You scale by repeating whatever it is that is working to generate revenue. You’re no longer in experiment mode. You’ve found something that works. Now your objective is to repeat it as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
You scale by repeating whatever it is that is working to generate revenue. If inside sales is what’s working, hire another rep. If Google Adwords and content marketing is what’s working, spend more dollars on Google ads. Simply put, repetition is the opposite of experimentation. You’re no longer in experiment mode where you’re trying to find out something that works. You’ve found something that works and now your objective is to repeat it as quickly and as efficiently and as often as possible to grow your top line.
I think being ready to scale starts with the founder. If all the founder wanted to do was to solve a complex engineering problem, well that problem is already solved. A founder who wants to scale is a founder who doesn’t just want to build a product. If all the founder wants to get that product in the hands of customers, wants to see them use it, wants to get feedback, wants to solve their problem, and by doing that, build a big company, there’s a huge amount of change involved in going from being a technical founder pre-revenue, to being a leader of a $10-, $50-, or $100 million revenue company. But the best founders want to do it because the best technologists want to do it, because if all you do is build your technology and it stays idle, you haven’t made a difference. Great founders want to build, and as Steve Jobs say, great founders want to ship.
As you think about growing your business, and in particular how quickly you should grow, my strong advice is don’t let the financial markets be the primary driver of what you choose to do. Dare I say it, don’t even let your greed or your ambition be the primary driver of what you choose to do. The number one thing you should focus on is what are the needs of your customers, how quickly are potential customers starting to adopt the product? And ask yourself the hard questions, do you have time to wait, or will other companies fill the void if you don’t grow quickly enough to satisfy your customers’ needs? What we’ve seen over and over again in our companies is that financially driven models and spreadsheet driven models of what you’re going to do, generally very quickly give way to the two eternal constraints—how quickly or slowly will customers adopt your product, and how quickly or slowly can you hire the people to meet that need? It’s generally the ability to hire, and the ability to grow and satisfy customers that determine how quickly you grow at the scaling stage.