Why are Some Businesses Scalable?

What makes some businesses scalable and others not? How do businesses make that critical transition from being a small business to hitting the mid-market—because that is really the key to long-term sustainable success?

This is something I’ve given a great deal of thought—and had some firsthand experience with myself—and ultimately I think it boils down to two things. The first is the right people. Entrepreneurs (even some of the most successful and inspired leaders) all too often lack the ability to surround themselves with great teams. Subsequently, they make a misstep at a crucial decision point that keeps them from getting to the next level. In some cases, self-doubt and uncertainty and questionable decision-making take their toll. I’ve found that companies that move to mid-market successfully do so by continuing to upgrade the people around them to help them move to the next level.

If you frequently find yourself in a situation where you are the smartest guy in the room, that’s a problem. At that point, you may want to reevaluate your hiring strategies. The second element is processes, specifically the ability to translate business processes into effective action and sustained professional momentum. Most businesses have processes in place, but they fall short when it comes to the deployment of those processes; they don’t have a system in place to deploy those processes across the organization.

Most failures don’t occur because there isn’t a process, but because it’s not followed. Getting a good idea down on paper is one thing, but it’s manifesting those “best intentions” that distinguishes the best from the rest of the pack. It’s all about implementation: not just about you knowing what needs to be done, but making sure that every member of your teams also knows (and follows through). So what is it that I think makes businesses scalable? In two words: employment and deployment.

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