If you work at a startup like SpareFoot, you might have heard people toss around the word “scalable.” But what does it actually mean?

In simple terms, “scalable” refers to the potential for a business to become a market leader and to bolster its revenue at a comparatively small cost. You might think you’ve got the next big idea, but unless you’ve planned for growth, you’ll wind up struggling to meet increased demand from customers.

Of course, not all companies are aiming for multibillion-dollar status. In the U.S., 99.7 percent of businesses with employees are classified as small businesses. But while the typical small business does need to consider scalability to a certain extent, its goals differ from those of a scalable startup.

Although a clear vision and plan will get you far, this infographic offers more: advice on how to plan for scalability at a startup, ways you can prepare for growth and a basic profile of startup entrepreneurs.

Startup infographic

Ivan Serrano is a business journalist and infographic specialist in Northern California.

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Sharon Rong