I remember a great commercial some time ago. Team launches retail website and then anxiously waits for their first customer. The counter (remember those?) clicks one....then two....and then accelerates so fast that they are overwhelmed. For sure, that is the second worst problem to have but it can have catastrophic consequences.
In developing your business model did you consider scalability? It often is a second thought only considered when the flood waters are already rising. Disappointed customers, delivery delays or simply an inability to deliver your product or service to demanding customers are all results of an inability to scale.
It can be difficult to recover the situation given the limited resources that are available in most small businesses. So it pays to plan early and make it part of your business model development activities.
Innovative business models focus on customer needs and value proposition on the value side of the business model canvas. No doubt this is one of the most difficult exercises as you engage potential customers and search for your unique value proposition.
For scalability you need to focus on the efficiency side of your canvas. Partnerships and key activities hold the answers for scalability. This recent MIT Sloan Review Article offers several strategies for improving the scalability of your business.
- Adding new channels
- Working around capacity constraints
- Shifting capital requirements to partners
- Leveraging Partners
- Implementing collaborative platforms
Considering scalability early in your strategic planning can help you avoid future bottlenecks and disappointments.