Updated: Aug 2
It was thrilling to watch the Matildas play to win their FIFA World Cup game, crushing Canada 4-0. Leading up to the game all commentary was focused on the strategy, the star talent and the risks. However, on the night itself, the game was transformed as it came down to the focus, discipline and skilful performance of the entire team. Entrepreneurs and executive teams can learn a lot from this do or die game to have their own Matildas Moment with their team.
Entrepreneurs and leaders who come to Scaling Up Coaches usually lack knowledge of what is important during scaling and the many tools available to help them how to scale. Here are five examples of how Scaling Up Coaches in Australia have helped entrepreneurs / CEOs and their executive teams to transform and scale up their business.
Scaling up is different to starting a business. As your organisation and customers grow, complexity creeps in. And the laser-focus on early customers and product fit which dominates start-up life becomes plagued by persistent business problems relating to people, cashflow, strategy or execution. Hiring more people, selling more volume, or investing more capital may not solve all the problems and may in fact, make things worse.
Scaling up is also different to simply growing a business. A business that is scaling grows efficiently and prioritises strategies that deliver economies of scale. The result is increasing output, profit and impact for each additional investment in people or capital. In other words, the business grows in such a way that average costs and effort is declining. A business can still grow without prioritising scale economics, but it obviously takes a lot more to reach the same profitability growth or returns on investment. Often the difference between scaling and growing comes down to understanding your constraints. New strategies can help you to increase efficiencies and unlock scaling to reach the organisation’s full scaling potential.
Research among new firms shows that the majority fail to grow beyond a few million
dollars in revenue. After five years, among those that are still revenue generating, only 6% are scaling up, while the rest are growing at much lower rates or stagnating.
Over time, a failure to scale leads to frustrated, stressful, and self-doubtful founders and executives. And eventually growth may stagnate or decline. Often entrepreneurs and executive teams that approach Australian Scaling Up Coaches still believe strongly in their purpose and product but feel things should be moving faster or they can be performing better, but can't quite put their finger on what to address first.
As an entrepreneur myself, I understand how much energy it takes to scale up a business. It can be incredibly rewarding, but it also filled me with moments of frustration, stress and doubt. Unfortunately, when I started my business no one tapped me on the shoulder and told me when or precisely how to scale. I wish someone had done so back then and saved me a lot of false starts and stress!
Fortunately, there is a simpler, more structured approach to driving and managing scaling. Scaling UpTM is a proven performance platform that has helped 80,000 small to mid sized businesses globally to scale.
Here are five examples of how Scaling Up Coaches in Australia have helped entrepreneurs/ CEOs and their executive teams have their own Matildas Moment and transform their business.
1. Establish your core values and the “rules of the road”
Way back when Australian technology giant Atlassian (market capital $
45 billion) was still a small 50 person company headquartered in Sydney, founders Mike Cannon Brookes and Scott Farquhar attended their first scaling up workshop. With Scaling Up coaches they learnt the importance of core values in making the rules of the road explicit and developed their initial Core Values which have stood the test of time and scale today. Making Atlassian not only an international Australian scale up success at $45 billion market cap, but also a great place to work.
Core values are foundational to a scaling up strategy and help founders build autonomy. Learn more about how to develop core values for your organisation from Australian Scaling Up Coaches here.
2. Create a truly differential Strategy
Innovation is the foundation of many new firms’ early growth. However, being a first mover doesn’t always guarantee first to scale or beating out fast-followers competition to remain No. 1. Together with core values and purpose, creating truly differential brand promises based on your best customers most important jobs to be done is critical to market differentiation and efficient selling.
To the customers deciding between your business and competition – your difference can be shades of grey.
Many entrepreneurs think they have a differential product or strategy, when in fact competition has followed quickly or the strategy is not differential or simply stated enough. To the customers deciding between your business and competition – your difference can be shades of grey.
Learn how to identify your Best Customers and simply state your Brand Promises for more efficient scaling in our one to one Scaling Up coaching or Scaling Up small group masterclass.
3. Stay Laser-Focussed on the Main Thing
In 2001 entrepreneur Naomi Simson founded an online experience gifting service, RedBalloon out of her house. In 2005, Naomi attended a Scaling up coaches workshop where she learnt how to link her vision for the company to a laser-focussed executional plan and discipline centred on a BHAG. Eight years later, RedBallon had 10x the scale of it's gift experiences and is still growing today.
The BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) is a concept initiated by Jim Collins in his research on the differences between Good and Great firms. Naomi and team set their BHAG - to provide gift experiences to 10% of Australians – 2 million gift experiences. Establishing focus through continual measurement and a very visible scoreboard provided RedBallon with a focussed outcome that drove executional priorities, reaching their BHAG two years earlier than planned.
Learn how to create a BHAG for your company that will move you closer to fulfilling your mission and purpose with support from Australian Scaling Up Coach, Made For Scale.
4. Grow your cashflow while scaling (and avoid growing broke)
When growth eludes us, often the answer for many teams is to just sell more. Selling solves everything right? Not necessarily! Many entrepreneurs don’t even realise that volume may not be the answer and in fact, without an efficient business model, and adequate cashflow, selling more may be equal to growing broke. Or perhaps sales is there, but the business always seems to be short on cash to invest in longer term growth and build a defensible moat.
Getting the whole team to understand the cashflow story of your business is critical to decision making. Cashflow story is an Australian financial software tool provided by Scaling Up coaches to help leadership make better decisions regarding growth strategies. It is a simple way to understand the drivers of your cashflow and the impact of a 1% movement on price, volume, COGS or overhead or a 1-day improvement in working capital on you performance and results. Helping all members of your team to focus on strategies that will drive the biggest operating profit and cashflow with the least amount of cost and effort.
5. Getting the right people on the bus and doing the right things, right!
Famously, culture eats strategy for breakfast. But great company culture starts at the top with hiring the right people. We all know this in theory – yet when asked, “how many of your current people would you enthusiastically rehire tomorrow without hesitation?” not many leaders would answer above 90%. How would you answer this for your business?
One services firm I had the privilege to coach told me they knew for a long time that 20-30% of the people working in the firm were not the right fit in terms of either values or skills or both. Yet they did not have the will to address it until they started Scaling Up coaching.
We all know this in theory – yet when asked, “how many of your current people would you enthusiastically rehire tomorrow without hesitation?” not many leaders would answer above 90%.
Scaling up provided a structured way to review all the key functional roles, clarify the key metrics and leading indicators each role is there to do and to make the right people decisions at all levels of the organisation. The exponential impact of a renewed focus on people and clearer expectations of roles, coupled with decisive action, had the halo effect on the performance of the entire organisation. The organisation not only rationalised and reduced overhead, but also achieved a measurable improvement in productivity resulting in the quarterly sales targets being achieved for the first time in many quarters.
Learn more about Scaling Up people and Talent Assessment with Australian scaling up coaches at Made For Scale.
Source: Matildas World Cup Photo https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-07-31/fifa-womens-world-cup-matildas-canada/102664686?