Life in the fast lane
A roadmap for scaling up your medium sized business
The 50 scale-up leaders we interviewed as part of this project have diverse stories to tell, but there was a clear message that achieving and maintaining fast growth is not always a smooth process. Many interviews focused in on the key point that the decisions the leadership team take can make or break the scale-up process.
"Zopa was the first peer-to-peer online lending model in the world, but as the market developed we have worked collaboratively with companies that had similar ideals and ethics to protect the reputation of our industry."
Giles Andrews, CEO and Co-Founder, Zopa
From our interviews common roadblocks to scaling-up emerged, from an inability to raise growth capital through to not securing the right person for a crucial role in the business. The leadership of a company has the means to address these issues and set the business on the right path.
"Fast growth requires quick decisions – especially in sales. We made sure to empower our staff to make these judgement calls."
Henry Pepperall, Finance Director, Kelway
Importantly, there are many different paths to scaling-up; some leaders navigating their businesses through tough times before enjoying huge success, while others have had their ventures fail before using that experience to scale-up in the future.
"You need to embrace failure in order to have giant scale-up successes. As a serial entrepreneur, I've set up businesses around the world and seen markedly different cultural attitudes towards failure. In the US, creating a new business concept and driving it to success or not is a respected endeavor. In the UK, starting a business that is not successful is more likely to be seen as a black mark against your name. This needs to change to increase innovation and free up entrepreneurs to pursue new opportunities."
Ulf Zetterberg, CEO and Founder, Seal Software
From talking to over 50 fast growth companies from a range of backgrounds this report has pulled together some of the key decisions and challenges they face in their growth journeys. Straight from the mouths of scale-ups leaders, this roadmap highlights some of the crucial questions and practical insights that can help your company scale-up.
Scaling-up requires action and smart strategies on a range of different issues that can help a business grow. The next chapters aim to highlight some of the practical insights that can help your business scale-up and navigate fast growth based on the experiences of high growth business across the country.