Episode 135: Scale Test

Is Your Business Scalable?

Can your business pass the “three little pigs” test? Meaning, is your business built on a strong foundation to withstand the pressure of growth?

If you aren’t currently able to take on new clients, then you need to take a step back and really look at your business foundation. What needs to change in order for you to scale?


In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • What the “Three Little Pigs” test is
  • How to be proactive when it comes to scaling your business
  • How to identify weak areas to reinforce them
  • How to take action now

Featured in this episode:

The 3 Little Pigs is a timeless tale that teaches us about preparation, resilience, and the importance of building a solid foundation. Today, I want to talk to you and use this story as a test to evaluate whether your business can withstand the challenges of scaling. I like to do this with my clients. It's a really great exercise. And so if you follow along, it's going to give you a lot of insights about what is missing or what needs to change in order to scale your business. Okay. I want you to imagine that your business has doubled or even tripled in size from where you are right now. Imagining really quick growth without changing anything about how your business is currently operating is gonna show you what's scalable and what's not.

It's gonna help you see what needs to change in order to scale. So when you think about your business, I want you to ask what would be made of straw, what would be made of sticks, and what would be made of stone, okay? We're gonna use this tale to follow along. So let's start with the straw. In the story, the first little pig built his house quickly and effortlessly using straw. It was the easiest and cheapest option at the time, but when the big bad wolf came, when he started knocking, it was blown away without much effort at all. In the context of scaling a business, the straw represents the elements that are weak, fragile, or lacking a strong foundation. These could be outdated processes, inadequate systems, or a weak organizational structure. When you scale up, these weaknesses become more and more apparent, and they can lead to major setbacks or even collapse entirely.

It's important to identify these areas and reinforce them with stronger materials as early as possible, okay? And stronger materials as an analogy here for scalable systems, scalable processes for higher performing team members, all of that, okay? When I've done this exercise with my clients, there are a lot of manual actions. There are high levels of support that aren't always scalable. And sometimes the business owner realizes that entire strategies or offers are dependent on their time and therefore made of straw. Anything that you can't continue to do long term that aren't sustainable long term need to be cut, they need to be changed, or they need to be delegated. Okay? Let's move on to the sticks. The second little pig chose sticks to build his house. While slightly more durable than straw, it still couldn't withstand the might of the big bad wolf. In the business world, the sticks symbolize all of the half-hearted attempts at scaling without proper planning or preparation.

It could involve hasty hiring decisions, insufficient resources, or a lack of strategic thinking. Sure, you might be able to get by for a while, but eventually your infrastructure will crumble under the weight of increased demand. I have clients who grow when they sneeze. They can do the simplest things and they have some incredible demand for their offers and so they scale very quickly. But then they struggle to keep up on the back end. They struggle to keep clients happy. They struggle to follow all of the processes and make sure the quality doesn't suffer. Or maybe they struggle to shift to technology that can really support the growth.

And I tell you, it's a big process to switch technology after you've scaled. It's much better to think about and build or utilize technology systems processes that are scalable from the beginning. Scaling requires a more robust approach, one that involves solidifying your processes, investing in great talent, and aligning resources for that sustainable growth. And yes, I see it all the time. People take shortcuts. They deal with tech inefficiencies. They put up with manual processes. You just deal with all of those in the short term, but they become a bigger problem as you scale.

And I want to remind you that problems scale. A small problem now is going to be a big problem later. I have an entire episode on that, so you can go back and listen to that, okay? Finally, there's the house that's made of stone. The third little pig invested time, effort, and resources to build a strong, sturdy house made of stone. His house might not have been completed the fastest, but when the wolf arrived, huffing and puffing, he could not blow it down. In the context of scaling a business, the stone represents the solid foundation. It represents the infrastructure that's required for sustainable growth. It involves building strong systems, scalable processes, a resilient organizational culture by investing in the right technology, the right talent, in strategic planning, in scalable systems, in scalable offers, in a business model that will last long term, that isn't completely dependent on you, your business can thrive even when faced with challenges.

Okay? So I wanna ask you, can your business pass this scale test right now? Is your business made of stone or is it made of straw or sticks? Okay. If it's not made of stone, I want you to look at your business. If you want to scale, I want you to ask yourself what parts of my business are made of straw, sticks, or stone? What needs strengthening, reinforcing, rebuilding? Because scaling is going to require that you give an honest evaluation of where you are currently. And it's also going to require a willingness to make the necessary changes and investments to withstand all of the pressures that are going to come with growth. Scaling is going to put different pressures, different stressors on your business. And that's a good thing, right? Scaling is a good thing, but you just have to build in a way that can withstand that pressure. The pressures and the stressors that I'm talking about are triple the number of clients, 10x the number of clients to deal with, right? That's amazing. It's such a good thing unless it's not, right? When you have more clients coming to you and that's a problem, then that means that you haven't built your business out of stone.

Okay? So remember to build a lasting and successful business by identifying the areas that need improvement and taking action to strengthen them proactively in preparation for scaling. You want to be proactive, not reactive. So rather than waiting until you've scaled and they're an even bigger problem, go ahead and think ahead. Where do you want to be 3 years from now? Go ahead and set your business up now to be able to handle that level of growth. That's going to help you prevent problems as you scale. Okay, let's see if you can pass the scale test. If not, then look at where you need to make some improvements. Okay? Start making some changes anywhere that things are made of straw or sticks and let's get your entire business ready to withstand the growth that you want to see.


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