top of page

Scaling: Expectation vs. Reality

Updated: May 7

Whatever our industry or business, we all want growth. More members, more customers, more locations, increased market share, greater revenue, larger donations, more fundraisers, and on and on. However you measure your organization, we all want the same: BIGGER BETTER FASTER RESULTS. In order to get there, we have to scale.

expectation chart

The Expectation

We all get it. If we want five more locations, or to triple our revenue we have to increase our effort. Too often I've seen owners and teams assume that increased results are linear to increased effort. Oh boy do I wish this were true, but sadly it rarely is. If you deploy your resources efficiently and effectively, yes, you should get economies of scale. But often times it's not linear and the net present value of those increased efforts and deployed resources is not always the same. Meaning, the effort you put in now may not give returns until later. Sometimes MUCH later.

reality chart

The Reality

The image above is a much more accurate representation of the reality of scaling. Your efforts will spike before the results roll in. Your results will vary. You'll hit roadblocks, some of your efforts will have been for nothing.'re going to make mistakes. Maybe even big ones. But there's good news: The overall trajectory can be positive. A good friend and colleague of mine was once said "May all your charts go up and to the right". If you deploy your resources well, if you plan out those effort spikes and think carefully about scaling efficiently, you'll get results.

How to Stack the Odds

This isn't going to be easy. If it was, everyone would do it. But there are some simple things you can implement to stack the odds in your favor as you scale your organization.
Have a clear mission and reason for scaling - Why are you doing this? How will you measure the return on your efforts? Have you created and enunciated a clear mission to your team? Are they attuned to it and know how to contribute?
Know your weaknesses - The bad will scale just as much as the good, perhaps even more if you pretend it's not there or ignore your problems. Toxic culture? Poor cashflow management? Lack of understanding of your customer? Whatever it is, dig in and solve it before it scales with you. Today's "challenges" can become tomorrow's existential threats if not managed properly.
Build a detailed, achievable, and holistic strategic plan to scale - Make sure your team is involved in building it. Make sure it addresses your identified weaknesses. Make sure it is constantly updated and reviewed.
Build a detailed financial roadmap to support your strategic plan - This roadmap should leave room for contingencies. Growth always requires cash, so manage your cash super carefully. Know where your major outflows will be and focus on your main sources of income.
What got you here won't get you there - If you want something to change, something has to change. You can't expect the same activities that got you to where you are to be what will get you to 10x results. Ditch the ego, get creative, listen to your team and be ready and willing to adapt.
In summary: If you want to scale your organization you're going to have to try hard. You're going to have to step outside of your comfort zone, subordinate your ego, get creative and try new strategies and tactics to succeed. Start with the above 5 tips. You've got this, and Rise Above Consulting is here to help.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page