How to scale in three easy steps:
- Get more focused
2. Do a better job
3. Do it faster
We get more focused when we uncover what we’re really doing. Sometimes it’s “niching down.” All of the time it’s understanding why whatever we’re doing is perceived to be valuable.
Once we know why it’s valuable, we can turn to maximizing the value offered. I like to think of it as moving from sort of doing something to really doing it.
Finally, once we know something is valuable and how to deliver it, we need to do it faster and spread it farther. This forces us back to focus and allows us to spiral up.
One small applied example:
When I was a teenager I played guitar. Occasionally I’d show a friend how to do or play something, and eventually some people asked for lessons. I officially started to offer them (focus).
Next, I realized I needed systems to teach, because a student coming back week after week needed a track to work down (better).
Finally, I started offering the service and telling people I was willing to take on more students (faster).
There was a limit to how much I wanted to do, so it never scaled beyond a handful of students at any point in time to give me a little extra money, but the core principles are all there.
One big applied example:
Jeff Bezos wanted to sell stuff online. Books were nonperishable, nonbreakable, and regularly shaped – all good for ordering online and shipping by mail (focus).
Amazon started by tweaking how they showed the books, accepted payments, and got orders out the door. They iterated, and iterated, and iterated as they learned the business (better).
As the volume increased so did their operations and so did their knowledge. They quickly moved from a small warehouse with a few employees to a larger warehouse with more help (faster).
Bezos saw a much larger opportunity in selling things online. Books were just the starting point on how he scaled his idea up.
They’re three simple steps, but they’ve got everything we need when we want to scale.