A successful startup! Time to scale?

Do you know how many ideas are being born on daily basis? But only few get to start and even fewer make it and survive in the business jungle. This business jungle has a king, and trust me, is not the strongest one from all but the smartest one that is crowned. And being smart and effective is what will keep you wearing the crown's king.

Are you really ready for scaling?

As a startup you have managed to establish your self by acquiring a very small percentage of the market and everyone is happy about it because things are going well. It looks like you had a very successful recipe and now you feel ready to grow even more. You think you have what it takes to go grow the numbers and increase revenue and be even more successful. That is absolutely fantastic news and everyone is looking forward for this growth, but are you really ready for this?

Plan every stage

Let's assume you are going out for a very official multiple course dinner. You know that these type of dinners take a lot of time to prepare, plan and execute but the result is fantastic. First of all you need to decide how many meal courses you are up to and go for it. Let's assume you have chosen the four courses meal which will include a soup, an appetizer, a main course and of course a dessert. Each and every course is unique with a different meaning and different purpose.

Every recipe serves a different purpose

The soup: We choose to have a soup before anything else because the various digestive juices are secreted in the stomach and intestine which helps in proper digestion of main course. The appetizer: We choose to have an appetizer because it stimulates our appetite and makes us more hungry for the main course. Main course: The good stuff. After having the soup and the appetizer, finally we are ready to receive the main course. The dessert:After a really good meal, a good dessert is what we need to complete the puzzle of the gastronomic pleasure that will also help us digest.

Assuming the following, The soup equals to the idea, The appetizer equals to the Startup, the Main course equals to scaling and the desert equals to the stabilization period. Assuming that these are the same, then we come to the conclusion that for each stage we have a different recipe that will serve a different purpose. You need all four stages to reach the top of the mountain. Launching the idea as a startup, scale and stabilize building your own culture and identity.

Increase number of employees will not increase production instantly

Adding more people won't increase production. If we take as an example a Scrum team, after going through the Tuckman's stages of group development and reach the performing stage, try to add a new team member and observe what will happen. It will not increase production and will not increase velocity but it will slow down the team as the new team member needs to get on-board in such a way that his/hers experience will add value, will be constructive and not otherwise.

Be proactive when scaling and have the right plan

When is time to scale, we need to take into consideration many factors and use different recipes for every stage, otherwise we will build an environment that half of our time will be spent on dealing with problems. Usually we are focusing on the symptoms and not on the actual problems. This is happening when you are part of the problem and you are trying to solve it. Have in mind the right tools to use for scaling, the right way to remove impediments, the right way to build your identity and last but not least have a plan for your employees retention. All four stages need a vision, a mission, a strategy and values.

Konstantinos Kareklas, Agile Coach