Scaling up: 3 key derailers to watch out
“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”
– Bill Gates,Co-Founder, Microsoft.
You are finally at the stage where your business takes off: sales are pouring, cash is flowing and new projects are progressing. The atmosphere is buzzing and everyone is excited on where the company is going. However, you start to experience disruption to your growth. You are not the only one, but here is what you can do about it:
1. Do you have the right information?
Virtual assistant provider, Zirtual – a very promising innovative company, 400 employees and raised $5.5 million in capital – failed after 4 years. Why?
They did not keep their eyes on the correct numbers. They realised they were overstaffed and wasted money, but it was too late. CEO M.K Donovan regrets not having spotted the alarming figures before. She acknowledges that she should have hired a full-time CFO and set up a strong Board.
Even if your sales are going up, you might notice that your profits are not following the same upward trend. You have to mature your financial and information management system, so you can make timely and informed decisions, reduce waste, accelerate cash to support the growth.
2. Is your team constantly fire-fighting?
Another failed venture with great potential is DoneByNone, backed by leading VC, Seedfund. It crashed after almost 4 years, due to poor systems and lack of resources to fulfil the orders. Customer complaints were swelling, the team was spending more time on fixing mistakes and the leaders were resigning. The private-label fashion e-commerce retailer ultimately went inactive when it could no longer fulfil its orders and focused solely on repairing the damage they have caused.
DoneByNone teaches us not to put the cart before the horses. You need to ensure that you have:
- a scalable and strong delivery structure in place to meet customers’ expectations with continuity and consistency.
- a Quality Management System that works
- infrastructure and systems & policies to help you transit ion to the next stage of organisational development.
- process improvement focused on productivity and ‘production’ volumes.
3. Are you achieving your vision?
“Secret does not represent the vision I had when starting the company” says CEO D.Byttow closing down his almost 2-year-old app company, Secret, after raising $35million and having 15 million users.
If you feel frustrated that things are not being done the way you wanted: Stop! Reflect before moving any further. It might seem obvious to blame the team and criticise the weak links – but there might be a deeper rooted cause. You need strong leadership to develop winning teams with common set of values, complementing each other. It is crucial to unite your teams and create a culture of accountability, aligning everybody with the company goals & targets.
What to do if you are stuck?
Several companies get stuck when trying to scale up, becoming increasingly pulled down by a blame culture and inability to deliver on promises to their customers. The good employees resign, and the time taken to recruit new staff slows them down. They need an intervention from a Strategist who will help you:
- prioritise, focus and align your team and company; so you can marshal your resources and ignore what is not strategic priority.
- transition from management by intuition to management by data, information and insight.
Are you currently encountering scaling-up challenges or have already experienced them? Please share your experience by contacting us!
Post originally published via Bircham Dyson Bell — click here