Starting a business can be an exciting, yet daunting challenge… but scaling it? That’s a whole different ball game. 

It’s a transformative process that requires not just impact-driven innovation but a steadfast commitment to your core business values. Along this path, there are indispensable strategies that can guide any business toward achieving sustainable growth and success. 

Dissect sector problems to discover your USP

Being bold in your business approach is essential. When founding your business, it’s crucial that you identify the inherent problems in your industry and position your business as the solution. Go bold, challenge the norms, and don’t be afraid to disrupt the status quo; it might just give your business the edge it needs to trump the competition. 

Understand your customer’s pain points

Customers are the lifeblood of your business, without them reaching scaleup status is impossible. You need to know your customers’ frustrations inside and out. Not only do you need to understand what they dislike, and do less of it, but what they do like, and do more of that! A transparent approach is the right one here, by keeping your customers updated on the service you’re providing, you encourage trust in your brand, and faith from your customers to service them correctly. 

So, dive deep into your customer’s pain points, conduct research, and build solutions designed to meet the individual needs of your customer, while maintaining transparency into the services you offer, how, and why it benefits them. Rarely is this a one-size-fits-all approach, but happy customers are key to growth! So service them on a tailored, individual basis. 

Get the right talent and tech

Innovating for the sake of innovation won’t cut it. You need to use emerging technologies that offer real value to both your business and customers. Don’t jump on the bandwagon of adopting sparkly new tech if it doesn’t add real value to your business (and customers!). Adopting a ‘solution in search of a problem’ mindset will hamper efficiency, reduce ROI, and pile unnecessary tasks on time-poor employees. Identify an inefficiency before sourcing innovative tech as a solution.

Likewise, hire individuals who not only possess the necessary skills to get the best from onboarded technologies, but also share your tech-enabled vision for the future of your sector. Both the talent you bring in and the technology you implement should align closely with your business objectives and, in essence, what you are trying to change! Only then can true efficiency be unlocked.

From bubble football to £100m FinTech?

Take it step by step

Innovation is a marathon, not a sprint. While it might be tempting to take significant leaps to outpace competitors, a stable, incremental approach is often more sustainable (and more effective in the long run – see The Tortoise and the Hare). By focusing on continuous improvement, you’ll be better equipped to adjust to the complexities and challenges that come with scaling up a business, gaining agility without biting off more than your budgets and resources can chew!

On the reverse, innovation shouldn’t be slowed for the sake of it. You need to understand your business’s capacity to manage change, and form a correctly paced strategy that meets these capabilities. In doing so, you can increase growth potential while lowering risk.

Leverage the lessons from competitors

Don’t underestimate the value of a diligent, collaborative networking strategy. Your competitors can serve as a rich source of do’s and don’ts. Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing right—and wrong. Learn to adapt their advantages to your business model while sidestepping the pitfalls they’ve encountered to always stay one step ahead.

Most forward-thinking businesses are open to discussing ideas, pain points, and room for improvement. If your sector is primed for change, you’ll be able to tap into like-minded individuals and learn from their experiences.

Be patient and keep your customers front of mind

Patience and flexibility are crucial in the scaling process. Listen to your customers and don’t be afraid to pivot your business model or strategy to meet their changing needs – this is key to keeping your customers happy, retaining them, and attracting new customers at pace. Don’t hesitate to make adjustments based on their feedback. Listen, adapt, and evolve; your customers will thank you for it… as will your profit margins. 

Transitioning from a startup to a scaleup offers its fair share of challenges and opportunities. So make sure to always keep your focus on what truly matters: solving real problems, innovating with purpose, and putting your customers first. Keep your customers at the heart of your decision-making and you’ll be well on your way to building a thriving, scalable business that stands the test of time.

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