By Solomon Thimothy, founder of Clickx.

As an entrepreneur,  scaling your agency or business is probably somewhere on your to-do list. You want to grow, start taking on new clients and customers and begin making money.

But effectively scaling is one of the biggest challenges any business owner will face. When trying to scale, you need to have all the right systems in place. You need a team you can rely on, a pricing model you're comfortable with and a mission statement your audience resonates with.

But you also need to know your unique needs. Properly scaling an agency is a bit of a learn-as-you-go process. While you want to have a solid plan of attack, you also need to be flexible enough to recognize when things aren't working and when you might need a bit more help -- even if other entrepreneurs didn't follow that same path.

I'm currently in the middle of scaling one of my agencies. Before I got started, I looked around at some of the processes I'd relied on in the past, as well as some strategies other entrepreneurs I admire had used to scale their agencies and businesses. I thought I was ready to go.

However, partway through the scaling process, I recognized that I needed a bit more help than originally planned, and that it was time to hire an executive assistant. I hadn't thought I needed one. After all, entrepreneurs with much more on their plate didn't have one. But I was drowning trying to manage meetings, clients and scaling my agency. I needed someone to take some of the stress off my hands.

My scaling process and timeline were different than those of the entrepreneurs around me. Recognizing this allowed me to scale at my own pace according to my own needs. When scaling your business, it's important to stick to your own timeline. Every business is structured, managed and controlled differently, meaning there is no one-size-fits-all method for how you should approach growth. To scale your business efficiently, you need to create your own plan.

How to Create a Scaling Plan That Fits Your Needs

While you shouldn't follow a strict scaling timeline, you still need to have a plan. Understanding when and how you're going to grow puts you on the right track for getting things done.

Here are a few steps you can follow to create a scaling plan that fits your unique needs.

1. Determine your end goal.

Growth is not a good enough goal when it comes to scaling. Every company wants to grow. You need to set a goal that is unique to your business.

Before you can even think about scaling, you need to determine what your ultimate goal is. Where you want to end up will determine the direction your company needs to move in.

Get specific about the goal you set. Narrow your focus, and consider where you want to be in a year, 5 years, 10 years and even 20 or 30 years.

2. Consider simplifying your in-house team.

In order to grow, you may need to cut out the excess. If you have team members who aren't absolutely crucial to the success of your business, it might be time to let them go.

Sometimes, it isn't necessary to have certain department or team members in-house. For these roles, consider outsourcing.

Taking a leaner approach to your business can allow you to focus on what is most important, without having extra weight holding you back.

3. Analyze your unique needs.

If you don't truly understand your business, your team and your customers, you won't be able to scale. To move in a direction that works for both your team and your clients, you need to understand what you're capable of and where you might need help.

Scaling needs will look different for everyone. Consider where your business is, where you want to go and what you need to do to get there.

Always analyze how you're fulfilling those needs and what new challenges may arise as you grow. Remember: Your business is dynamic. As you begin to scale, your needs will change.

Don't try to fit your scaling process into a box of what you think you should be doing. Instead, pay close attention to your team and your customers to determine what you need to successfully scale.

Solomon Thimothy is the founder of Clickx, a marketing intelligence platform that helps businesses and agencies with marketing attribution.

Published on: Aug 10, 2018