Everyone wants to know the business “secret” to scaling a small company and creating more passive income. That’s no surprise. What may come as a surprise is that there actually IS one, all-important business secret that anyone who wants to scale their business needs to accept.
I’ll reveal that in just a moment.
If you are here on the Unlimited Success page, there is a strong chance that you either want to run a small business or you are already running one, and you dream of the day when your company can run itself while making you plenty of cash. To do this, a business must first go live, become profitable, and then scale to a level where there are enough staff to continue the venture without you.
But where do you start?
The Business Secret to Scaling a Small Company
Scaling a small business can be particularly difficult for anyone who feels like they should remain in control of their company, and who feels that it’s necessary to micro-manage their staff. If that sounds like you, then brace yourself for a terrifying business secret.
Here it is: to scale your small business, you have to FIRE YOURSELF.
That’s right – just absorb that for a moment. You have to take your business, the organisation you built from the ground up with your hard work, your calculated risk-taking, your money, your determination and your passion, and you have to pass it into the hands of employees who you gave jobs to.
Calm down, though. There is a process.
Before you start, the idea of scaling your small business can feel like a monumental task – but every journey begins with a single step.
If your company is already making profit and your staff are fulfilling their roles to a high standard, you can take that first step today.
The process of firing yourself and removing any need for your presence begins by noting your daily tasks down in bullet point form, and then transferring the list into a clear mind-map. We can’t emphasise enough that this includes everything – every phone call, every regular email, every decision, and every task down to the smallest detail, encompassing both weekly duties (including the day they fall on) and ad hoc duties that happen with any kind of regularity.
You can send this list of bullet points each week to a virtual assistant or personal assistant to type up and put into order, who will then transfer the information into a clearly indexed and numbered “manual” format. Record any sales and marketing scripts and processes onto a Dictaphone app and send the files to your PA/VA to have completed by the end of each week and sent to you ready to peruse by early the following week.
These manuals will, of course, expand over time as you become aware of your other tasks. Check them once a month, reading them as if you know nothing about the role and asking yourself whether someone else could use the manual to step into your role. Be precise and be as thorough as you can, feeding any tweaks that you think should be made back to your PA/VA.
3 months is probably a good target to aim for with this first phase, and after this time period you can review the manual and ask for feedback from partners, peers, coaches and mentors, before deciding whether the manual is ready to be taken forwards or whether it still requires work. You may want to show the manual or a section of the manual to an editor or copywriter, to see whether it is clear and well-structured from a professional standpoint.
Once you are satisfied with the manual as it stands, the process can then be initiated by your various team members too, with your managers defining their own roles within the company and managing down.
A light-hearted side note: once you begin the process, don’t do as we did and essentially blackmail your team into creating their tasks manual! When we first began systemising one of our businesses, we set up an incentive scheme for those who complied, and, foolishly, a punishment system for those who didn’t. After a massive staff upset, including more than one member walking out that very day, we quickly learned that threatening your staff is just about the worst kind of management you can give!
Scale your business – and then take a break
No one ever said that starting and scaling a small business was going to be easy, but the passive income you can create as a result will give you more time to indulge in your other passions or start other businesses, as well as to protect and prepare for your future. When you have a firm and meticulously pieced-together manual, you create for yourself the opportunity to spend time away from work on holiday or in your spare time, without worrying that it isn’t going to be left in reliable hands. Depending on how successful your business is and the opportunity for finding markets elsewhere, a detailed manual can even allow for a replica business to be rolled out at a separate geographical location, in the manner of McDonalds, Tesco, or countless other corporations.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. Start small, invest time into recording your tasks and those of your staff, and you’ll soon have the information ready for your next big step: taking a break abroad, with no contact to your company!
*Bonus tip for growing your small business*
This tip works at any stage of your professional life, and is designed to help you come up with new ideas for growing and eventually scaling a company.
One evening, once a week, write down 15 money-making ideas for growing your company, which you could implement over the next 7 days. At first, it doesn’t matter if they are serious ideas or original ideas; your target should be to get the entire 15 down into a document. Getting 15 full ideas may seem unrealistic initially, but by making sure you come up with a total of 15 each time you say you will, you are training your brain to think more creatively and to conceive of different ideas, on demand. Try to complete the task in 15 minutes.
Now, you could include ideas like cutting wastage, making a video or shooting a live Facebook vlog, trying a new advertising or marketing strategy, or asking your current customers for referrals. We’re not going to list 15 ideas though – that’s your job!
After you have them all up, email the document to yourself and maybe your MD, and then next week reply to the message so that over time you will have a long conversation with yourself, packed with ideas for improving the business. If you haven’t quite reached the stage when your company is ready to be scaled out, practising creativity and implementing some of your more realistic, achievable ideas, is a powerful way to grow and expand your small business, ready for the day when you begin systemising the company.
Have you scaled your business? If not, what is stopping you? If you have, what tips do you have to offer? Let us know in the comments!
If you would like to read about more small business growth and success, read this blog