Question :
How do you pull the pin and scale without breaking your neck in the process?What are the business process and customer experience foundations that we should get right before scaling up?ThanksIsaac & Annie

Question submitted 03/07/20 @ 02:35pm
Industry: Business Growth
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    Hi Isaac and Annie,
    Great questions with some ‘how long is a piece of string’ answers!
    – Partly depends what scale means for you. There are quite different tipping points with say putting more part time heads into the business to increase capacity (flexible and low commitment) to deciding on major capital investment (high commitment, and usually low flexibility).
    – Mapping out your growth pathway will enable you to be clear on what those scaling commitments and investments mean for you, and the tipping points to make commitments with confidence
    – In terms of the processes that need to be clear first I would keep it really simple. What you do, why you do it, roles of the key founders/investors in the business, clear unmet demand (maybe even struggling to keep up with current demand)….and then just take one step forward at a time

    There seems to be a real sense of aspiration for the growth of your business (and I have previously seen and loved your products) – it is also worth getting an advisor involved who can provide a broad business perspective and guide you through some key decisions. As you scale that can morph into an advisory board and ultimately a governance board. I am a big fan of more advice and learnings from the experience of others…so many of us have been there and made mistakes…would rather share them than see others repeat them!

    All the best, Vicky


    Kia ora Isaac & Annie,

    Love the product BTW! very exciting for you to have things take off. Some good advice from Vicky. I think you’re on the right track when you ask about “business processes” and “customer experience foundations”.

    A few different ways of looking at this: The biggest pitfalls of scaling fast are loss of control of product quality and/or customer experience. I’d start by making sure you’ve got rock-solid closed-loops around these areas. By closed loop I mean you’re measuring and quickly able to make changes to fix/improve. So, tools like post-shipment follow-up and Net Promoter Score (NPS) are great ways of doing this.

    I’d then take a look at the unit economics of what you’re doing. By this I mean the margin you earn from each product. Standard products, custom products. How will this change as you scale-up? If it’s not going down (perhaps because of outsourcing) then make sure you understand the impact of this. Assuming the plan is to manufacture locally (from imported componentry) then you may want to look at automating to maintain quality. Automating QA might be a good place to start (even now).

    Lastly, if things really take off then you may want to look at product mix. Are low margin “difficult” products consuming resources that would be better applied to higher margin easier to manufacture ones? – that sort of things.

    I hope this helps. Good luck with it!


    Thanks Vicky and Pete. Both are good answers to my question with good points. Vicky managed to give us an assignment. Providing the example of the work that goes along with the advice makes it actionable this is good technique much appreciated

    Isaac & Annie

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