There is a plethora of books about successfully launching your business (like Peter Thiel’s Zero to One and Noam Wasserman’s The Founders Dilemma, which we reviewed previously), and plenty addressing specific challenges companies in the scale-up phase are facing (such as Smart & Street’s Who – Solve your number #1 issue which we have also reviewed).
A few years ago, Verne Harnish undertook the sizeable task of combining this scale-up expertise into a single, readable tome, Scaling Up.
Covering the multitude of challenges facing a scale-up in a single publication, is a formidable task given that scale-ups are multiple times the size of start-ups and accordingly have deeper specialisation, more data and a higher degree of complexity.
To tackle this, Harnish has opted for brevity and therefore sacrificed deeper insights for succinctness. This does leave the reader to research specific topics to get a more comprehensive level of detail and unfortunately only some of these topics are sourced to their originator. I suspect that the reality for most scale-ups is that teams will already have good levels of expertise across the various fields that exceeds what is covered in this book. Therefore, we would recommend reading those publications as well.
Harnish provides a helpful segmentation of scale-ups in four parts, in turn focusing on the team, the strategy, the execution and the cash. As such, the book is a useful introduction, which might benefit in itself from scaling up.