Meet Shazir Mucklai. Shazir started out writing for top financial publications when he was 16. His unique approach on project management, and innovation even caused me to rethink my business processes. His firm now focuses on native and sponsored content, press release distribution, podcasts and social media verification amongst others.
Here are Mucklai’s take on five steps to scale a business:
1. Commit to grow
First, and perhaps most obviously, entrepreneurs need to want their business to grow. According to the report, many early-stage ventures lack the will and ambition to scale. This is fine, of course, if their dreams don’t stretch beyond building a business to support a certain lifestyle, but more ambitious entrepreneurs need to create realistic growth targets and develop plans and concrete actions of how growth will be achieved.
2. Build collaborations
The growth mindset needs to extend to partnerships with people and organizations outside the business. Entrepreneurs should build a network of partners, such as service providers, sales channel partners, suppliers and customers (who may, for example, be willing to help with market information). Many of these engagements could take the form of formal alliances between the entrepreneurial firms and established companies.
3. Establish standardized processes
Flexibility can be the enemy of growth. It can be hard to admit, but “managing the operations by hands-on involvement of founders will eventually limit growth”. If a start-up is going to scale, managers need to implement standardized and repeatable processes, with proper delegation. This may require investments in purchasing support systems including IT and training personnel accordingly, as well as delegation from the founder and senior management.
4. Identify core competence
Without knowing your core competence it’s difficult to create strategies. Many start-ups have evolved by doing certain things without articulating their core competence. The report recommends that entrepreneurs need to identify and emphasize a company’s core competencies – the unique knowledge that underlies its capability to compete – in order to invest in focused growth.
5. Articulate competitive strength
Many entrepreneurs fail to look at their business through the eyes of their customers, with research suggesting that some founders build a distorted self-perception based on their own definition of the quality of their interactions with the customer.
As such, the report recommends that entrepreneurs aspiring to grow their company need to “develop a clear articulation of their company’s competitive strength in the eyes of the customers, and how this strength is related to internal processes and knowledge. This needs to drive an identification of the relevant growth path in a way that allows scaling without leading into a complexity trap.”