Scaling your business should mean doing less and living more.
Most business owners start their business journey with hopes of creating more time, freedom and a more sustainable life that they didn’t receive from their past jobs. Unfortunately, sometimes business owners find themselves creating a business that lacks time, freedom and a sustainable life despite being their own boss. Then it becomes this crazy monster.
When you’re wearing all the hats as a social media manager, marketing strategist, bookkeeper, and visionary of your business, you become overwhelmed. You lose motivation, not knowing where to focus, but desperately wanting to control every aspect of things and taking a step back seems impossible. If you’re a small business owner and you’re realizing this sounds very familiar, it may be time to scale your business.
In my work as a business and career coach for women of color and allies, I’ve worked with over 600 clients to help them build businesses while prioritizing a life led by fulfillment and self-trust. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in holding space for these women is that YOU get to define your own version of success when it comes to scaling your business.
For some of my clients, it means learning to manage their time to find flexibility. For example, I have a client whose main goal was to be able to drop off and pick up their kids from school, so we worked to improve efficiency and be intentional to create a schedule that worked for their goals.
For another client, scaling their business meant taking an honest look at their numbers to see how we can increase profit margins on their products, therefore increasing revenue and providing increased salaries for their team.
A different client of mine was focusing on the goals for their next hires and being incredibly intentional about hiring someone who can compliment their strengths and take more off their plate.
Successful scaling of a business looks different for everyone; it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach and it certainly doesn’t mean doing things exactly the same way someone else is doing them. If you’re feeling ready to grow your business sustainably–without burnout–keep reading to learn the steps to scaling your business that I use to guide my own clients to create an aligned life. A great book to read is, The Big Leap, when it comes to scaling.
Building a Strong Brand and Vision
If you want your business growth to be sustainable over the long run, you have to start with a strong foundation. You have to know who you are and what you’re working toward. Ask yourself:
- Who am I, what do I do, and why?
- What is my business or brand’s personality and tone?
- What is the connection I want to have with my clients?
- Who is my target audience? What are their struggles and goals? Do I really understand them?
If you’re reading through these and realizing that your understanding of these questions are fuzzy at best, it’s okay. Your first step is to spend time reflecting, deeply and intentionally, so that you can work on figuring it out.
Why’s it so important to start with these foundational basics?
Imagine these answers as an anchor that keeps you tethered to your goals. Without it, you’ll be stuck chasing the latest trends and burning yourself out trying to do what has worked for everyone else instead of focusing on what you seek to create. You don’t want to waste time throwing things at the wall and hoping they stick.
It’s well worth the time spent now diving into these concepts so that you can hash out a fully formed business plan with confidence later.
For more in depth conversations about your brand values, messaging, and avoiding burnout with marketing, listen to these two Color Your Dreams podcast episodes:
Understanding Your Numbers
Once you understand the foundational aspects of your business, brand, and goals, it’s time to get to work on something many of us start out avoiding: understanding your numbers.
Numbers aren’t everything. They don’t define us, but they do tell you where you are currently and what you can do to change the future.
Whether it’s your monthly expenses, marketing analytics, or referral rates, if you don’t have a clear understanding of what’s working, what’s not, and where you’re getting your clients, then no scaling strategy will work for you. When it comes to business, ignorance is definitely not bliss.
Use the categories and questions below to help guide you through a thorough audit of your numbers.
Demystify Your Financials
- What are you making right now in your business and what do you need to be making to live comfortably and reach your goals?
- Which products or services are selling consistently? Which are falling behind?
- Do you have different offers for different stages of the ideal client?
- Are you charging your worth or are you undervaluing your time and resources?
- What are your business expenses? Conduct a regular audit to see if there are some expenses that you don’t use anymore.
Tip: Set aside time for a monthly full financial review. Make it fun! Light some candles, get cozy, and put on a killer playlist. Need inspo?
You can listen to my Mr. Bear’s Budget Bangers playlist to make it a real party. For more conscious conversations about finances, pricing, and planning, listen to these Color Your Dreams Podcast episodes:
- Charging Your Worth as a WOC and Being an Imperfect Ally with Erica Courdae and India Jackson on Apple or Spotify
- The 5 Financial Pitfalls to Avoid in the Coaching and Consulting Industry with Parker Stevenson on Apple or Spotify
- Creating a Better Relationship with Money with Katherine Pomerantz on Apple or Spotify
Analyze Your Marketing
- What platforms and outlets are you using for marketing? Which do you enjoy? Which drains your energy?
- Which marketing efforts are helping you reach your goals? Which aren’t producing any benefit?
- Who is engaging the most with your content? Is it your ideal client or do you need to rethink how you’re communicating?
- What are your email open rates? Click rates?
- What are the trends you see in your content or outreach that does well? Are there topics your audience loves hearing about?
For more support on marketing, here are some podcast episodes to listen to:
- Episode 4. How to Start Being Less Dependent on Social Media with Monica Schrock. You can listen to this episode on Apple or Spotify
- Episode 38. Part 2. One Year Later, How I Became Less Dependent on Social Media with Monica Schrock. You can listen to this episode on Apple or Spotify
Walk Through Your Client Journey
- Where are your clients coming to you from? Is it social media, Google search, referrals?
- Look at your favorite clients–what do they have in common? Why were they drawn to your business? Which services or products did they engage with?
- How many sales calls did your clients take to convert? What was their first point of contact with you?
- Is your process smooth or are your leads getting lost somewhere along the way?
- What would your clients say about your customer service? Are there any gaps?
- How often is your sales funnel converting?
Doing these audits for each category regularly can help you avoid wasting time on things that you aren’t enjoying and that aren’t resulting in anything tangible. You’ll also quickly realize the things that are performing well which can help you lean more into those focuses.
Systems, Delegation and Time Management
As a small business owner, you start off doing ALL THE THINGS which is great because you develop a baseline knowledge of the inner-workings of business. However, it can quickly become unstable and when you’re spending most of your time implementing all the admin work you have less time for tasks that increase your cash flow. You’ll reach an income limit because your time is maxed out.
When you reach this point, the dreams you had of flexibility, being your own boss, and creating your legacy start to fall apart. To create a business that is not only successful but also aligned to your life, you have to start working from your zone of genius. We all have strengths and weaknesses, as well as things we love to do and things that drain us. As you’re scaling your business, the first goal you should have is to work from your zone of genius and strategize how to move anything outside of that off your plate.
Where to begin? Ask yourself, “What can I automate and what can I delegate?”
Document Your Process
Documentation is key to deciding what to automate or delegate. While it may not be glamorous, your first step needs to be documenting your internal processes.
- What do you do every day? Week? Month? Quarter? Write it down.
- HOW do you do these tasks? Write down the process in simple step by step instructions.
Once you write down everything, take a look and try to categorize the tasks into categories like marketing, products, clients, finance, administration, etc.
Tip: Starting to document everything all at once can be overwhelming. When you start a new task, remember to jot down the steps in the moment so that as you scale, you can easily train new team members.
Now, it’s time to think about systems.
Take time to ask yourself the following questions:
- What are your current business systems and processes? Are they helping you achieve things faster or are they slowing you down?
- Is there a platform you could use to accelerate or organize your administrative processes? Like a CRM, email marketing platform, Quickbooks, etc.
- What steps of your client journey can be automated? There may be a platform that can help you auto-send recurring invoices or trigger a welcome sequence email to new customers, for example.
- Is your process spread out over too many different systems or platforms? What can you condense or simplify?
Hiring and Delegation
Once you’ve documented your processes, audited your systems, and automated a few tasks, take a look at your list of responsibilities and their categories. If you still have an overwhelming amount of tasks to do that are not within your zone of genius, that you genuinely dislike doing, or are taking time away from revenue-building, it may be time to build a team. It can be a struggle for business owners to know when to take the leap and hire out help, but you can’t scale and wear all the hats forever if you hope to create a sustainable business with long term success.
Looking at your remaining tasks that have not been automated, highlight what you love doing and want more time to do. Reflect for a minute about why having more time to focus on those elements of business would be beneficial for you and your business.
Now, look at the categories. Are there a high number of tasks to be done in one particular category like general admin, finance, or marketing? If so, this is a great indication of what type of support you’d like to hire out. If the remaining tasks are spread out over various categories, this is a great indication that you could hire a more generalized team member like a virtual assistant.
When it comes to hiring and delegation, staying up to date on progress, challenges, and deadlines is imperative to the success of your team members. Be sure to routinely check in with your team, ask for feedback, and hold space for conscious conversations around how things are going.
As your business grows and there are more people, tasks, and products/services to manager, you’ll need to stay on top of your calendar and schedule. I can tell you from working with over 600 clients building their businesses and careers–time management can make or break you.
Here are my tips for mastering time management to help you scale your business:
- Consider a ‘CEO day’: a day without any external meetings, where you set aside time to catch up on all things admin, communicate with your team, and get ahead of upcoming tasks
- Use your calendar to set reminders for important audits and reflections like your financial planning, quarterly reviews, and taxes. Block off that time to be meeting free and free from distraction.
- Building a business can get overwhelming, so schedule real time for things like self care, time off, admin time, and time with friends. You’re more likely to do it when it’s already scheduled.
- Listen to these Color Your Dreams Podcast episodes for valuable insight about managing your time, your team, and creating a sustainable business:
Scaling your business is a journey that requires intention, strategy, and a focus on sustainable growth. By building a strong brand and vision, understanding your numbers, implementing effective systems and delegation, and practicing time management, you can work toward doing less and living more while building a business that supports your legacy. Remember, seek support and guidance when needed, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. With determination, a well-executed scaling strategy, and a resilient mindset, you can achieve remarkable growth and create the business of your dreams.
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