5 Tips for Scaling a One-Person Operation
There are plenty of six- and seven-figure businesses that are owned and operated by a single person. There’s no reason your business can’t be the next one. It’s all about learning how to scale with efficiency. Here are several proven tips:
- Create Quarterly Plans and Goals
Large corporations with 10-figure balance sheets are adamant about creating 12-month plans, three-year strategies, and five-year goals. But your one-person operation shouldn’t cast such a long-term vision. It’s a waste of time. Instead, we recommend focusing on quarterly goals.
By emphasizing 12-week strategies and goals, you give yourself something manageable to reach for. This is a long enough period to achieve tangible accomplishments, but not so long that it feels far-fetched.
- Stop Focusing on One Thing
Perhaps you’ve read Gary Keller’s books where he writes about focusing on only one thing at a time. On the surface, this seems like sage advice in a world of short attention spans and “Shiny Object Syndrome.” However, as a one-person team, you can’t afford to follow this advice religiously.
According to entrepreneur Nathan Latka, who studied bridge design in college, it’s unwise to concentrate all of your attention on a single task or project for a prolonged period of time.
“There is never a single point of failure,” Latka says. “Seven things have to snap or break before the bridge actually falls. Having multiple projects helps to insulate you from failure.”
We’re not telling you to spend every waking hour multi-tasking, but you should have multiple irons in the proverbial fire at once. This is how you grow your business over the long run.
- Automate the Mundane
What are the mundane tasks on your plate that can easily be automated to free up time and mental processing power? This usually includes things like invoicing, accounting, social media posting, email responders, etc. Simple software can help you stay on top of all of these things without missing a beat.
- Outsource the Time-Consuming
If something is time-consuming, but can’t be automated with software, consider whether you can outsource it. (Hint: Anything that’s not a core competency can and should be outsourced to free up your time to focus on the things that are core competencies.)
Digital marketing is a great example. Digital marketing can command hours of your time each day and often requires a very technical skillset. Rather than focusing all of your energy on perfecting digital marketing skills, you can just outsource it to a company like EAG Advertising & Marketing, which offers outsourced marketing services that include content creation, email, design, advertising, etc.
In reality, anything – including sales and customer service – can be outsourced. Constantly be thinking about how you can remove yourself from working in your business so that you can spend more time working on your business.
- Focus on the 20 Percent
The 80/20 Rule really is one of the most amazing principles of business. It doesn’t matter the industry or application, it always seems to hold true that 80 percent of the results are generated from 20 percent of the efforts. From a growth standpoint, you should always be focused on the 20 percent. This is true even with clients and customers.
In all likelihood, 20 percent of your accounts are generating 80 percent of your company’s revenue (or have the potential to do so). As a one-person team, it would make more sense for you to prioritize those 20 percent and to outsource/fire/automate the other 80 percent.
Focus on Smart Growth
Growth for the sake of growth is almost always a mistake. Make sure you’re being smart and intentional with your growth strategies. If the goal is to remain a one-person team and to keep things lean and mean, make sure you’re scaling in a way that continues to give you control over all core aspects of the company. It’s not the drastic move that’s going to put you over the top. In most cases, it’s the proper positioning of small levers, like the ones discussed in this article.