Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
There’s more to a successful business than free cash and killer marketing strategies—sales growth is what truly drives a business forward.
That said, rapid growth can be dangerous for your small business if the proper systems aren’t in place to support the additional demand on your resources. If you’re not prepared, you could wind up with a leak in your growth rate. That’s why scaling is so important.
Think of scaling, in its very basic form, as a sequential set of events that connects the key components of your organization. Scaling implies alignment, control, and predictability. In other words, it means fast—yet safe—growth.
In order to successfully scale your small business, you first need to recognize the key components of scaling and then understand how to optimize them.
The key components of scaling
Successful use of scaling: An example
One of the companies I’ve been watching, ADMET, offers a great example of a small business that scaled for sustainable, successful growth by optimizing the key components of the business.
This company manufactures and sells systems that test the mechanical properties of metal, rubber, plastics, and other materials. Several years ago, the owner of the company saw an opportunity to reposition (positioning) the company as a specialist in the biomedical sector. This involved building systems (product innovation) that could test the strength, durability, and all relevant mechanical properties of molecules.
Thus, a new story for the company was crafted (marketing), new sales talent recruited (sales), production altered to build the new systems (operations and production/development), and customer support implemented to ensure the new systems were used properly. Several years later, the company has built a multi-million dollar business, and it is now ranked as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country.
Sounds simple enough; all the moving parts are connected and aligned. So why don’t all small businesses scale?
Leakage: The downfall of many small businesses
As small businesses grow, leakage often creeps in. People don’t perform, processes are not put in place, and follow-through is missing, all resulting in lost revenue and a leak in forward momentum.
For example, leakage is quite common in small software companies when the product begins to sell but the owner doesn’t get ahead of the curve. Instead of investing in sales and marketing teams to scale the business, the owner builds the product, answers queries on the phone, builds enhancements to the website, and then, late at night, does the bookkeeping. It’s the classic long hours and potential burnout scenario that can easily result in lost revenue.
Other issues that may arise include:
Unfortunately, leakage generally occurs only as you become successful—as you grow and add more components. As the founder gets stretched, leakage can occur all over the company. Orders are late, cash isn’t chased, metrics aren’t put in place to measure things, and momentum is lost.
Without addressing these issues, it’s nearly impossible to grow your business. As a small business owner, it’s important to realistically approach scaling in order to minimize leakage. Consider what tasks you can offload that will enable you to focus on bigger-picture items that will help your company grow.
Scaling often requires opening up the mind to bigger plans. Businesses evolve through various stages, and you need to be open to all of them.
To learn more about minimizing leakage, read “Small Business Advice: Minimizing Losses While Growing Your Company.”
Ian Smith is the author of “Fulfilling the Potential of Your Business: Big Company Thinking for the Mighty Small Business,” which won the Small Business Book Awards for Management in 2012. His blog, the Smith Report, focuses on ways to scale businesses. In 2010 he founded the Portfolio Partnership to help CEOs fulﬁll the potential of their businesses. As an ex-CFO, investment banker, venture capitalist, and CEO, Mr. Smith has realized more than $400 million for shareholders over the past 25 years. Still competitive, Ian is ranked in the top 20 in the world at 400m on the track for his age.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.