You can learn a lot about scaling a business by looking back at history and seeing how civilisations became empires.
And no better example comes to mind than the Roman Empire, which, for a long time, ruled the world. If there was ever a definition of ‘scaling’ an empire, they were it.
As the civilisation sprawled throughout Europe and Mesopotamia, Rome encountered a recurring problem. The Aqueducts, which supplied clean water for their great baths, and the bridges that linked trade were collapsing within minutes of the scaffolding being removed. The superior workmanship and quality control that built the famous ‘Roman Empire’ had been eroded with speed and size.
The faster the Empire expanded, the more the quality suffered.
The Roman governors, realising that the speed of their growth was outpacing the rate at which their infrastructure could support it, implemented a ruthless (and genius) upstream solution.
The architects responsible for the design and construction of the infrastructure had to stand under the archway as the scaffold was removed.
Rather than watching it collapse from a distance, they had to be underneath its grand arches during the ‘moment of truth’.
It was a brutal way of ensuring they had ‘skin in the game’, and it also ensured that speed never again outpaced quality.
Bridges and aqueducts stopped collapsing (funny that).
Most of us as gym owners get this wrong when we start to think about scaling.
We ‘add’ members to our community, ‘add’ to our offering, ‘add’ to our marketing efforts, and ‘add’ to our staff without ‘adding’ to the infrastructure that will support the growth.
So things break.
This is how it looks in practice:
- You go from being able to easily manage your leads with high conversion rates to being overrun by low-quality leads that won’t pick up the phone. And even if your leads do pick up, they are much harder to convert.
- The quality of your product goes down — more things go wrong, more mistakes are made, and your customers become less forgiving.
- As you try and patch up the holes in your product fulfilment, other things slip, and no matter what you try, you always seem to have more mess than what you started with.
Because quality, lead conversion, and resources are dropping, none of your original projections, growth assumptions, or expectations are playing out in practice.
All of this is costly and, more importantly, a waste of time…
Because once it’s broken, you have to rebuild it again, anyway.
I speak from experience here.
This is why your infrastructure can’t lag behind the intended growth you want to have. You always have to build for what you don’t need (yet), rather than building infrastructure once you do (by that time, it’s already too late).
When I talk about infrastructure, I mean automation systems.
- A system that nurtures leads for you, so even when you don’t have time to call them, they feel like they already know what you’re all about…
- A system that continues to educate new members well after they sign up (which happens to be the time you typically stop calling/following up with them)…
- Consolidates all communications into a central hub, so you can see everything that anyone in your organisation said (rather than chasing screenshots, or getting your wires crossed by doubling up on steps)…
- A system that tells you what marketing campaigns are actually working (and what are wasting your money)…
You’ll resonate with the above if you’ve already tried to scale.
And if you haven’t tried to scale but ever intend to, then it’s arguably even moreimportant to get right (if your goal is to save stress, cash and hassle in the future)…
In this month’s Alley-Oop, I’ll be talking from first-hand experience about the do’s and don’ts of automation so you can ensure you don’t have to rebuild your whole marketing, sales & fulfilment process because it broke when you tried to scale.
It will be valuable for everyone who’s ever felt like scaling something didn’t turn out as first predicted.
Plus, there will be an insane offer from the guys at getgymini.com to trial their new all-in-one gym lead software that makes everything I talk about a breeze (we’re using it ourselves and couldn’t rave more highly about it).
You can sign up for the Alley-Oop here:
– Karl Goodman