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

New Year, New Team
January 19, 2022

If you want to know a person’s character, look at the company they keep. That’s true too about an...

A Message From Our President: New Year...
January 04, 2022

HAPPY NEW YEAR! It’s been a wildly eventful couple of years, and 2021 has felt endless at times....

A Message From Our President: Looking...
January 04, 2022

Happy December! I don’t know about you, but I still find myself asking what year it is! After...

A Message from Our President: Leading...
January 04, 2022

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

NAWBO PHX Blog
December 23, 2021

What a wild ride this year has been. Bring on 2022! By Rosaria Cain NAWBO President   This year...

2021 Year in Review
December 15, 2021

It’s been a year like no other for our community of women business owners. We kicked off 2021 with...

A Message From Our President
December 13, 2021

  The days are getting shorter and colder, but we still have time left in this year. For many...

A Message from Our President:...
December 13, 2021

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

Powering the Dreams of Women Business...
November 19, 2021

We all have “that moment” and I remember mine like it was yesterday. I was working in corporate...

Upcoming NAWBO Events
November 15, 2021

At NAWBO, we are thankful for so many reasons. By Rosaria Cain NAWBO President   I am thankful...

NAWBO Chicago Board of Directors...
November 03, 2021

Name: Lynette DeRose Company: Supporting Strategies | Chicago Southland Role on Board: Treasurer...

Membership Insights: Power Your Dream
November 03, 2021

The last year has proven a little challenging for business owners. What have you done to continue...

Mary Balistreri Joins the NAWBO Chicago...
November 03, 2021

  Mary Balistreri Joins the NAWBO Chicago Board   This Fall marked an exciting new chapter for ...

Technology Takeaways For the Road Ahead
October 29, 2021

We really saw the value of technology during the pandemic; imagine the difference if COVID struck...

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...

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...