to read the full episode transcript!

Jade Boyd: So I have a lot of different business owners apply for The Business Edit, which is my group coaching program to scale your business, but a lot of people come into the discovery call process asking the question, am I really ready to scale my business? Like, what do I have to do beforehand? Or what do place does my business need to be in, in order to know that I’m actually truly ready for this. And I totally get wanting to balance not entering into something that you’re completely unprepared for and not ready for. But on the other side of things, I think business owners can also disqualify themselves too early because they don’t feel 100 percent ready, and so in this episode, I kind of want to break down how do you balance that line between being ready enough to scale your business, but also not waiting so long that you’re like overqualified or waiting until you get to the, the point where you feel 100 percent ready because that may not ever happen.

We don’t really feel ready for things that we’ve never done before because by nature, we’ve never done them before. So we’re not the expert, right? Scaling your business requires you to step into something that’s new and different and scary and probably a little bit uncomfortable. And so you’re probably never going to feel 100 percent ready to scale your business, but how do you know, when you’re ready enough, I like to compare this to, like having kids.

There’s never the right season to have kids. Right? But there are certain things that you know about your life and about yourself where you’re like ready enough to dive in and figure it out. There’s definitely things that you can do to prepare yourself to be ready for that season, but ultimately you’re never going to feel 100 percent ready.

You’re never going to be 100 percent ready, but how do you make sure that you’re ready enough to just dive in and figure it out? So again, we’re going to talk about scaling your business. And in this episode, I’m going to break down the four stages to scaling your service based business, how to identify which stage you’re in and how to know if you’re actually ready to scale your business this year.

So the first phase to scaling your business is to figure out your niche. And I think business owners take this one a little bit to the extreme. And I’ve definitely heard this when I’m talking to other business owners. The question is, am I niched enough to scale my business? And when I say identify your niche, it’s identifying the industry that you’re working in and having a general idea of the types of clients that you want to work with. So it’s really hard to scale a business when you’re trying to serve 10 different audiences with a million different offers. It’s a lot easier to scale your business when you can be really focused on the offer and client industry that you want to become known for before we get to the, the next phases, which is going to come in a second, but in phase one, you’re really just being sure about what your niche is.

And so again, answering the question, am I niched enough to scale? Some business owners have told me like, I’m just a VA, but don’t I need to have a more specific nation order to be ready to scale, or I’m a bookkeeper, but do I need to niche down more than that in order to be ready to scale? And generally in phase one, what I like to see from business owners is that they know what their industry is in general. So even knowing that you’re a virtual assistant and you want to scale a virtual assistant business, that is enough to be ready for the next step. Just knowing that you’re a bookkeeper, that you like bookkeeping and you’re ready to commit to bookkeeping and scale that business, that is enough to be ready for the next step. You don’t have to be extremely niche, but of course, the more niche you can get, the easier this is going to be, but that clarity oftentimes comes over time. And so don’t wait years. To get the clarity to know exactly what that niche is, because for some business owners, they never niche down further than that.

And so I don’t want that to hold you back from taking the next step in scaling your business. Because if that clarity comes or doesn’t come later on, it’s worth your time to start the process of scaling now, and it’s going to be easy to adjust if you’re niching down further than that later on.

I just don’t want to see business owners come in and say, I have no idea what I want to do, like I’ve tried five different things in the past. None of them have really worked out for me, but I think this next thing is really going to work, but they haven’t had any experience in it and they haven’t really tried it to know if it’s going to stick or not.

So when I say that The Business Edit is for business owners who are two plus years into business, that is a general rule of thumb. Being that I want to see that you have enough experience in your industry to know that it’s something that you want to commit to for the long haul, because scaling is a long term strategy. It doesn’t happen overnight, and if you’re going to invest a year of your life into scaling your business, I want to make sure that this is actually the right direction for you and you’re not going to end of the year, having scaled a business that you hate, right? So getting enough experience in your industry to know that you like it and that you want to continue working in that industry, and that’s the type of business that you want to commit to scaling before you move on to the next step and make huge commitments to take your business in that direction.

And that clarity may come before two years in business. Like if you have experience working in your industry, in your career or in your nine to five, before you start your business and you have a little bit of experience working with clients on your own, enough to have that certainty that might very well happen before two years in business.

I just find that sometimes it takes a little while for newer business owners to get the experience that they need to really be sure of what they want to do and who they want to work with so that they can make those strategic decisions when it comes to moving into the next phase. So again, phase one is to choose your niche.

Moving into phase two, that’s when you productize your service. And so getting experience working with clients as a business owner is going to be really important when it comes to productizing your service. And what I mean by productizing your service is that you are systemizing your workflow and automating parts of your service so that you’re able to work less because things are streamlined and organized. You’re not just taking on projects and saying like, Oh yeah, I can do that, and then figuring out along the way, you’ve kind of identified what you want to be known for and your signature service, as I like to call it.

And again, this is phase two and something that I help people identify in my coaching program, because a lot of people are still kind of saying yes to every client in their industry and doing something a little bit different for each client, but that doesn’t scale. So the next step is to choose what is that number one service that you want to focus on or building out your offer suite even, and focusing on building out one at a time so that you are systemizing and automating your services so that you can charge more because you’re going to create a much better experience for your clients when things are systemized and streamlined and automated, they’re getting communication when they need to balls are not being dropped, you’re not trying to recreate the wheel every time you take on a new client. So that is a much more valuable experience for them because. It’s professional. It is very professional once it’s set up and streamlined.

And again, that you’ve had practice doing this over and over again, you know what you’re doing at that point. So you can charge more, but also work less because you’ve done this a million times. It takes you a lot less time. Each time you take on a new client and fulfill this service and things are more streamlined and automated, and you’re not creating the questionnaire from scratch.

It’s getting sent in an automated email and things like that. So when we’re talking about scaling, we are talking about setting up your business in a way that allows you to earn more while working less. And we’re going to get to the next phases, which allow you to do that on a bigger level. But the first step is to systemize and productize your service and take that gradual step to earning more while working less.

And at this phase, business owners are oftentimes more focused on building that sustainable, predictable, recurring revenue into their business so that they have that really solid revenue stream that’s going to free up time for them to work on some of the other projects that allow them to scale. But at any point in your business having that cashflow is super important.

So you may have been working with clients and taking on every different type of project, but have may have realized that that’s really hard to predict. And you’re kind of leaving yourself at the will of whoever may contact you or whatever clients might refer you at any given time. You don’t have a lot of control over that process.

And as you’re systemizing your service, you’re also working on creating a more sustainable rhythm so that your revenue is becoming more predictable. Ideally, your signature service would be something that you can rely on to be kind of your bread and butter service that you can focus on and know that it’s going to set you up for success and not be something makes you panic every single month because you have to constantly go out and find new clients.

So in this phase, you really are creating that sustainable revenue, that solid business foundation and all the processes that come around that in order to have a solid foundation to build off of when we get to the next phase.

I also want to say that this is where most business owners get stuck trading time for money if nothing changes. If you don’t move on to the next phase, you can get stuck here because you’re not making the changes that you need to make in order to make this truly sustainable longterm, you ultimately are still trading time for money.

If you’re working with clients on a recurring capacity, and if you wait too long to consider scaling, you might find yourself in the place where you’ve sold all of your time and energy and nothing is left for your own business, which ultimately leads to burnout, right? And so in phase two, it’s really important to build that sustainable revenue and to have that signature service for it to be systemized and automated, but ultimately there has to be something more than that. If you want to get the ultimate benefit of scaling your business.

So phase three is really the powerhouse move when it comes to the four phases of scaling your business, phase three is to create either a scaleable offer or a scalable model. So this is the phase where you’re increasing the amount of people that your business can serve. And notice that I said your business can serve, not necessarily that you can serve without investing more of your time, because your time as an individual is limited. There’s only so much time that you have to give. And so there is another episode that I created that talks about four different ways to scale your service based business.

And this is where you’re identifying which strategy am I going to use to move beyond just booking clients and trading time for money in order to open up my capacity so that I can serve an unlimited number of clients without having to put more time into my business? So this phase is more focused on building passive revenue and delegating and moving away from, like directly I’m doing services. a done for you service for you, or even one on one services, you’re building your team or monetizing your content. Again, I’ll link in the show notes to the other episode where I dive much deeper into different options that you have when scaling your service based business, but I always suggest starting with one strategy, mastering it, and then thinking about moving on to another.

Because ultimately, it’s possible to choose more than one strategy to scale your business. But I always suggest starting with one and really making it work and systemizing it and automating it and making sure that it also becomes a bread and butter strategy for you before you try to scatter your efforts in a million different directions.

So in phase three, that’s where things take off and you’re creating the scalable offer or scalable model, which takes work. It takes time and investment in your business because things are going to have to change or be created, or people are going to have to be hired, and that is a process. That’s why my coaching program is 12 months, because oftentimes people will come in in phase two, and we’re still wrapping up the work that comes with creating that signature service and automating and, increasing prices and all of those things before they move into phase three. But it’s never too early to start thinking about phase three and what the long term trajectory of your business might look like, because you can be working on some of these things in phase three while you’re still building out phase two and focusing on that signature service, as long as it’s behind the scenes. And again, you’re not scattering your effort in too many directions, which is a big focus of the coaching program. When people come into it, they have a lot of different ideas for the direction of their business and not to like toot my own horn, but I feel like one of my skill sets and something that comes more easily to me than it does to other people is really narrowing down what is most important to have happen next. And then what are the things that we can save for a later date. And as part of that process, when people come into my coaching program, within the first month, we go through this entire process and we lay out a plan for the 12 months that they’re in the program so that they know exactly what to focus on when it comes to building their business and scaling their business in the next year so that they can truly leave the program having exited phase three, and having that really solid foundation and change their business from the ground up into one that is able to serve an unlimited number of people without investing more time that is systemized and streamlined and working on autopilot. And so this is a huge, huge transformation, but also a longer process. So phase three. Starts with identifying how you want to scale and focusing on that one strategy and mastering it and implementing it, and then adding another one if that’s your path to scale.

So phase four, the last phase is expanding your offer suite. So once you take your path to scale. You focus on that one thing. Maybe it’s building out an agency model. Maybe it’s creating a digital course and systemizing so that that is selling consistently an autopilot every single month. After you have your solid strategy to scale, you can then start expanding your offer suite and diversifying your offers and your product lines and again, gradually adding one thing at a time. So. I have another episode that I’ll link to that talks about building a scalable offer suite, because in this phase, it’s not that you’re trying to do a million different things. You’re adding complimentary pieces in your business that are benefiting what you’ve already built.

So ideally, when you’re expanding your offer suite, you’re building offers that lead into your signature offer, that lead into your scalable offer, that are serving your clients in a way that’s really valuable and maybe bringing in clients at different stages so that they’re able to grow along with your business as well, but oftentimes these ideas for expanding your offer suite are going to come out of the demand that you see from your current audience and your current clients as you’re working on your path to scale. So this is kind of a bonus step and like a step that never ends, to be honest, because as your business evolves and grows, your offer suite is going to evolve and grow as well.

So phase four is kind of that cyclical step where you’re coming back and reassessing and adjusting and adding and subtracting and optimizing your offer suite based on where your clients are at, what your goals are for your business at that time, again, focusing on the past to scale and what you think is most important and focusing on one thing at a time.

So to wrap up this episode, how do you know if your business is ready to scale? Non negotiable things are knowing what your industry is and being committed to the direction, having clarity in the general direction that you know your business is headed towards in the next few years. You don’t want to build a scalable business off of a, industry or a service or a type of work that you know that you’re not going to be doing in five years because it’s going to be a waste of time and money. And in five years, you’re going to have to burn your business to the ground and start over. And I know how that feels like, because I did it. I started a photography business, went all in on it and then took a hard pivot. And in many ways, even though I wasn’t truly starting from scratch, it felt like I was starting from scratch and doing many of the same things that I had done two years ago over again.

And so the non negotiable things when it comes to scaling your business are knowing your industry and knowing your general direction, knowing that you’re going to get clarity over time and that’s totally okay, but I want you to be sure of the industry and the direction that you’re headed in. So that time and effort that you’re investing in your business is going to pay off. Even if it’s not the perfect offer the first time, it’s going to be within the wheelhouse of what the perfect offer for your business is going to be, and you can make gradual changes over time. Generally, if you’re committed to your business, you’re ready to start scaling. It’s never too early to start thinking about what your potential strategies in the future could be, because it’s going to help you plan and strategize so much better early on and focus on the things that you can do right now to start creating that solid foundation that is going to hold under the weight of a scalable business when you get to the next phase. So if you’re half in and half out of your business, this probably isn’t for you.

But if you’re dedicated to creating a business that’s sustainable over the long haul something that is going to work with each new season of life and business that you enter into, and you’re committed to doing the work to making that happen, then this is the right fit for you. I would say that you’re ready. Again, it’s kind of like having kids, as long as you’re committed to making it work out on the back end. And you understand what you’re getting yourself into, then you’re ready.

So if this episode helped you clarify where you’re at on your path to scale, and you’ve realized that you are ready enough to scale your business and you’re ready to start investing and creating that long term sustainable strategy for building a business that does not make you trade time for money and is going to last in any season of life or business that you enter into, head onto the show notes and check out The Business Edit group coaching program, which is my signature group coaching program to take my clients’ service based businesses through this five step process of scaling your business, identifying what their strategy is, and laying out a plan to actually make that happen within 12 months.

So head on over to the show notes and apply for The Business Edit group coaching program today, and we’ll meet for a 30 minute discovery call just to dig a little bit more into your goals and where you’re at in your business to make sure that you are at the right phase and the right place to be ready for a program like this. But until next time, business minimalist, take what you learned today and get 1 percent better this week.

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Hi, I'm jade!

Ready to simplify and scale your services?

From MBA to Brand Photographer to Business Coach, I learned the hard way how to build a life-first business that allows me to work part-time hours without sacrificing profit. Now I help service providers simplify and scale their businesses so they can earn their dream income while living life on their schedule. If you're ready to build a sustainable, profitable service business (without the burnout), apply for the Business Edit Group Coaching Program today!

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Jade Boyd Co.