Quality vs. Quantity in the Art of Scaling | NAWBO

Scaling a business is a delicate art. As entrepreneurs, most all of us want our businesses to grow, but when it comes to balancing quantity and quality in the process—whether we’re taking out a loan, partnering with an investor or merging with or acquiring another company—we should always hold tight to what truly makes us special.

 “Companies that scale well have sacred constraints, things they can never screw up,” says Robert Sutton, a management professor at Stanford and co-author of the book Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less. For example, Sutton says that for a company like Starbucks, it’s the whole coffee-drinking experience—the smell and the sound of beans grinding—that’s been sacred to maintain through their rapid growth.

According to SCORE, the non-profit education and mentorship organization for small businesses, scalability is also about capacity and capability. Does your business have the capacity to grow? Will your systems, infrastructure and team be able to accommodate growth? It means setting the stage to enable and support growth. It means having the ability to grow without being hampered. And that requires planning, some funding and the right systems, staff, processes, technology and partners. 

Here are a few questions to ask as you look to maintain what makes your business special as it grows:

  • “Am I ready to grow?” Take stock of where your business stands right now. Then, strategize what you need to do to increase sales. Assume your efforts are successful and you double your business overnight. Do you have the people and systems to handle that business without seriously struggling or failing?
  • “Where will the money come from?” Scaling a business costs money. You may eventually have to hire employees, invest in new technology and add equipment or facilities. Consider how much capital you need and then take a lesson from the pandemic: Start building a relationship with a banking partner now who can help expedite the process when you’re ready.
  • “Can I sell more?” The answer to this isn’t just about having a great product or service, but also about having the sales structure to support it. Look at your current structure for a sufficient lead flow; systems to track and manage leads; people to manage orders/projects; and a billing/receivable system to make sure you’re paid on time.
  • “How can technology help?” The great thing about technology is that it makes it easier and less expensive to scale—and it can reach around the globe. Consider things like how automation can help you run your business more efficiently by minimizing manual work, and how today’s latest marketing technologies can help you reach new markets.
  • “Are my people ready?” Remember, an organization is only as good as its people, and while technology can help speed up the process, you’ll need good people to carry out the work as you scale. Assess everything from management to manufacturing to customer service. Also, plan for how to find qualified people quickly when needed.

At NAWBO, we’re always here to support your growth too. Look around your chapter and the nation. There’s always another woman business owner who is in the same place or has scaled before you who can provide insight and inspiration. And tap into all the education and resources we offer—they’re designed to support all aspects of your business success no matter where you are in your journey!


—Cristina Morales Heaney
  2020-2021 NAWBO National Board Chair

Related Posts

Continuing the Vision and Legacy
October 19, 2021

In 1975, there were no business organizations with membership open to women entrepreneurs, so a...

Upcoming NAWBO Events
October 15, 2021

Rebranding NAWBO and rebranding business is fraught with challenges.   For those of you who have...

A Message from Our President:...
October 06, 2021

As we head into Fall and the final stretches of 2021, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on the...

Communication Is Everything
September 15, 2021

Communicating internally with employees and externally with customers and vendors has always been...

Upcoming NAWBO Events
September 13, 2021

knoodle PR Director Katy Hansen interviews gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake in first program....

Upcoming NAWBO Events
August 20, 2021

President, Rosaria Cain     As we emerge from 2020 with a vaccine and a new way of looking at...

Caring For You Is Caring For Your...
August 18, 2021

Entrepreneurship has so many positives—your time is yours to control, you are building something...

NAWBO National Commends U.S. Senate...
July 27, 2021

NAWBO National looks forward to continuing work with SBA on behalf of women business owners....

A Message from Our President: Quality...
July 07, 2021

During COVID, I did something a little crazy. As the pandemic was in full swing and my business...

A Message From Our President: #...
July 02, 2021

It’s June, which means summer is finally here! I don’t know about you, but I’m happy to finally...

Rooted in Advocacy
June 16, 2021

  There’s a time and place for everything, and for our #NAWBOVoice that speaks out for not only...

Leading the Way: The Ultimate Test
May 19, 2021

Whether you manage a team of two or 200, this prolonged pandemic has no doubt been the ultimate...

A Message from Our President: Leading...
May 03, 2021

Welcome to May! With spring in bloom and vaccination distribution well underway, we are beginning...

Minding the Rules
April 21, 2021

Compliance is a catch-all term for how well you mind the rules—the laws and regulations governing...

A Message From Our President: Minding...
April 07, 2021

Happy April! With some doses of warmer weather and stretches with real sunshine, I hope you are...

A Message from Our President: People...
March 31, 2021

Happy March! We are so excited (and relieved) that Spring is finally upon us! The theme this month...

Our Most Important Asset: Our People
March 17, 2021

At NAWBO, we know our most important asset is our people—the amazingly talented and diverse women...

Think Inclusive from the Start
February 17, 2021

The positive impacts of diversity and inclusion (D&I) are clear and run deep. In fact, we’ve...

A Message from Our President: Think...
February 03, 2021

If January wasn’t the “Fresh Start” to 2021 you were expecting, that’s okay! The beauty of fresh...

Member Spotlight: Ashley Logan
February 03, 2021

ASHLEY LOGAN Founder & CEO, Yakkety Yak   When Ashley Logan started in content marketing in...