- 10 Battle-Tested Strategies to Scale Your Business
Receive infrequent tools, workshops and articles related to growing your business!
May 20, 2024

As a founder who's been in the trenches scaling my own companies for over 25 years, I've seen firsthand that growing a business isn't just about getting bigger, it's about being smart, nimble, and making sure your foundation can handle the growth. In my experience advising clients, I've found these are the ten strategies that make all the difference:

1. Your Customers Are Everything

Early on at my first startup, Imulus, we were so focused on growth that we lost sight of the customer experience. It nearly sank us. I quickly learned that your business will only go as far as your customers take you. Listen to them obsessively, act on their feedback, and make sure every single interaction leaves them smiling. The customer experience has to be central to your culture. Think about how Amazon built its empire by obsessing over customer satisfaction; it's a lesson we can all learn from. Your customers are your best marketers and advocates. Happy customers lead to word-of-mouth referrals, repeat business, and a positive reputation. Make it easy for them to give feedback and show them you're listening by making improvements based on their suggestions.

2. Automate or Stagnate

I used to pride myself on doing everything "by myself"...until I found myself drowning in busy-work instead of focusing on big wins and strategic moves. Automating repetitive tasks, whether it's marketing emails or basic customer service, is how you stay lean and mean as you scale. Find tools that click with your workflow (for me, it was Zapier, AgileCRM, and Wufoo); tools non-engineers can use. Now we have AI to assist with automation. Think of automation as your silent partner, working behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly. When you automate tasks, you free up time for yourself and your team to focus on strategy, innovation, and growth. And don't just automate for the sake of it; carefully choose the areas that will have the most significant impact on efficiency and accuracy.

3. Your Team Is Your Secret Weapon

To go big, you need an A-team who eats, sleeps, and breathes your vision. But hiring right is just the start; you've got to invest in their growth, promote from within, and build a culture of extreme ownership. I like to think of my team like a jazz combo: each a master of their instrument but magic when they riff together. Create an environment where your team feels valued and empowered to make decisions. Encourage continuous learning and development, and recognize and reward their contributions. A motivated and cohesive team can achieve incredible things, driving your business forward in ways you might not have imagined.

4. Multiple Money Streams or Bust

In 2008I watched several "successful" companies in my space fold overnight. Why? They relied on one big client or revenue source. Never again, I vowed. Diversifying your revenue doesn't just give you stability; it opens new creative doors. For us, that meant thinking beyond agency work to build several sweet software tools. When you have multiple revenue streams, you're not putting all your eggs in one basket. This diversification can buffer against market volatility and unexpected changes. Explore different avenues like subscription models, partnerships, and new product lines to create a robust and resilient revenue structure.

5. Operational Efficiency Is King

We had this moment at my second company where everything felt like it was grinding to a halt. Turns out, our operations were a mess. Streamlining processes, cutting out the waste, and constantly tweaking things to be more efficient changed everything. It's like tuning an engine; you've got to keep it running smoothly to win the race. Look for bottlenecks and redundancies in your workflows and address them proactively. Use project management tools, establish clear processes, and ensure your team is aligned on priorities and goals. I really love the Scaling Up PACe Tool for this. Operational efficiency isn't a one-time fix; it's an ongoing commitment to improvement.

6. Data Is Your Crystal Ball

I used to make decisions based on gut feelings. Sometimes it worked, but more often than not, it didn't. Using data and analytics transformed my approach. Understanding market trends, customer behaviors, and internal efficiencies helped us make smarter, faster decisions. Think of data as your business GPS; it tells you where you are and where you need to go. Invest in analytics tools, or use AI and train your team to work effectively. Whether it's tracking customer acquisition costs, conversion rates, or employee productivity, data-driven insights can highlight areas for growth and improvement.

7. Build a Brand, Not Just a Business

I realized early on that a strong brand could set us apart from the competition. Your brand is the story you tell the world, and it's crucial to be consistent, authentic, and engaging. When people trust and recognize your brand, they're more likely to choose you over others. For us, that meant investing in an engaging website, and a consistent voice across all our communications. Your brand should reflect your values and resonate with your target audience. Use branding activities that build trust and loyalty, such as storytelling, customer testimonials, and high-quality content. A strong brand is a long-term asset that can drive growth and sustainability.

8. Go Big Online

Back in the day, a solid website and an email list were enough. Now, your digital presence is everything. Our turning point was when we got serious about SEO, started producing high-quality content, and truly engaged on social media. It wasn't just about being online; it was about being active, engaging, and providing value. Your digital footprint is often your first impression, so make it count. Invest in a user-friendly website, use social media to connect with your audience, and produce valuable content that addresses their needs and interests. Review and optimize your digital strategy to stay ahead of trends and maintain a solid online presence.

9. Partner Up for Success

Some of our biggest wins came from partnerships. Whether it's teaming up with another company for a joint project or aligning with influencers in your industry, partnerships can amplify your reach and credibility. It's all about finding partners whose goals align with yours and who bring something valuable to the table. It's like having a buddy in the business world who has your back. Partnerships can open doors to new markets, sweeten your product offerings, and provide access to resources and expertise you might not have in-house. Cultivate and maintain these relationships for mutual growth and success.

10. The Only Constant Is Change

Here's the biggest scaling secret no one tells you: there is no finish line. I've had to pivot, retrofit, and reinvent more times than I can count. You've got to relentlessly look around the corner, jump on opportunities, and never be afraid to shake things up. It's a wild ride, but putting these ten strategies into practice is how you build something that doesn't just grow, but lasts. Stay curious, adaptable, and ready to innovate. Welcome change as an opportunity to evolve and improve rather than a threat to stability. Your ability to navigate change will determine your long-term success and resilience.

So that's my best coach's pep talk for scaling your business without pulling your hair out. It's not easy, but it's so worth it. If you take nothing else away from my hard-won lessons, remember: never lose sight of why you started. Stay obsessed with your customers, keep pushing for better, and enjoy the crazy adventure of building something amazing. You've got this.

author avatar
George Morris
I use my 20+ years of entrepreneurial experience and training to coach businesses on scaling up rapidly using Verne Harnish's Scaling Up framework. By doing so, my clients are more efficient and profitable, giving them the ability to make bigger impacts in the world. I deeply believe entrepreneurs are the best equipped to be the vehicle for meaningful change, and in the decade ahead, we'll see a substantial shift in how business is done. We'll move to a model where company purpose, impact, curiosity, and team health will be differentiators in overall business success. As Simon Sinek has pointed out, the finite games are the legacy of the past; we're moving to an infinite game.