Apress Startup Week: 3 Methods to Scale Your Startup

by Michael Killen

In this post I’m going to show you how to scale your startup and avoid the common mistakes that choke growth, before your business even has a chance to grow.

You can’t buy scale

It’s not just about budget either. Spending millions of dollars (if you even have that kind of budget) doesn’t equal results in scale, IF your businesses isn’t set to scale in the first place. It’s like having a goldfish in a tiny bowl. It doesn’t matter how much you feed it, until it moves to a larger aquarium, it won’t get bigger.

Scaling an agency

I started my agency and wrote about the scalable business model I’d use in my book, From Single To Scale. Within a few months I was working less, travelling more and doing cooler things other than delivering work to clients. This is how I did it.


Sell futures, not features

Whatever your business delivers to customers, is not what they’re buying. What you deliver is a feature, and customers buy futures. They are buying a better, happier, easier, less stressful future from you. While you might deliver coding or marketing, what they’re getting is a better future.

Let’s try this statement for example:

I work with business owners who want to get more investors on board to grow the business. When their investors look at their business, investors can’t help but ask “how much do you need?”

Does that sound like the type of future that some customers want? Of course! And we never even mentioned if you’re a developer who builds such epic prototype software that it blows investors away. Or if you’re a productivity marketer who books calls with the best investors and helps us with our pitch. The product isn’t what people are buying, what they’re buying is a better future.

The key to scaling your startup, is choose a future or idea that can scale BIGGER than you. That statement above could help you create content, books, software, products and much more. It doesn’t matter how much you spend on advertising  a product or service. At Sell Your Service, we say “businesses don’t scale but ideas do”.

Invest in scalable content

Once we have a “better future” our job is to create content that helps people achieve that future. How do you help people reach that better future? What do you recommend? What common questions, pitfalls, myths, mistakes and steps would people need to know about?

Just like this blog post here, I’m talking about a few key points on scaling your startup. It’s so powerful because it doesn’t matter how many people read this post. It could be 100 or 100,000. The result is the same because it’s so scalable.

One of the things missing from startups is credibility. Proof you know what you’re talking about and that you’re an authority in the space. The business that creates regular, repeat, high quality content, does not have a problem proving their authority.

Surely only a business that has tons of blog posts and videos and maybe even a few books, talking about their process IS the authority? It’s like being able to pitch and sell and talk with millions of people at once, forever, 24 hours a day.

Delivery does not equal results

Finally, don’t define yourself by the products and services you deliver. One of the biggest mistakes I see startups make is telling people what they do. Customers don’t care what you do, they care if you can help them.

“Businesses are defined by the markets they serve, not the products they sell.” - Ryan Deiss

Until you’ve got a clear definition of your ideal customer and the future that they want, it doesn’t matter how much you spend on marketing. Telling people WHO you work with and the result they get is 100x more effective, powerful and cheaper.

Customers don’t buy from you because of what you’ll deliver and do, they buy from you when they’re confident that their life in the future will be better for doing so. Try this statement “after working with me, my customers feel…”

Even as developers or marketers we must attach the emotional benefits that customers feel when working with us. That way, we can begin to truly scale out and find other methods to deliver that result to them. As I mentioned before, software, books, content, seminars, courses, consulting and more.

Scaling your business

I’m the founder of Sell Your Service. I motivate businesses to discover hidden benefits to their services that are so compelling, they can’t help but sell more of them. If you’re serious about scaling your business, check out my YouTube channel for more content on scaling and sales.

About the Author

Michael Killen currently runs his own consultancy, where he coaches businesses on money, scale, finding customers, and making sales. In 2017, Mike sold his first business to a larger media agency. He has background in digital marketing, having worked for a large global corporation as a lead, developing digital marketing strategies for small to medium businesses that fit their business needs.

This article was contributed by Michael Killen, co-author of From Single to Scale.