One of the most complicated tasks of growing any business is scaling. Successfully scaling a business takes the proper alignment and execution of a lot of moving parts, and this transitioning can often be the crux in a business’s growth strategy.
Below we are going to look at some of the fundamental aspects of scaling a business and address critical questions that need to be assessed when scaling your restaurant.
First, what is your endgame?
Tim Ferris in a one on one interview with Entrepreneur magazine “stressed the importance of understanding the ultimate goal for your business…It’s only when you’re clear on your destination that you can plan a scale strategy to get there. For example, building a company to sell requires a different approach to growing a business that supports a lifestyle.”
Being clear on your end goal and what you’re trying to create will help you construct the focused and effective scaling strategy you will need to be successful. So before you take action in scaling your business, the first question that needs to be answered is “to what end?”
Is Your Business Ready?
Once you’ve established an endgame for your business, it’s time to figure out whether or not you are ready to scale. Here are some critical questions that will help you clarify that you are indeed ready to take action to scale your restaurant.
- Demand (does the restaurant have long waiting lists on the busiest nights?)
- Have you built a large number of loyal customers?
- Do you have positive cash-flow?
- Is the restaurant able to scale successfully? Do you have access to the ingredients on a scalable basis?
- Does the restaurant show signs of sustainability? Is it faddy and would it be still popular in five or ten years’ time?
- Do you have the right expertise within the company to help you expand?
- Are you emotionally equipped to deal with the stress and challenge involved in developing a restaurant brand?
- Will you still be able to maintain the quality of food and service at this restaurant by expanding onto other ventures?
Your success is going to rely on your ability to objectively answer these questions for yourself and your business. If and when you feel confident that you are ready to scale, it’ll be time to start strategizing your action plan.
One of the fist actions you can take that will greatly help you in taking your first steps is collecting feedback from your customers.
“Erik Metzdorf, Owner of Metzy’s Taqueria in Newburyport, MA, did just that. He told us, “We rarely do boosted or promoted posts on Facebook, but we did when we asked people what they thought of us opening up in the space we’re in now. And this was long before we signed the lease. It was our single biggest Facebook hit to date, with thousands of responses. Asking questions and doing what you can to listen to your customers and community and incorporating their feedback into your plan is so important.”
Collecting feedback from your community will help you solidify exactly what your customers want and need to make certain that you scale effectively.
Growing Your Business
Once you feel that not only is your restaurant ready to scale, but that you have accurate feedback from your community as to how and why it will be successful, you simply need to get it done. This step is going to require two things: money and experience.
“…figure out whether you need to bootstrap, hire advisors or build relationships with outside parties to get to the next stage of growth.”
Whenever you are trying to level up your success in any area of your life, one of the simplest ways to figuring it out for yourself is spending time with people that have successfully achieved the results you’re looking for. Take them out for coffee or find any way that you can offer them value in exchange for their insights, this will save you tremendous amounts of time and waste in your process, and the importance of mentors and advisors in this regard cannot be understated.
Solving the Cash Problem
No matter what route you end up taking to grow your business, it is going to take capital. And in most all cases, it is going to be capital you do not have liquid. Solving this cash problem is one of the most difficult but also most fundamental to your success.
Here you can find a number of solutions to your cash problems.
How ever you decide to fund your project, be sure that you’ve explored all possible avenues before settling on what’s best for you.
“Remember, investment may look attractive, but there’s a good chance other creative cash routes will serve you better at this moment in time.”