Let’s talk about scalable processes for growing your business. Like, from zero to $1 million.
The simple truth is that when you’re chasing after seven figures, it all comes down to sales. Closing, closing, closing. Barring extremely good PR coverage or sheer luck, your first 10, 100, and even 1,000 are going to be a grind.
In the early days, when you’re forced to wear multiple hats, you should also be the main salesperson. It will be hard work, but you can get up to a million. Anyone who’s providing a valuable service and who can do a bit of everything fairly well should be able to scale up a consulting business or even freelance service to $1 million per year.
Now, when you are trying to to get from $1 million to $10 million or from $10 million to $100 million, things get both easier and tricker.
In plain English, going from $1 to $10 million is about focusing on setting up the right processes. You need to focus on putting into writing, video, or any other evergreen format the processes that your people can follow reliably.
If somebody gets sick, you can immediately plug somebody else in with the right resources for success. If somebody leaves all of a sudden, you have these processes ready to go. You also have people sitting on the bench ready to join your team (i.e. your recruiting processes).
I remember reading a tweet that said something like:
95% of problems in a company are the processes and 5% are the people.
Most of the time it’s the processes, and most people don’t know how to set these up the right way, even if they are successful. That’s why I’m constantly thinking about processes and products, and iterating over and over.
Keep in mind that, as a company, where you were a year ago may be completely different from where you are today. A lot of your processes you used to rely on might be broken or not up-to-date, so you should be setting up and testing new ones.
Related Content: 8 Strategic Questions That Will Help You Grow Your Business
In order to grow or even just sustain your current level of success, you need to foolproof your business against turnover. That starts with a process audit at least once a quarter. Talk through it with your team. We like to use 15Five to see what people’s sentiments are, where we can improve in the company, and what things we can fix.
Another process is to just have a pulse on the company. I come into the office three times a week and ask everyone else to do the same. Three days in, two days out, and it works well for us. This is the best way we discovered to check in with each other and make sure that we’re all getting the work done.
At Single Grain, we have a ton of processes set up for Google Drive, which I copied this from a company called Guava Box. They have all their agency processes clearly documented inside Google Drive, and everyone can see them.
For example, we have a single Google Drive account with folders for everything, from client onboarding to vacation policies. We have content ideation, growth experiments, KPIs and dashboards, and it’s all easy to navigate.
The best thing to do is download all this structural knowledge to one person, ideally an ops person or executive assistant, who will not only “own” this library of info, but also take the lead in getting people together to document new processes as they arise.
This type of process documentation has especially helped with sales calls. When we want our sales reps to take a look at past sales calls we’ve done, all they have to do is go find them in Google Drive. They can even watch screencast. That way, we don’t have to keep reinventing the same wheel. No one has to babysit anyone at work.
Google Drive is absolutely great for keeping educational resources for your teams in one place. We have videos, certifications, work-for-hire agreements, standard operating procedures, content promotion, etc.
Of course, the thing about free libraries is that most people don’t take advantage of them. Your job as a leader who is focused on scaling your company into 8 figures is to keep people accountable, maintain budgets, and hold your profit margin to a certain standard.
Keeping all these things in place will help you stay organized, because if it’s all over the place it’s an inefficient, hectic free-for-all. You’re not going to be able to grow because your processes are such a mess, and people are going to get frustrated all the time.
You need to have these guardrails in place to help you get to the next level.
This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post: