Scaling a business is not for the faint at heart. But, as a Systems Strategist, before we talk about scaling, we must talk about the difference between growth and scale. See, many people confuse the two but there is a major difference in each, although components of it look the same.
In general, we think of growth in linear terms: a company adds new resources (capital, people, or technology), and its revenue increases as a result. By contrast, scaling is when revenue increases without a substantial increase in resources.
Many businesses are growing and all businesses require growth as each business has a point in time where they will need to invest the necessary resources, time and money into their business to achieve sustainable and measurable outcomes, however, scaling comes after growth. And, scaling can only occur when systems are in place.
The rule of thumb is that we cannot duplicate people, however, we can duplicate policies, processes, procedures and systems. And this is how you scale.
I’ve been able to scale my business dramatically for a couple of reasons:
1. I understood from the beginning, as a Systems Strategist, that I needed a tailored set of systems created, implemented and ingrained into my business in order to be successful.
2. Once I implemented the systems, I then used automations to created repeatable successes that did not require human resources .
3. After the systems were implemented and the automations were created, we then hired people within the organization to do only what systems and automations could not achieve for us. We also have a documented, online onboarding, orientation and training system to ensure all employees feel empowered to perform their job functions as we set them up for success within their roles.
In 2016, after being fired from a full-time job in corporate healthcare while 7 months pregnant, I decided to become a full-time entrepreneur. After spending over fifteen years in corporate healthcare, working with C-Suite executives, I had gained an overwhelming amount of experience in learning how to effectively and efficiency run multimillion and multi-billon dollar organizations.
It was at this time, I began working out of my walk-in closet with a sofa table as my desk and a nightstand as my printer table. I began cold-calling/emailing businesses looking for marketing and advertising assistance.
This was a stage with many tears, lots of frustration and Indeed.com bookmarked in my browser, but I stayed consistent.
After awhile, I began to increase my price as the quality and value of my work increased. I began working on my own systems and processes. Some days working 12-16 hours, skipping lunch and dinner (I don’t suggest doing this lol), I would win a few proposals and lost many.
Even in this period of growth, I’d take many of the funds generated and reinvest in my business. So much so, my car was repossessed and many times left with an overdraft bank account.
The growth phase was taxing (mentally, spiritually, emotionally and especially physically)!
However, after years of making mistakes, learning lessons and doing the work required, I finally went from charging $300 for a website to clients paying $5,000-$11,000/month retainers — and of course, this didn’t happen overnight.
After 8 years as a full-time entrepreneur, never returning back to work for anyone else, I can now say, I’m in the scaling phase.
I’ve been nationally awarded and recognized by Inc Magazine, Forbes, VoyageATL and many other local and regional publications.
Today, our companies, Creativity Justified Advertising Agency and Carrita Cloud & Associates have collectively served over 519 organizations. While Creativity Justified still focuses heavily on marketing and advertising solutions, Carrita Cloud & Associates provide systems, automations and scaling solutions for businesses and brands throughout the world.
One of the happiest moments is when clients come to us stating they finally have their time back to spend with family, friends, their hobbies and so much more because of the systems and automations we’ve developed for them!
Being a woman that never achieved a degree from college (although I attended a few years), was pregnant and raised a child from 19 years old and overcame childhood sexual abuse, the societal odds were stacked against me. Although I worked hard, it never seemed good enough. After being in healthcare for more than fifteen years, my experience alone was not enough to achieve the levels of success I desired.
My world crashed when I lost my job, however, after crying my eyes out the rest of that day, the next day, I got up, got dressed, cleaned out my small walk-in closet and got to work.
The responses to many of those emails were “No”, “Not Interested”, “We already have someone.”…..however, I did not give up. I trusted that God would bring me through; and He did.
You’ll hear more “No’s” than “Yes'” but the more “No’s” you receive, the closer you are to your “Yes!” And, sometimes, all it takes is one “Yes!”
One of the major lessons I’ve had to unlearn during the scaling phase of my business is the need to be overly personal with the client in order to gain their trust as well as the need to be the “face” of my businesses.
There are many gurus and experts that might say that it’s important to be seen and let people in, however, in my own experience, I’ve learned that the most successful businesses are generally faceless businesses. Many of us don’t necessarily know the owner of Chic-fil-a, McDonald’s or Target, however, we still patronize these businesses. Why? It’s simple. We value the services and/or products they offer and the customer experience.
Keeping this in mind, I’ve learned, it’s more about providing an exceptional client/customer experience and high quality services/products. This means more to the client than who might be working on their accounts or who’s packing their order.
When I desired to be the face of mu business, all new clients assumed and desired to work with me 1:1. As the business grew, it was nearly impossible for me to balance life and work while still providing each client with a exceptional experience. This is when I learned to share more about my team, their work, their experience and their expertise.