One of the most buzziest buzzwords of online business.
And while I write that a bit tongue and cheek, the truth is that I completely get the hype around it.
Who wouldn’t want to work less while earning more?
Heck, it’s what I help business owners do!
However, just like I’m sure there are countless misconceptions and false information out there about the industry you’re in, I find the same to be true in the online space when it comes to scaling.
And if I’m going to continue to stay true to my mission of helping you to achieve freedom driven success (which scaling is a big part of!) then we need to talk about what I see behind the scenes of the businesses I work with.
Why? Because what’s personal is universal.
This means that you are most likely either falling into the same traps those who come to me have fallen into or are heading that direction.
Either way, this blog will help you to evaluate your own business for scalable success.
What Does it Mean to Scale Your Online Business?
Scaling and growth are often confused when it comes to business, so let’s make sure we’re starting off on the same page.
Growth happens when a business is focused on increasing its revenue and any activities or actions that support that goal (e.g. hiring, offer creation, etc.). Businesses in this stage are typically just breaking even or are profitable, but that profitability is coming at the expense of their own time.
Scaling happens when a business is increasing its revenue without increasing its expenses and efforts. Businesses in this stage are profitable, as they are bringing in revenue faster than expenses, but are now focused on improving their efficiency so that they can further expand the business.
Business owners come to me in both stages, with either the goal of scaling or already starting the scaling process.
They are aware that only trading time for money isn’t the long-term goal and want to bring in scalable offers that allow their business to continue to sell and serve, regardless of the time they have put in.
Before we get started, we take a look at the following question to ensure that we’re scaling the right things.
Are You Trying to Scale Growth or Chaos?
Whenever I think of scaling growth or chaos, it brings me back to when we got serious about paying off our debt.
Before this time in our lives, we believed the answer to paying off our debt was to simply “earn more.” If we could just figure out how to do that, we would finally be able to get ahead.
That was, until an event I attended in 2015 opened my eyes to the fact that more money wasn’t the answer, our spending habits were. And that, until we were willing to face both the facts and the deeper issues, we were only going to amplify our problems vs. solve them.
We had a shaky financial foundation that was creating deeper and deeper cracks with every dollar we made and spent.
We made the decision to step back and fix the foundation vs adding onto the house.
Six months later, we paid off the remaining $65k of our debt, while creating a solid foundation in the process that has continued to support our financial goals.
What does this have to do with scaling?
If you have built parts of your business on a shaky foundation that’s being held up on duct-tape and a prayer, you are asking for the scaling of chaos vs. growth.
This doesn’t do you, your business, your team or anyone you support a service.
This is also where the following self-evaluation will support you in being able to see if there are any cracks happening in the foundational elements in your own business so that you can seal them before starting or continuing to scale.
Questions to Ask Yourself to See the Areas of Growth or Chaos
The below questions will take you about ten minutes to go through and are designed to give you awareness around what you’re scaling and if it’s growth or chaos.
Answer the following questions, on a scale of 1-10 (1 signaling that it needs serious work and 10 signaling that this area is going great) and write each down for yourself.
And, as always in this neck of the woods, no overthinking. Use the number that comes up for you.
- Expertise: How excited are you about what it is that you are bringing to the world? (Do you still feel like your gifts/expertise are relevant and exciting?)
- Audience: Are you still excited about who it is that you serve? (How connected do you feel with your audience)
- Offers: How excited do you feel about the offers that you currently have? (Are they still working for your audience? Are they selling)
- Team: How would you rate your team? (Do you feel like you’re doing way more than you should for your team? Or that you’re always putting out their fires?)
- Profits: How are your profits? (I am not talking about your overall income in your business but rather your profitability and how you feel about it.)
- Freedom: What is your ability to step away from your business? (How free do you feel personally as a business owner?)
By going through these six key areas, you’ll notice which parts of your business have cracks and need improvement.
This also allows you to make changes before scaling and/or scaling any further.
Evaluating Your Answers
Once you have your answers for each of the six areas, it’s time to add them up.
Know that the goal is never to have a perfect score as perfection doesn’t exist.
However, your score will allow you to make more informed choices when scaling and/or continuing to scale.
If You Have a Score of 1-20
You may be at a stage where your business has served you up to a certain point but you’ve been really feeling called to serve in a different way. Your expertise number may be down because you do not feel as excited as you once used to. You may know how to do the work but that doesn’t mean it’s how you want to serve people anymore.
You may be feeling disconnected from your audience because you want a different audience. You want to help people in a different way than what your current audience is looking for. This then rolls into your team because you’re not giving your team as many things to do because you don’t have time to be spent there any more.
With all this being said, you MAY still be profitable. I can relate to this because at the time, I was running a very profitable business that I did not like at all. So for me, my profit score was high while everything else was low. It was simply because I needed to pivot, not scale.
So if you’re in this position, it may not necessarily mean that the foundation is wrong, it’s just changing and it’s time to embrace that instead of fight it. We already know when It’s time for a change, we simply need to sometimes give ourselves permission to do so.
If You Have a Score of 21-10
If you fall in this range, you are most likely being called to step up into the role of a CEO, which means that you need to probably let go of more in your business.
You may also not be delegating enough work or are not bringing in the right team members. This has you stuck in the messy middle where you’re afraid to hire people because it may mean that you won’t make as much money.
You’re also having some growing pains in your business right now which is definitely not a bad thing. It’s something that happens to every business owner, much like a rite of passage. It simply means that you are being called to step up.
So how do you need to step up right now? What is the thing that you have avoided doing that you know is going to help your continued growth and scalability? This will be different for each person. The bottom line here is that you most likely already know what that “thing” you need to change is.
If You Have a Score of 41-60
If you scored in this range, you’re in the sweet spot. This is where I like to keep myself. I have always believed that in business, if I am in the 80%-90% range of “loving what I am doing”, then I am totally fine with it.
I know that I am not going to love everything about my business; for example, I do not like to deal with all the financials in my business but in order to be profitable, I need to be in the know.
This is why I don’t expect anyone to be in the 100% range. Nothing is perfect all the time and a score of 41-60 means that you’re on track to scaling with intention.
In this range, it’s more important to pay attention to which areas you scored lower vs the others so that you can make improvements as needed for each area in order to fast-track your scalability.
What Came Up for You?
Did you figure out which parts of your businesses you need to make changes to in order to support scaling your business?
This is your invitation to use information to your advantage!
As always, I am happy to continue the conversation over on Instagram —see you there!
Want to learn more about scaling your business with an online course? Click here to watch my free masterclass: How to Turn the Best of What You Offer 1:1 Into a Profitable Online Course (even if you’re short on time, have a small audience or don’t consider yourself ‘tech savvy’)