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unscalable tasks

Unscalable tasks are the ones we cannot do when we grow – but we must do to grow

Often in business, we try to reduce manual tasks. We focus on improving efficiency, lowering drag, and successfully scaling.

There are some tasks, however, that are unscalable.

They are unscalable because they require a lack of automation. Each touchpoint requires human interaction that simply cannot be scaled and the process cannot be put on an assembly line.

For example, the Bentley Mulsanne, Bentley’s flagship luxury vehicle, requires more than 400 labor hours to construct; 150 of those hours are stitching leather accessories by hand (this adds up to a sticker price of $350,000). A Ford F150, in contrast, takes approximately 20 hours to assemble.

In our business, especially early on – or when launching a new initiative – we must invest in unscalable tactics. Things like:

  • Reaching out – individually – to prospective clients (this counts for reviews, feedback, proposals, sales pitches, events, bookings, referrals, etc)
  • Nurturing a budding community of supporters in private groups or Tribe
  • Hand-packing products and driving each to their destination
  • Ordering tiny quantities of supplies
  • Hand-addressing labels, envelopes, or Thank You cards
  • Replying or commenting on social media messages, forums, blogs, Reddit, or Quora
  • Building an affiliate network
  • Asking for referrals
  • Creating entire social media stories or threads about a particular client, product, or service
  • Searching competitor’s websites for broken links
  • Calling journalists and reporters to introduce yourself as an industry expert
  • Creating one-off, custom pieces for influencers
  • Delivering items an Airbnb guest forgot to pack
  • Virtually meeting with each prospective user of your SaaS before granting access
  • Manually creating proposals or estimates for client work
  • Designing micropages on your website for a specific client

These things – generally – don’t scale. You can’t do it for everyone, but you must do it to gain traction. We must be open to doing the unreasonable now to reap the reward tomorrow, we know that these tedious, manual tasks won’t last forever. It is a short season of extra effort to stand out and be noticed.

A body a rest wants to stay at rest, the key is to do the unscalable to build momentum.

This week, consider what unscalable things you are willing to do.

All the best,


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