How To Make Growing Pains Feel Virtually Awesome

Pascale had an important decision to make in 2017. Our business was growing faster than we planned, and we needed to make our next move to scale. As we saw it, the business could continue as is, rocking at current size, or embrace this new growth, putting tools in place to allow this “virtually awesome” agency to grow to the next level.

We decided to take Pascale to the next level, scaling the operation for future growth (adding revenue at a greater rate than cost). The best way to do that is to use existing resources more efficiently. We started a process to free up valuable time by automating workflows using technology, allowing us humans to focus more on growing our client accounts and building relationships with new clients and partners.

At Pascale, we have spent the last several months exploring different ways to use tools to automate workflows and standardize processes, with an eye toward how they will integrate with our unique virtual culture. How can we take on more but do less? How can we make the magic of scaling a business and automating workflows work for us?

If your business is asking the same questions, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve learned a lot the last few months. Below are my top 6 recommendations for identifying an organization’s pain points and opportunities for scale. While not always easy, deciding on which areas to tackle first will help determine which technology will work for your organization.

  1. Audit everything. What’s working? What’s not? Does your current infrastructure enable scalable growth? I suggest looking at your sales or new business process, contract management, internal communication, review process, and project management. What can you automate or do more efficiently?

  2. Prioritize your pain points. If you have an abundance of new business leads and you’re currently tracking them in an Excel file, like I was, there’s an opportunity to streamline and automate your process with a customer relationship management (CRM) system. CRMs free you up to spend more time making connections and closing deals while spending less time updating spreadsheets. At Pascale, we focused on the business development process as our first priority after identifying numerous areas where we could reduce time and increase lead generation and conversions using a CRM.

  3. Seek stakeholder input. When you’re purchasing software like a CRM, personal recommendations are valuable. One of my biggest lessons from the past three months was to get advice from our amazing network of professionals on LinkedIn and within our own company about their experiences using CRMs and other tools. Bonus: This can help save time on step 4.

  4. Do your research. Be careful not to spend three months researching (wink wink). There is an endless supply of great tools and apps out there. Focus on one or two areas from your list and address those first. Consider what they'll replace in your current process and make sure they have that capability or can be customized.

  5. Take them for a test run. Sign up for a trial with two to three of the top tools. For our CRM, we tested Salesforce, Zoho and Base. We ultimately decided on Salesforce, which has scalability with over 3,000 apps and components that we can implement to support other areas of our business as needed.

  6. Implement. Most online tools offer tutorials and support for you to implement them on your own. If you’re going with a more robust solution, like Salesforce, I’d suggest hiring an outside expert to help take you through the process. Any tool can be terrible if you don’t implement it the right way. For example, in a Forbes article about the top CRMs, the author emphasizes the importance of implementation in all levels of an organization. CRMs are powerful tools with the ability to enable scalable revenue growth by automating processes and managing operating costs. Take the time to do it correctly.

My final advice: Enjoy the process. Don’t let it overwhelm you. You will discover a plethora of new tools that can benefit your business on various levels. Start by staying focused on one to two areas first, and don’t bite off more than you can chew. You can always use a web automation app like Zapier to plug in other apps after you’ve successfully implemented your first tool.

Good luck and happy scaling!

Erin LaFavor