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Scaling Businesses Fast and Furiously

October 2019
Flemming Riber
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Six Questions to Ask Your Organization

Universal Robots is a business to admire. In 2005, the company began with a 50-60% year-over-year growth rate, and it has now grown to over 650 employees and over $200 million in revenues. How did the company achieve such success? Some key factors included its ability to:

  • Create a specialist offering in a niche market.
  • Develop quick global coverage through over 300 sales partners worldwide.
  • Produce a few products that were easy to install and maintain, allowing for a scalable supply chain.
  • Maintain a straightforward leadership credo — focused on well-planned objectives and maximum time for implementation.
  • Encourage a work culture based on “Go do.”

These basic working principles, among others, are what allowed Universal Robots to scale the company fast and furiously.

Growth Is Becoming More Challenging

Digital disruption, increasing competition, and rising consumer expectations are making organizational growth for Universal Robots more challenging. Moreover, “quick fixes” such as acquisitions can be costly and much more uncertain in terms of returns than longer-term structured growth programs.

A Deliberate and Disciplined Approach to Growth

To achieve sustainable success, organizations need the ability to grow at scale. Unfortunately, there’s no structured blueprint or foolproof formula for this. Yet organizations can — and should — learn from the mistakes and wins of those who have been successful.[1]In this paper, we’ll discuss some of the strategies used by leaders who have succeeded in scaling their businesses quickly in this era of disruption.

1. Where in our operations is our growth going to originate? 

Determine exactly where the expansion will originate, and formulate a realistic mission that will guide your decision-making. Pinpoint where your opportunities are by analyzing and understanding value pools and customer trends in your primary and secondary markets, segments, and categories.

2. How can we optimize costs across the enterprise?

Examine if there are any current activities where you can lower costs, and take the necessary action to do so. Determine where you can best invest every dollar you save for the greatest impact. Make sure to reserve sufficient funds to deal with any risks you might face in the near or long term.

3. Is our organization sufficiently streamlined to take action on growth opportunities?

Digital transformation is key to quick and effective action, so ensure your organization has completed its transition. Leadership should assess which channels should be used to respond to opportunities and establish processes to quickly and efficiently do so.

4. What innovative methods can we employ for growth?

To drive growth, some organizations establish secret innovation projects — also referred to as “speedboats” due to their size, agility, and limited range — that help them get their ideas to market quickly.[2]Begin with a limited number of speedboats, as they require a significant investment and strong leadership, and use them to drive innovation within your scope of products or services in both your primary and secondary markets.

5. Is our leadership aligned with our vision and objectives?

Consider the example of Universal Robots from the introduction: leadership meets a few times a year and spends the remaining days in action on implementation.

Gain alignment for your growth effort throughout the business by telling a compelling story about the need for and projected results of expansion. Your leaders should act as role models for the change you want to realize in order to inspire a shift toward innovation and growth in your company culture. As your organization expands, be aware of evolving capability demands, and be ready to reinvent how things are done. Consistently ask how each decision and process will support your organization’s growth.[3]

6. Is our company leadership agile?

Recognize the 10% of staff who are the most critical to your business. These are also the leaders who are most essential in your retention and succession planning. Do you know who these individuals are? Do they know who they are? Can these leaders be moved around and repositioned to create a fast-scaling business? Take the time to identify, recognize, and encourage these key individuals as your company moves into the future. They should have both the capability and authority to manage capital expenses for your organization.

Discover the Critical Role of Leadership in Business Growth

Based on our experience and insights in working with companies in different industries around the world, we know that when you want to quickly drive business expansion, you need executives with the determination and discipline to create a viable plan and help your organization implement it for the long term. Stanton Chase consultants can help by identifying and assessing your critical talent, providing external surveillance to identify and attract candidates who could replace your critical talent if they leave, and help you retain the top leaders who truly understand how to scale businesses fast while fitting into your organization’s culture.

[1] https://www.pipedrive.com/en/blog/scaling-business-globally

[2] https://blochoestergaard.com/what-are-innovation-speedboats-and-how-do-you-scale-them-to-your-need/

[3] https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/growing-faster-than-the-market

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