Improving customer experience
This covers everything required to deliver the quality product or service that customers will rave about and result in them remaining loyal. The basics will already be in place but through the scale up phase there will be more strain and therefore more need to proactively improve customer feedback loops to prioritise product development and optimise retention, departmental structures, reporting lines and responsibilities, support functions (Marketing, HR, IT, Sales admin support, quality control, Finance/Reporting).
“Scale-ups need to prioritise the customer experience through product development, operations and service.”
Mike Reid, Senior PartnerView Profile
Building optimal teams
Talent is where planning and execution intersect. Good people will of course help you to execute better, but if they have the right quality and seniority they will also be involved in shaping strategy through bringing challenging views to planning sessions. We champion developing a culture, organisation and HR approach to nurture and continually assess talent at all levels. As a CEO, your optimal team for the challenge will change over the years. Recognising this fact is essential, as is having an approach to assessing performance, addressing competence gaps and spotting early the need to make a step change and take tough people decisions. A strong senior team is essential to share the burden of responsibility for seeing and delivering the vision that can otherwise become oppressive on the CEO.
“Attracting top talent is a critical ingredient to successfully scaling a business.”
Shirin Dehghan, Operating PartnerView Profile
Achieving organisational clarity
Good organisation starts from the top and changes in the board are likely to be the most obvious initial differences when growth capital is taken on. Whilst we add value through our Frog representative on the board, we also encourage a wider review of what skill sets are required (for a new chairman for example) at that level and what the processes should be. The board should be a huge asset to the business and where this isn’t the case, you either have the wrong people on it or you aren’t getting the best value out of them. At the executive level, organisational clarity from the top drives business discipline and accountability through all levels, ensuring a consistent approach of rigorous follow-up on previously set targets or projects. This is not about blame but learning and improving every year.
“Corporate organisation structure can drive discipline and accountability at all levels in a business.”
Steven Dunne, Senior PartnerView Profile
Building resilient businesses
A core part of the Frog philosophy is helping management to build businesses that can become self-sustaining longer term. Ownership may change but the aim is to create a thriving organisation that lasts the test of time as a business entity not just an innovative concept. This builds on all the other elements of the Scale-Up Methodology, especially clarity of annual strategic plans, providing an action plan for executing new growth initiatives and delivering increased market penetration in a well-researched way. The most effective scale-up CEOs drive aggressive growth, not at all costs, but by judging their ability to attract the right level of resource to fuel the plan, thereby keeping the destiny of the business in the hands of the executive team.
“Making difficult decisions to address the changing needs of a business is critical to its survival and success.”
Jens Düing, Senior PartnerView Profile