When I initially engage with my clients, probably the most common theme I come across is that they want to scale their business. What that usually means in their mind, is increasing the size of their sales team, buying bulk stock to get a cheaper cost per unit etc. However they miss the most important step of all, one that is crucial to long term and sustainable success. So what is it?
It’s understanding how to become a value based business, and that starts from within your own 4 walls.
Enter Lean Thinking
I’ve spent my whole career applying the 5 key principles of lean, principles that will drive out waste so you focus on the value for both your client’s and your own business. But I don’t mention the word lean anymore. See lean has become a dirty word in many areas, mainly because
- it is applied poorly and the results never materialise
- Businesses use it as a mechanism to cut resources, that is do the same with less, so it’s seen as a cost cutting tool
However the real value with lean is how it can scale your business, and it’s a shame that it is misused and misunderstood. Also it forces you to be smart about scaling and in fact you can scale your business without scaling your cost..!!
Lean is all about driving value for the customer, at the lowest possible cost for you, without compromising quality, for me, that is the perfect Win – Win tool!
In this case, we are talking about understanding every activity you do in your business in terms of
- Necessary Non Value
- Pure Waste
No matter what I want to achieve with a customer.. it always starts with an assessment of their current operation, or sales process / funnel and sometimes both.. And out of that assessment I always end up working to improve the effectiveness of these same processes before we get on to what they initially asked me to improve.. Why? Well, sometimes if companies go eyes wide shut into a scaling model, they don’t realise they will scale their issues too, and sometimes they can reach critical mass and cause substantial problems for the business.
When you are smart about scaling, and scaling should be your goal, the 1st and most powerful step is to scale your business without scaling your costs.