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Three Challenges in Scaling a Business Past $10 Million in Revenue.

As the founder of an early-stage business with annual revenue ranging from $1-5 million, scaling the business past the $10 million revenue mark presents a series of difficult challenges. Against the friction of an unforgiving marketplace, if you want more, you/your team must become more.


Here are three challenges you might face scaling your early stage business and the key qualities to look for if you’re thinking about bringing on a fractional strategic advisor to help you make a plan to get there:


Operational Scaling:

Challenge: Moving from a early struggle to a thriving business requires significant adjustments in operations. You may face challenges in scaling your infrastructure, managing increased complexity, and maintaining operational efficiency and effectiveness.

Considerations: Assess your current capabilities and potentially revamp your positioning, processes, technologies, and organizational structure to ensure they can accommodate higher volumes without compromising on quality, efficiency, and the customer experience.


Market Expansion and Diversification:

Challenge: Breaking through the $10 MM revenue ceiling often involves entering new markets or diversifying your product/service offerings. This can be challenging due to increased management complexity, market dynamics, supply chains, competition, and the need for developing comprehensive transformation strategy that you can execute on.

Considerations: Conduct thorough market research, learn as much as you can on the customer segments, develop targeted expansion plans, focus on your uniqueness and consider strategic partnerships that align with your growth objectives. Ensure your marketing and sales teams are equipped to address and serve diverse customer segments and remain “on-brand”.


People Talent Acquisition and Retention:

Challenge: Scaling requires a robust, talented, skilled team capable of handling increased responsibilities. Attracting and retaining top talent, especially in a competitive market, can be a significant hurdle to overcome.

Considerations: Develop a talent acquisition strategy that includes recruiting, training, and retaining the right people. People who embrace your mission as if it were their own. Foster a positive and inclusive company culture that offers team members a venue for personal and professional growth. Invest in professional development and well-being programs.


Qualities to Look for in a Fractional Strategic Advisor: Bringing on a strategic advisor is a pivotal decision for your business's growth journey. By prioritizing these qualities, you can select an advisor who not only understands the unique challenges of scaling past $10 million in revenue but also aligns with your vision and values.


 Industry/Issue Expertise:

Why It Matters: An advisor with industry-specific knowledge brings insights into market trends, challenges, and opportunities. They can provide tailored advice and guidance that aligns with the nuances of your business domain.

What to Look For: Seek an advisor who has a proven track record solving business issues you are facing, understands your industry dynamics, and can offer strategic advice based on real life, hands-on experience.


Proven Track Record:

Why It Matters: Scaling a business requires a unique set of skills and experiences. An advisor who has successfully guided businesses through similar growth phases understands the challenges and can offer practical solutions.

What to Look For: Look for an advisor with a history of scaling businesses, preferably within a similar revenue range. Case studies or testimonials from past clients can provide insights into their effectiveness.


Strategic Vision and Innovation:

Why It Matters: The ability to inspire and envision the future landscape of your industry and identify innovative strategies is crucial. An advisor should help you not only scale your current operations but also to position your business for sustained growth in the long term.

What to Look For: Seek an advisor who demonstrates an open forward-thinking mindset, an understanding of relevant emerging trends, and the ability to develop and/or execute innovative strategies. Look for experience in introducing new products/services or entering new markets.


Network and Connections:

Why It Matters: A well-connected advisor can open doors to valuable partnerships, potential clients, and industry influencers. Networking can significantly accelerate your business growth.

What to Look For: Evaluate the advisor's network and connections within your industry. A strategic advisor with a broad and influential network can bring tangible benefits to your business.


Adaptability and Problem-Solving Skills:

Why It Matters: The marketplace is dynamic, unforgiving, and challenges are inevitable. An advisor should possess the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, think critically, and approach problems creatively.

What to Look For: Assess the advisor's ability to navigate uncertainty, handle unexpected challenges, and adjust strategies as needed. Look for problem-solving skills coupled with a flexible mindset.


Clear Communication and Collaboration Skills:

Why It Matters: Effective communication is crucial for translating strategic plans into actionable steps. An advisor should be able to communicate complex concepts clearly and collaborate seamlessly with your leadership team.

What to Look For: Seek an advisor with strong communication skills, the ability to convey ideas concisely, and facilitate a collaborative approach. They should be capable of working closely with your internal teams.


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