There are few challenges in business as difficult, and as thrilling, as truly scaling a company. We have had the good fortune of growing National Medical Billing Services by over 1,200% over the past six years, which is a similar growth trajectory we also experienced in our prior business.
We were asked to discuss our methodology to successfully scale a business. At National Medical, our core approach to building a world-class, scalable organization is to focus on four key cornerstones of our business. They are:
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” –Albert Einstein
Establishing a high energy, growth-oriented culture is mission critical for companies that intend to scale. First, it is important to involve each of your key leaders in this process rather than having the CEO dictate the culture to the employees. Once you have selected your team, you should develop a vision of who you intend to be as an organization in the next 15-20 years. This becomes your compass to help guide you through the numerous significant decisions you will be required to make along the way.
Next, you should determine your true purpose as an organization. This is effectively the fundamental reason of “why do we exist as an organization.” An effective purpose reflects the importance that people attach to the company’s work, and gets at the deeper reasons for an organization’s existence beyond simply making money.
Finally, it is critical to document your company’s core values. It is important to note that the core values should reflect the real characteristics that your company truly values as this should not be an aspirational goal.
Once the long-term mission, the true purpose and the core values have been established, you need to communicate them with your entire company. It must become ingrained within the fabric of the company, and the terminology should be used so regularly that everyone from the CEO, to the front-line staff, to the receptionist are all speaking the same language. Once you have achieved this level of fluency within your organization, you will find that all decisions flow smoothly and efficiently, ranging from capital expenditures to financing decisions to hiring, firing, and everything in between.
“I used to believe that culture was ‘soft,’ and had little bearing on our bottom line. What I believe today is that our culture has everything to do with the bottom line, now and into the future.” –Vern Dosch, Author, Wired Differently
It is the “who” rather than the “what” that drives the success of organizations. The success or failure of a company is ultimately determined by the people within it, thus it is of paramount importance to focus on hiring the right people early on and throughout the life of the company. By “right,” we mean that person should be both a cultural fit for your organization and have the talent to do the job as it stands today, but can also scale with the organization as its needs become increasingly sophisticated. It is also key to continue evaluating your talent to ensure that you have the right people, sitting in the right seat, on the right bus as your organization grows and evolves.
Once you have secured “A” players to serve in each of your key positions, it is critical to train them well both in your culture as well as in their specific job function. You then need to motivate and incentivize them properly so that you will retain them, provide clear goals and metrics for them to achieve their objectives, and then get out of their way and let them flourish in their role.
“Clients will never love a company until the employees love it first.” –Simon Sinek, Author, Start with Why
To truly scale an organization without any decline in quality, the company must be committed to solid and repeatable processes. These processes begin with a commitment to establishing the key priorities on a regular basis to ensure that the most important goals are being emphasized. Key Performance Indicators must be established to track performance to ensure that the desired results are being achieved. And a consistent communication methodology must be defined so that each of your employees understands the priorities, the metrics, and the results.
In addition, a commitment to a discipline such as Lean Six Sigma should be adopted to ensure that the processes being used to produce your product or services are delivering clear value to the clients with minimal inefficiencies and errors.
“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.” –Jim Collins, Author of “Good to Great”
Technology can automate various business processes, thus improving both the speed and quality of the product or service you are delivering to your client. Technology can and should also be used aggressively to automate numerous internal processes, including HR, finance, operations, analytics and so much more. It is critical to evaluate each aspect of your business, and every process that exists within those functions, and explore whether an automated solution exists to improve the speed and quality of that process. Of course, cost needs to be evaluated as it might not make financial sense to automate every single process.
“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” –Bill Gates
In short, while scaling a business can appear to be a daunting and overwhelming task, it becomes significantly more manageable once you break it down into achievable objectives. So, focus on establishing a clear company culture, invest heavily in attracting and retaining the best talent, commit heavily to a well-defined process, and leverage technology as aggressively as you can. These steps will place you and your organization well on your way to an incredible journey.
Source: Becker’s ASC Review
This post was first published February 6, 2017 and was updated July 29, 2020.