In This Episode You’ll Learn:
- How to know if you’re ready to scale-up
- Why recognizing whether you have a product-market fit is essential to scaling successfully
- How to avoid floundering amidst marketing options
From Startup to Scale-Up
Roland says many startups reach a middle-stage in their journey called the scale-up phase.
“A startup is an exploring mode, a scale up is an exploiting mode”
That’s where Roland comes in. He is a middle-stage business coach who helps businesses grow big but not corporate. Roland says it’s vital to recognize if your business is ready to scale-up before starting the process.
The key is to know whether you have been able to define your product-market fit (PMF). Only when you have clearly determined that should you consider scaling-up.
Roland defines a PMF as a unique solution to a painful problem that customers are willing to pay money to solve. It is essential that a PMF contains each of these three elements.
Optimize One Marketing Channel
Once a company has defined its PMF and has decided to start scaling-up, Roland says it must begin figuring out the distribution, marketing and sales of its product.
Don’t flounder amidst marketing options. Choose one channel that works well for your company and optimize your efforts there. Business owners also should make sure they keep an eye on their numbers when selecting their marketing practices — market efficiently enough to balance cost with profit.
“You only become a true scaleup when you can proactively reach out to all these other people who are not banging on your door who would still be very happy with your products, as well.”
Identify And Grow Your Strengths
Roland says startups who successfully scale-up are able to do so because they do not try to become perfect at everything. Rather, they identify 5-6 areas in which they are able to outperform the competition and then they meticulously develop those areas. As long as everything else in the business is at a good “hygiene point,” this will be enough for a business to become world-class.
Momentum is all about how much force is going in a certain direction. Roland emphasizes that companies gain momentum by focusing on fortifying those 5-6 areas, creating a flywheel effect.
Be courageous, make choices about what could be distinctive or exceptional about your company and then put your efforts behind it. Companies that fail to hone their focus end up floundering in options, wasting time, and mismanaging resources.
Allow Yourself To Learn And Be Held Accountable
While there’s no silver bullet to scaling-up, Roland says success always comes hand-in-hand with asking the right questions and strong leadership.
“The silver bullet, if there is one, is just to let yourself be challenged a little bit more not only by an external coach and facilitator but also by your own team.”
Be humble enough to be able to see and admit if your business needs a leader who is not you. Get a mentor who has been where you want to be. Be willing to take constructive criticism.
Roland says it’s hard to go wrong with a mentor or coach, but recommends:
- A coach has their content and message readily available online.
- You have chemistry with your coach.
- A coach has good references.
Ultimately, if you want to scale-up now or in the future, make sure you know who you are as a business and what you’re best at; know your customer; and put people and systems in place that challenge you and hold you accountable as a leader.