When it comes to scaling up, timing is everything. If you do it too early, you put yourself under financial pressure, and if you do it too late, you leave the door open for a competitor to swoop in and steal market share off the back of your efforts.
To scale your business effectively and predictably, it’s important to have growth triggers in place. These form part of your business plan and let you know when it’s time to take action and when to consolidate.
Understanding Growth Triggers and Why They Matter
Most clinics scale when they have enough customers and capital to do so, but finances should not be the only reason to grow. There are limitless examples of successful clinics with one location moving to a second but cannot duplicate their success in the new businesses. Again, this is a problem of needing more growth triggers.
The reverse is also true. We all know of clinics that have grown to a point they should have scaled but failed to. The local community loves the clinic and wants treatments, but appointments become more difficult to come by, especially during peak times. Another clinic owner sees the opportunity and opens a clinic nearby, stealing market share. The local market, now saturated, means that the first clinic suffers as the new clinic introduces new treatments and promotions to grow. In this scenario, it is also common for other clinics to open in the area because the market seems bigger than it actually is.
Growth triggers are designed to reduce the risk of both the ‘too fast’ and ‘not fast enough’ scenarios happening. They are predefined metrics that, when reached, mean it’s time to take action. The action is also predefined as part of the clinic’s business plan, so the required actions are clear when the trigger is reached.
Triggers should be a combination of financial, client numbers, local competition, specific treatment demands and employee numbers required vs employees available. The employee metrics are crucial – how many clinic owners do you know that have gone from having one successful clinic, then opening a second clinic that caused them stress due to staffing issues?
Once the trigger is activated, the predetermined action begins. This could be opening a new clinic or perhaps just opening a new room in your existing clinic. The idea is to allow the market to increase without stretching capacity.
Growth Triggers Reduce Stress
As a business owner, you’re constantly worried about whether you’re doing the right thing. Unfortunately, there are also dozens of things continually screaming for your attention – staff, suppliers, clients, landlords…the list is endless. Growth triggers help reduce risk by removing the need to consider when you should be taking growth actions. It also means that all the work you’re doing is moving the business towards a bigger goal.
Growth Triggers are Great for Staff Retention
Those bigger goals are a great way to keep your team engaged and excited about what’s to come. When you talk to your team about their motivations, you can incorporate growth triggers into the conversation.
‘I know you’re interested in becoming a clinic manager. Once we reach X and X we will be opening another clinic and I’d be very happy to talk with you about potentially running it.’
A perceived lack of opportunity is a big reason good people leave smaller clinics. It’s also a fantastic way to get everyone looking in the same direction, driving towards a clear and specific goal.
Growth triggers are a powerful tool, but they take effort to put together. Take your time and think about what the next stage of your business will look like. You already have an idea in your head, so formalise it and get excited about what your business will become.