Serving 10 clients is different from serving 100. Working with 100 people is different from working with 500. Managing 500 customers is not the same as managing 1000. Nor is it the same as providing value to 10000.
The gaps between 10, 100, 500, 1000 and 10000 are where problems of scale arise. To go from one level to the next, the systems, processes, tools, strategies and attitudes in play all have to evolve. A small business can offer a tailored, responsive, intimate experience to 10 customers. But it’s harder to offer that same service to 1000. Something has to change.
Is your business growing? Are you going to go from serving 10, to serving 100s and 1000s? Good. Now, ask yourself this:
If you’re going to have to build a new system in the future, why not start building it now?
If, in two years, you’ll be at a point where the demand for your service or product outstrips the current system’s ability to supply it, you need to be working on making that transition right now.
Preempt the problems of scale before they happen. If you can see the problem approaching, build the solution before it arrives. It’s kind of like job hunting. The best time to search for a job is when you already have one. Not when you get fired. It’s also like building trust in relationships. You have to gain it before you need to lean upon it.
If you know that reinvention is around the corner, start preparing for the change immediately.