[Step 5 of 6] – Capability to Scale

4th May 2016

Gavin Preston

Business Growth


Do you want to scale your business?

The instantaneous answer for many business owners/leaders is “Yes, of course”.

Why would you want to?  One of the first questions a potential investor in your business will have is “How are you going to scale the business?” The logic being, of course, that the more products you sell into the more markets, the more money you make.

Whether or not, you are looking for investment to fund growth you need to be focusing on growth. Whether you want to take on the world or dominate your local market you need to be growing.  If your business is not growing it is dying.

Over the last four weeks in my blog I shared the first three steps of ‘The Growth Code’, my business growth system to create predictable business growth:
Step 1: Compelling Vision – build a compelling vision for you and your teams
Step 2: Culture – create a high performance culture
Step 3: Convert – connect and convert
Step 4: Consistent Delivery

This week I am going to share with you Step 5 in how to create predictable business growth: Capability to Scale.

When building the capability to scale your business consider the following:

Where are you going?
If you do not know where you are going how will you know when you have got there?  You may recall that Step 1 of ‘The Growth Code’ is to create a Compelling Vision.  If you have done this well you should have an exciting and engaging vision of where you are going and, importantly, why.

In his book ‘Good to Great’ Jim Collins talks of the need to set a ‘BHAG’ – a big hairy audacious goal.  This is the kind of goal that could take up to 20 years to achieve and might outlive your time in the business; a goal that is worthy of you, your team and builds a legacy.

Clearly the capabilities you will grow in your business depend upon where you are heading.

At what rate?
Are you wanting to grow by 10{b1b0bfcd245058bbc1aa0072ef6fca567d9e295b5dc05333111a7d48c5edc00f}, 20{b1b0bfcd245058bbc1aa0072ef6fca567d9e295b5dc05333111a7d48c5edc00f} or 50{b1b0bfcd245058bbc1aa0072ef6fca567d9e295b5dc05333111a7d48c5edc00f} in the next year or are you motivated by the challenge of 10x growth?

Beware of incremental growth. Setting an incremental target of sub 10{b1b0bfcd245058bbc1aa0072ef6fca567d9e295b5dc05333111a7d48c5edc00f} growth leads to everyone in the business ‘doing a little bit more of what they did before’.  This is a sure fire way to be left behind.  That is what happened no Kodak and Nokia.


It is not possible to achieve a 10x goal by thinking incrementally.  You have to think fundamentally different.  Such a transformation in thinking leads to new strategies, markets, collaborations and products.  Even if you do not achieve the 10x result you may achieve 2x, 3x, 5x. All of which are a lot more desirable than 10{b1b0bfcd245058bbc1aa0072ef6fca567d9e295b5dc05333111a7d48c5edc00f} growth.

How are you going to get there?
This is your strategy.

Pay attention to trends. You will no doubt be familiar with a SWOT analysis where you look at the Strengths, Opportunities, Weaknesses and Threats facing your business.  Add an extra “T’: Trends.  What are the trends affecting your market place, your customers’ buying preferences.

What do you need to get there?
Infrastructure: where do you need to increase capacity in order to achieve the sales growth you are anticipating? By month 6, month 12, month 18 etc what will you need by way of production machinery, software, plant, office/factory space?

People: what will your organisation chart need to look like in 6 months time, in 12 months, 18 months, 24 months etc. Plan for the key hires now and go out and start building your substitutes bench.

How are you going to fund it?  There are a multitude of alternatives including:
Crowd funding
Improved working capital management
Business Angel investment
Venture capital investment
Invoice discounting
Partnering/Joint Venture
Supplier finance
….and the list goes on.

It is a useful exercise to list 50 ways in which you can bring more cash into your business now.

How do you protect the downside?
Planning your growth strategy is exciting. Be sure to plan your response to sales not being as you would have hoped. What are the things you can do reduce risk/protect the downside?  For example, see if you can get stock on a sale or return basis, an option to sell the machinery back to the manufacturer after 12 months or a rental deal on the machinery for 12 months with an option to buy less the 12 months rent.  Could you sublet space in your warehouse/factory?  Could you launch into a new territory as joint venture with a local partner?

Who’s got your back?
Growing your business, particularly if you are being bold and growing at pace is a roller coaster ride.  Who have you got to be your confidante, your sounding board, the person to remind you how well you are doing, the person to kick you up the backside when needed, the person to encourage, reassure and motivate when things are not going as you would hope. Who has got your back?

Use Step 5 of our Growth Code: Capability to Scale. Answer these six questions:
1.Where are you going?
2. At what rate?
3. How are you going to get there?
4. What do you need to get there?
5. How do you protect the downside?
6. Who has got your back?

For more details about how Gavin and his team at GP help clients deliver 2x, 5x plus growth then click here.

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