Business growth can take on many different metrics that contribute to the success of a business. You may want to increase your client base, sell more products or services, innovate new products, or simply make more revenue. Your metrics for success will mean different things, almost always in relation to hitting goals or achieving your mission.
What these factors have in common is the need to be able to meet the challenge of growing your business. You will need to plan your start-up or evaluate your current state, define your goals, and invest in technology that can adapt over time. In other words, your business must be scalable.
What Does it Mean to Have a Scalable Business?
At its simplest definition, a scalable business is one that can deliver services or products to an increasing client base without increasing overhead at the same rate. In other words, if it costs X dollars to increase revenue by the same or near-same X dollars in overhead, the business model is not scalable.
In an ideal scenario, a scalable business model should increase revenue growth without significantly increasing costs. Your business process should reflect the need to outpace costs over time with new revenue growth.
How Does a Consulting Business Become Scalable?
Consulting businesses advise and provide guidance in specialized areas for everything from technology and finance, to accounting and human resources. They expand by acquiring clients as opposed to selling products. As the client base expands, the service support must expand with it.
Technological automation has shown to be the best solution for consultant scalability. Automation increases efficiency—meaning time spent on routine tasks is reduced. Managers and team members can then focus more on specific client-related issues.
For example, a worker needs to report the performance of a client account. Each client account must be individually checked and the figures inserted in a report. With each additional client, the overall time to perform that task increases. The only way to scale that process is to increase staff—a huge cost for a minor task.
With installed software, the account information is automatically pulled from one system and inserted into a pre- existing report. The task has become a single click of a mouse—i.e., tell the software to execute—the job is done for a thousand clients in the same amount of time as one client. That kind of automation represents scalability that does not increase the cost to a consultant as their client base increases.
Automation of Tasks Increases Scalability
While automation increases scalability, the automation itself needs to be up to the challenge as well. Obvious differences in needs exist for different size firms, but flexibility in support systems is key for all.
Planning your support automation is critical if you want to be scalable. For instance, a smaller firm may not feel it needs a fully automated human resources component to its process yet. The ability to add one to the existing process in the future rather than create a new one from scratch is vital for cost-savings.
By using data management software, new areas for information- sharing and tracking can be integrated over time. These systems provide a necessary scalability without limitation as your company grows.
Your platform should also gather information from different systems in one place, enabling people across multiple offices to access each other’s work as necessary. This again, is a scaling of effort that offers minimal increases in work- hours while allowing a client base to grow.
Many different software solutions exist to address specific task needs. Where true scalability comes into play is gathering these discrete solutions under one, uniform platform. A robust solution can do this because it can be tailored with a flexibility that enables business growth in a near-limitless fashion.
As you review your business needs, always keep in mind that your underlying technology systems need to support your scalability.