Definition: being prepared to take on more clients without quality of work diminishing or potential to continue successfully as its size increases
Going from Start Up to BIG – communication isn’t as easy – and not as efficient
“Didn’t you get the memo”
When you have to say that = you’re not scaling well
Steve Blank is a venture capitalist, founded companies, and has a great blog on this topic – Steve Blank
Who HAS succeeded at scaling their business?
First: talk about employees they are a means to a goal – not the goal itself
Code Geek – web firm: himself alone at first
He did all: design and development and writing….. better graphics ability – networking, user groups in Denver, id people who were skilled
Hired freelance at first – now dozen 1099s – he needs NOW to replicate himself
Delegation is crucial – find the right person who has the skill set – who can clone him
Programming and can also talk to clients
He SHOULD be the salesman, always
ID point of pain – I’m not a designer – knowing what your limitations, where your box is
Whatever goes into that box, comes out as amazing stuff
Try to not be an assembly line – be creative – keep YOU in the product/service
a) Who am I/what do I do well/what can others do better?
If an owner can’t go on vacation for a 6 months stint – then it’s not really a business
Question: ought you to outsource sales of services?
Of products, yes.
The only thing you can’t outsource is OPERATIONS
Risk of growth – leader originally holds the red balloon (the vision) – as they grow the balloon gets harder and harder to see
Look at Home Depot and New Belgium – Corporate Culture – its embedded into the organization.
Chic’Filet – it’s my pleasure – that’s not REALLY their pleasure : welcome to Walmart
Keep the vision because that’s what we are passionate about – and translate that into future branches, it will be fail
Be the charismatic leader of the cult
Another aspect: Why am I growing and what does the picture look like?
Am I a steady presence or absent leader?
Think about what you really want!
Don’t grow for the sake of growing – that’s what society says, get a loan and grow and grow and grow – that’s peer pressure!
Different levels of scaling.
How much of a hand in it?
How do you replicate yourself?
Look for people who are different – those who excel where you don’t.
Having two visionaries as partners – kind of a nightmare!
To get an employee you need an EIN, but you don’t have to be an LLC.
Rules of contract vs employees:
W9/1099 contractor – can’t dictate the span of control.
Ramifications: contact CPA – keep you out of trouble with the IRS but consider that there may be back Unemployment Taxes and Social Security owed.
2 must haves: a good lawyer on tap and a good accountant to do your taxes
Find an EA (enrolled agent) with the IRS they can represent you without being there!
Hiring someone – options are limitless – take the time to hire a quality employee
Develop an interview process, an application form, look it up on the internet for sample questions, personality matches
Why do you want to have employees – ways to scale without never hiring.
Comes from strategic partnerships – those who do exactly what you do, and are complementary
RESOURCE: Erica (RedHeadWriting) – ODesk.com – do your admin while you are asleep
– concentric circles – more business but not expanding your services; more employees then
- scaling your business – increasing your scope; get strategic alliances
Take time to find people you can work with and can support you.
If you can’t go on vacation, you’re failing at business
How can employees and contractors be invested with you – honor them in front of client, reward them, emotionally as a human being, how you manage them
Trust your contractors; but if you’ve done it right – they’re going to leave and do their own stuff – which is GOOD!
Price your services so you CAN scale – you have to be able to outsource, pay your vendors ½ of what you charge – if you can’t then raise your prices! OR send that vendor overflow!
Reward: energy to grow your business and be on your bike or wakeboarding.
Collaboration with Freelances
Offer more services than you can do yourself –
Surround with idea peoples – by virtue of being with freelancer
Real world - collaborate on a problem together
Financial benefit to collaboration – one person specializes in X, another in Y
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
When did you collaborate – alliances with people
Chicks who click – was the place she sourced that expert
What does like minded mean?
Ideas, values, goals,
Get advice from other freelances – vs employees – they don’t have RISK in their business
Places you get collaborators: FCIP, co-working places, camps
Backchannel on IRC – chat channel, log into that whether they are in the space or not (don’t have to be a member)
Co-optetion – people often want to protect their business –much rather be helpful and work together; it’s OK to be helpful. There’s more than enough clients for everyone and your X factor distinguishes you.
AND they can be back ups too. And the general marketplace is informed about your speciality as well.
Be an orchestrator and parcel jobs out. Everyone is in the same boat together – toss work to others, benefits YOU and helps the freelancer get work too.
Strategic alliances are different from the resources who do exactly what you do… there’s a lot of trust there.
Stealing clients is bad juju – and those are so rare occasions – don’t stress.
More brains involved in a project – yeah, that’s such good input! Those WOW moments you wouldn’t have had without that collaboration.
Can position yourself as an expert if you show yourself as cooperative and providing valuable information – don’t keep the knowledge to yourself.
Keep an open mind about collaborators. Don’t shut yourself off. Entertain possibilities.
As your business changes your collaborations will change.
Co-working opens up the ability to ask questions of others – you can pick brains for free. Those sorts of questions are so much easier if you are co-working – or on social media.
It’s ok to be in the same facility as your competitors! And networking groups too. What is this about networking associations restricting competitors from being in the same leads group!
One connection can make all the difference – must be generous from the start.
Traditional businesses won’t go for collaboration with competition – spread the word about this sort of open minded collaboration – be the evangelists for this paradigm shift. It’s a thought-shift.
There are people who will not use a business unless they have a brick and mortar office.
Clients benefit from collaboration – they can be over the moon.
All collaborators can share email addresses so they come under the business banner.
Us now film.com …. biggest thinkers talking about this stuff. Coolest many to many features out in the world, soccer team owned by the fans.
RESOURCES: Check out Start Up Weekend – coolest unconference in the world. Start companies over the weekend – now in over 100 cities. Had one in Boulder previously.
Bar Camp – about:
Mid 90s in SF, Tim O’Reilly invited friends to Foo Camp, then it became community-sourced, and started Bar Camp – host our OWN conference, same framework across the world (Change Camp, Bacon Camp, Demo Camp, … etc.)
There are emerging field of leaders… think about IGNITE as similar – let people do their thing.
Biggest Bar Camp is in Austin week before SXSW (music, design community fest.)
Make it happen here – NXNE!
Denver rules – Austin drools.
The awesome foundation – 10 trustees put $100 a month and support good causes (don’t ask for a stake!)
Think about this people – go talk to Angel. No metrics, no grant forms. No business plans or loans. Just rewarding and acknowledging awesomeness.
Beer thirty – we’re winding down.