Ways to Scale: Become more efficient

There are many ways to scale, depending on what you need, what you want and why you’re scaling. Our ‘Ways to Scale’ blog series covers five key development areas that will empower you to scale.

In this first article, we look at organisational efficiency, along with some of the common barriers as identified in the ScaleUp Institute 2017 review for the North East, and suggest how you might overcome them. Enjoy reading – we hope you’ll use this article to turn your scaleup potential into scaleup performance!

Increasing efficiency
New business ventures and startups are often best served by having a loosely structured, flexible and informal organisation. But at some point the work of leading the business will become too much for one person. Business owners will have to be able to step back and delegate certain areas of administration to other people. Establishing more fixed structures will allow this to happen smoothly and lay the foundation for a scalable business with a strong future. Unlike startups, scaleups therefore require structure, process and discipline.

What to do
Creating the efficient and robust business structures needed to cope with the demands of rapid growth might involve formalising your existing processes or even putting a new business structure in place. You may want to invest in new technology such as SAP or another accounting system; or set up a formal HR system to manage an expanded workforce.

Typical barriers to becoming more efficient can include not having an effective IT system or lacking the physical and organisational structures that can cope with increased complexity. Complying with new regulatory requirements applying to larger businesses can prove a steep learning curve, while other problems include setting a clear direction at the outset, maintaining focus throughout the scaling process and managing risk.

Overcome the barriers

Once you’ve identified the particular barriers you’re facing, it’s time to work on overcoming them:

  • Get advice on your tax obligations, regulatory requirements, PAYE, VAT and more, by contacting a recommended chartered accountant
  • Overcome the organisational challenges associated with growth and innovation with support from groups such as the Innovation Super Network.
  • For advice on building your organisational capacity that is unique and tailored to your company, contact a specific scaleup programme such as Scaleup North East.

Conclusion – Take a leap of knowledge not faith
In conclusion, whichever route to scaling you choose to follow, you need to evaluate your business’s needs for scaling up, assess your own capabilities and limitations, expand your skill set and adopt the management practices and leadership behaviors essential to retaining the top job in a much larger company.

Our Scaleup toolkit can help you make these assessments. It offers a wealth of resources, support and advice for you throughout the scaleup process.