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
Empowering revenue generation
This is crucial for all growing companies whether B2B or B2C, and the fundamentals are knowing the customer, understanding sales channels and influencers and competitor strategies monitoring and planned response. In scale up, high quality recruitment, delegation and empowerment is a core skill to ensure the company still delivers to the same quality. Account management plans, sales management structure, incentivisation and performance management are all likely to be required for the first time and we can provide precedents and benchmarks for these.
“Winning new customers and retaining them is the key to scaling any business.”
James Bagan, Operating PartnerView Profile
Establishing the mission
Frogs’ definition of strategy: “A competitive game-plan to achieve an important goal” Particularly during the scale-up phase, where a degree of product market fit has already been established, strategy is not about selling a vague market opportunity but rather combining a clear view of addressable market with a robust plan of action as to how this can be exploited. More importantly, identifying the unique resources and attributes your company has (and will need) to thrive in that environment.
“As you scale a business it grows beyond senior management’s line of sight, so strategic intent is crucial from a communications perspective.”
David Williams, Operating PartnerView Profile
At the early venture capital stage, investors base their judgement largely on high level instinct; the passion and experience of the founders, the size of the market and the innovation of the product approach. At the scale-up stage, the core judgement is whether there is the potential to create a longer term, sustainable and valuable business and to set realistic value creation benchmarks along the way. For small businesses, it will be rare for large purchasers to make an inbound approach unless you make a strategic decision to build your profile and relationships. For many corporates, a commercial relationship will be required before a transaction can be justified. Building multiple relationships keeps options open and gives the best, rounded insight on value creation.
“Value creation is an outcome of building a successful business, not an objective to be set in its own right.”
Mike Reid, 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