How to Scale your Business when you’re already booked solid and more people want your expertise.

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This is a repost of an article I dug out of the archives in response to a comment the lovely Pam Slim posted on Facebook about being too busy to write a post on being too busy to serve more clients. 

Many years ago, my partner and I started a furniture business in Tucson. We were successful right off the starting block and paid for our first shipment before we ordered more inventory. We loved to travel and didn’t want to be in one place all the time so we hired and trained a manager and staff, then moved on to open store number two and three in Phoenix. We also knew we wanted to live on the coast eventually so we opened store number 4 in San Diego. Then things got tricky because with us out of state, 2 of the 3 store managers in Arizona got lazy and didn’t maintain the level of integrity we’d hoped. We knew we couldn’t be in more than one place so we basically cloned ourselves by training the best Az manager to supervise the others and promoted him to district manager. We continued with this scalable model as we built the business throughout California and it enabled us to take extended family vacations and continue to earn even when we weren’t present.

Whether you have a brick and mortar business selling physical items or you do individual or group coaching or consulting, you will find yourself in the same position eventually. More people want what you have than you can service by yourself. You either hit a maximum earning power, raise your rates according to demand or figure out how to serve more people. Since there are a finite number of hours in a day and you have a limit to how much energy you can expend before you need to recharge, the scalable model is the best solution. But how do you do that?

Let’s say you’re a coach or consultant. The first step, if you haven’t done so already, would be to document in detail everything you do to help your clients. This will become your training manual. Now, find people who have the personality type AND experience you possess but may not have the organizational or marketing skills. Work closely with them for long enough that you have complete faith in referring your overflow to them. You can charge for training or “certification” or take a percentage of the revenue from clients you refer to them.

NOTICE I said EXPERIENCE and PERSONALITY, not skill-set. There are lots of coaches out there who are doing certification programs simply to get the fee but you should NEVER refer your valuable clients to someone who has never done the work themselves that you are “certifying” them to do. 

Let’s look at a couple of other examples. Do you do a particular modality of body work that is your intellectual property? Your clients are so happy with what you do that they refer their friends and suddenly, you have more people in need of your services than you can physically serve. I recommend you go to a massage therapy school and find those graduate therapists who have the quality of touch, presence and energy that your modality requires and then teach them your specific techniques. You can certify and refer clients to them. Again, you can either charge a training and certification fee or accept a percentage of the revenue from clients you send to them.

Do you make a craft, say jewelry or textile art,  that is very popular and there’s demand for more product than you can produce on your own? A great way to scale that would be to find some stay-at-home moms who can create their own cottage industries doing piece work for you. There are lots of tips on leveraging your income from your craft at craftbizblog.com

Regardless of what kind of work you do, you can expand beyond what you can do on your own by leveraging the power of teaching others to serve in the same way you do. And always, always be sure to choose people who you feel absolutely confident about representing YOU.

Have you done this in your business? If so, please do share with us here in the comments below.

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