Scale-ups, growth champions of SMEs, Powerhouses of Productivity.

5.7 million SMEs generate £2 trillion for the UK economy; 

33,860 scaleups contribute £1 trillion of this total!’’ ONS 2020

Staying in startup mode

As a small business grows, and employees increase, it’s just not possible for the business owner to sort out all of the problems they face, as they arise. And if every day is spent fire-fighting then how will the business evolve – how can it?

Redoing work, removing blocks, fixing equipment, dealing with customer issues, isn’t just time-wasting for the business owner, it’s frustrating for the team, and costly for the business, affecting team and customer retention, productivity and profit.

Failure to get to the root cause of these problems, is the main reason that so many businesses don’t progress beyond startup mode, or fail altogether.

Scaling v growth – what’s the difference?

The Growth Institute put it this way:

When your business is growing, you’re increasing revenue, increasing market share, and increasing people. Meanwhile, your expenses tend to grow at the same rate (if not more) because growth sucks cash! 

 Internally, stress levels and the drama of daily operations with your team are both through the roof. All this leads to less and less time spent with your family and other things that really matter. A lot of the time, growing a business sucks.

 Scaling is a whole other story. 

When you’re scaling, your revenue is growing at a much faster rate than your expenses, giving you the cash and resources to help you fund and support the increased business. You’ll have the opportunity to hire the right team, invest in tools and resources you couldn’t afford before, and reduce operating drama. When you’re scaling, you can have your life back!’

A basic illustration: a gingerbread maker growing would add more people and more knives for cutting out the gingerbread men, whereas someone scaling would introduce automated cookie cutting.

Why Scale?

5.7 million SMEs generate £2 trillion for the UK economy; 33,860 scaleups contribute £1 trillion of this total!’’ ONS 2020

Scaling is good for you and great for the economy.

Scaling enables you to grow efficiently, gives you a blueprint for franchise and makes your business more valuable and saleable. Just ask McDonald’s!

Scaling takes you from having a job – because you have to be there for the business to work, – to having freedom – because you have the team and the systems that mean you’re not needed day to day.

Key to Scaling

Systems are the key to scale – helping you to achieve a sustainable business that runs to your high standards, and a team that delivers, whether you’re there or not.

Systems are key to consistency, efficiency and profitability, helping you to build a loyal and ever-growing customer base, to adapt with agility to changing circumstances and, most important of all, to get your life back.

Put simply it’s what takes you from chaos to consistency and freedom.

Blocks to Scaling

According to research, the UK is one of the best in the world for start-ups but not so hot when it comes to scale-ups.

Why is that? Why don’t business owners embrace the systems that would give them scale?

1. Business owners are naturally creators, and are sometimes loathe to embrace the concept of systemisation, because they think it’s going to restrict them. 

My answer to this one is simple:

“Systems aren’t chains to tie you down, they are wings to help you fly

2. Some think it will take too much of their time to systemise.

Imagine a day when 50% of your time is not spent fire-fighting; not dealing with everyone else’s issues, not pacifying yet another customer.

Knowing the basics of business are taken care of, gives the business owner time to do what they should be doing – working on their business. Systemising a business the right way does take time, but the end results are transformational for your business and your life.

3. Some don’t believe that they can possibly systemise like a big corporate such as McDonald’s.

I challenge those people to think of Macs as a small business replicated 36000 times! 🙂 Yes of course they have huge economies of scale and a supply chain second to none. But in everyday work, far from being complex and corporate, they have developed one right way to do everything, that is simple, logical and repeatable.

4. Some business owners are so focused on what’s brought them success that they fail to see that there’s another way. They believe that they have to work harder and harder just to maintain their current success, never mind deliver growth or scale. Like hamsters on a gilded wheel, they trundle on and on, while life, and the time to enjoy their hard-earned success, passes them by.

The starting point for scale is the desire to achieve it.

When you want something enough, anything is possible.

So, do you want it?

Do one thing: Take the Scale-Ready Scorecard to understand what you already do well and what you need to work on 

scorecard link:


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Marianne Page

Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)


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