The Great British Entrepreneur Scale-Up Conference will attract an audience of 500 founders, entrepreneurs and business owners from ambitious businesses.
Working in association with Coutts, NatWest and RBS alongside significant partners and the media the inaugural Scale-Up Conference will take place in Central London on 20th November 2017 touching upon several areas of how to scale up your business from experienced entrepreneurs. Rachel Hannan, Chairman of Real World Group, has founded, successfully scaled and invested in a number of high growth businesses. Here are her top tips on how to do it.
1. Don’t go too early – first you need to be sure you have a business capable of scaling. This means you already have a quality product that there is proven demand for, a good brand and reputation, clear routes to market, strong delivery, operations & customer service and importantly a clear step by step growth plan.
2. Get your house in order – before you can take your business to the next level, you need to be confident you have the basics right to support sustained growth. Rapid growth can bring its own pressures and will expose any weaknesses in your business. So your finance, operations, sales and other key functions need to be well run with systems in place that are capable of supporting increased future volumes.
3. Nail the numbers – many high potential businesses fail due to cash-flow ‘hiccups’. Rapid expansion can be risky if growth puts pressure on working capital. So ensure you have adequate funding in place, and that you have strong financial forecasting to enable you to look ahead, not just in the rear-view mirror.
4. Multiplying the ‘power of you’ – as the business grows you will need to build a strong management team and greater capacity at all levels in the business. Beyond a certain point success can no longer rest on the shoulders of one or a very small number of people, this will only strangle growth. Invest time in getting and keeping the right people ‘on the bus’ in the right roles, who are capable of leading and delivering in a much larger business. This will increase your chances of truly scaling up and will reduce the risk of over-reliance on a limited number of people. Identify those who can deal with increased scale, and those that can’t, early, and act. This will reduce stress and the number of the pressure points you will encounter in the future, and be better for all in the longer term.
5. Learn how to manage rapid growth – and have strategies in place to ensure you make time to work ‘on’ not just get sucked ‘in’ to the day to day operations of the business. Most companies experience ‘growing pains’, so you will need to be clear about how you can minimise any negative impacts of rapid change. Lack of effective communication is a common problem in high growth companies. Having systems to ensure the right messages are delivered in the right way, between departments and from the top, in order to keep people on board, energised and focused on the right things is essential.
6. Be proactive and set the pace – horizon scan to see where longer term future growth will come from to avoid being impacted by market disruptions you didn’t see coming. Be bold, be ambitious and stay focused on what you do best so your brand becomes synonymous with the best in class. If and when you look to diversify further, do it in a structured and logical way and don’t be tempted to undermine or jeopardise the core business with unrealistic flights of fancy into totally unrelated products or markets.
For more information on the The Great British Entrepreneur Scale-Up Conference visit here.