It goes without saying that growth is something we all strive for in business. Even to stand still, we need to grow. For scaling businesses, however, the challenge is not only to achieve growth, it is about actually controlling it, and harnessing it to generate long-term success.
In this article, we dive into the key ingredients for sustainable growth as a scale-up and how using the right technology in the right way can play a vital role in accomplishing this.
The Scale-up Recipe for Sustainable Growth
There is no one silver bullet to achieving sustainable growth. If it was that simple, everyone would have done it. Instead, sustainable growth comes from hard work and a combination of having the right offering, at the right time, delivered by the right people, for the right reason.
Unfortunately hard work is hard work. You can’t skip that. Understanding the value of your work, however, is crucial.
Unless you have unlimited financial backing from day one, the cost of implementing technology can be prohibitive. But, if you are having to work longer hours to complete repetitive tasks, particularly from an administrative perspective, is that a good use of your, and your team’s time?
“The way we’ve always done it” can lead to some pretty painful and outdated processes. Make sure you understand where efforts are focused, and strive to eliminate unnecessary manual processes which will detract from the business's ability to grow.
Ask yourself: if each of my team explained each task they complete in a day, am I confident the answers would not identify a range of inefficiencies?
THE RIGHT OFFERING AT THE RIGHT TIME
No problem! If you have the one idea that no one else has had or can copy, one thing sold on repeat is fine. The problem is that the right offering evolves. More rapidly than ever before. Even if you got it right once, are you thinking strategically about what is next for your business – what else can, and will people want to buy?
To grow sustainably you need to have real data and an understanding of your market, your performance and opportunities for growth.
Ask yourself: am I making decisions about the future of my business based on live, conclusive evidence?
THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Man, this is it! This is the one. Your people.
Steve Jobs famously said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do ”.
Regardless of what stage you are at, you need to employ the right people in the right places to grow. We can take Mr. Jobs’ quote and simplify it even further, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and make them fill in spreadsheets”. You hire them to innovate and drive growth. It is imperative to have the right technology, configured the right way to ensure your people are engaged and able to deliver what you need them to in order to achieve your strategic goals.
Ask yourself: are the people in my business able to think and engage with others to drive improvement, or are we losing value and enthusiasm to ineffective processes and avoidable frustrations?
THE RIGHT REASON
Is it clear what your business stands for? Do you have core values and do these relate to the wider strategic goals of the organization? Is it easy for your team to see and understand how their positive actions, driven by these values, impact the long-term success of the business?
Whilst it may seem a bit of a stretch, all of the previous points can be combined to look at ways you can: better understand your business; make better decisions; scale your business strategically; and engage your people to drive your business, rather than the other way around.
Ask yourself: could I make better use of the data and information we have within our business to communicate where, and how we need to progress as an organization?
Using the right technology can be instrumental in bringing all of the above together.
Whilst there is no silver bullet to achieve success, or a crystal ball to allow us to see what the future holds, leading a scaling business is about eliminating risk and identifying opportunities wherever possible.
The need to have the right technology used the right way is a topic that cannot be underestimated or overlooked when analyzing the ways to reduce risk, increase efficiency and improve the visibility of critical data to drive your strategic decisions.