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A Matter of Scale: 3 Important Factors to Achieve Scale Successfully

November 26, 2012

There’s nothing better than testing something that ends up being the best thing since sliced bread — be it a successful retargeting outing, a mind-blowing link building campaign, a surprising social media demand generation result, or even an aspect of company service in general.

However, a test has little value unless it can repeated on a larger scale and on an ongoing basis. Making this leap from business test to business model is where the challenge really begins. Here are three common factors that are critical to achieving scale.

1. Process

A standard, repeatable process is central to achieving scale. Although it may not be the most exciting undertaking, it is hugely important to understand, define and document the process in order to reproduce comparable quality in an efficient way.

Whilst written documentation is important, process flow charts can help aid understanding and be used as a useful communication/training tool. Once this core process is in place, ongoing adjustments and improvements can be made over time to refine the process further.

2. People

People are needed to support the process on a wide scale. But it’s not just about body count, it’s about having the right people who have been properly trained and can execute both effectively and consistently. Just because you know how to do something doesn’t mean that your employees or peers can do the same.

I’m a huge fan of Portland foodcarts. I love that the foodcart owner lovingly recreates my food consistently on every visit; it’s consistency that keeps me going back. The trouble comes when the owner decides to expand her business out and the people manning the new carts either haven’t been properly trained or simply don’t quite care as much about the food they are putting out. That one bad experience will put me (and others) off from going back, ever again.

I guess the point is that you can have the right process, but it won’t get you far unless you also have the right individuals in place.

3. Infrastructure

Finally, you need the right infrastructure in order to:

  • Support the processes you have
  • Help your people work smarter and more efficiently
  • Be flexible enough to accommodate future growth

In addition, the development of standardized templates can help to make processes more efficient and help save time for people. It is important to remember that systems and tools should exist to make life easier, not to add unnecessary complexity.

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