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How to Scale Up Your Business the Right Way


Every small business owner wants to see their business grow. But not all businesses are able to make the leap from small to medium-sized or large businesses. In his book, Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It… and Why the Rest Don’t, Verne Harnish lays out a roadmap for how businesses can successfully scale up. Here’s a summary of his book and what you need to do to ensure your business scales up the right way.

The First Things You Need to Do

Before you can even start thinking about scaling up your business, you need to get a few things in order first. Harnish outlines four specific areas that need attention before you can start scaling: people, strategy, execution, and cash.

The Right People on Your Team

One of the most important aspects of any business is the team working for you. In order for a company to scale up, it is essential that the employees can handle the new responsibilities and challenges that come with growth. The “People” section of Scaling Up discusses the importance of hiring the right people, training and development, and communication.

Hiring the right people is essential for a company’s success. To find the best employees, a good recruiting process is important. Hiring the wrong person can be costly and can set the company back. Training and development are also important to help employees grow and be able to handle new challenges. Communication is key for employees to understand what is expected of them and to be able to work together as a team.

Harnish recommends using what he calls the “Core Values Index” to help assess whether someone is a good fit for your team. The CVI is a tool that helps evaluate if someone’s values align with your company’s core values. Because if they don’t, it’s likely that person will not be an asset to your company as it grows. 

Creating Your Scaling Roadmap With the Rockefeller Habits Checklist

After you have the right team in place, it’s time to turn your attention to creating a roadmap for scaling up your business. To do this, Harnish recommends using what he calls the Rockefeller Habits Checklist. This checklist was created by Harnish and his team at EMyth and is based on best practices from some of the world’s most successful companies. The checklist covers 10 key areas that businesses need to focus on if they want to scale up successfully, including having a compelling tagline and measurable goals.

The section provides a framework for developing a strategy, which includes understanding the company’s vision, mission, and values; determining its target market and customer segmentation; and identifying its key strategies and initiatives. Additionally, the section highlights the importance of setting measurable goals and objectives to track progress and ensure that the company is on track to achieve its strategic objectives.

Executing Your Plan With The Ultimate Sales Machine

Next, it’s time to start executing on your plan. But how do you ensure that your plan gets executed effectively? To answer this question, Harnish lays out what he calls The Ultimate Sales Machine process in his book. This process includes setting quarterly themes—areas of focus for each quarter—and creating weekly and daily action plans to help ensure those themes are achieved. By following these steps, you can set your business up for success as it scales.

Driving Profitability

The Cash section in the book is one of the most important chapters. In this section, Harnish discusses the importance of having a strong cash flow and how to maintain a healthy cash flow. He also provides several case studies of companies that have succeeded in scaling up while maintaining a healthy cash flow.

One of the key points that Harnish makes in this chapter is that cash flow is not just about making money; it’s also about keeping money in the bank. In order to maintain a healthy cash flow, a company needs to have a good cash management system in place. This includes making sure that you have enough cash on hand to cover your expenses, paying your bills on time, and collecting payments from your customers as quickly as possible.

Harnish also recommends keeping a close eye on your “cash conversion cycle” (CCC). This is the amount of time it takes for you to go from receiving an order from a customer to collecting payment for that order. The shorter your CCC, the better. You can reduce your CCC by streamlining your ordering process, reducing the amount of time it takes to ship orders, and collecting payments as quickly as possible.

In addition to maintaining a healthy cash flow, Harnish recommends keeping an eye on your “burn rate”. This is the rate at which you are spending money, and it’s important to make sure that you don’t spend more than you earn. You can reduce your burn rate by cutting costs, increasing sales, or both.

Are You Ready to Scale Your Business?

This book is loaded with actionable information on how to scale your business and take it to the next level. Our article only touches on the basics of everything it takes to scale a business. By following Harnish’s advice on building the right team, creating a scaling plan using the Rockefeller Habits Checklist, and executing that plan with The Ultimate Sales Machine process, and driving profitability, you can set your business up for success as it grows.

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