40 Things Every Startup Should Do To Scale Up

For any entrepreneur, to implement and execute at the idea stage is quite difficult. However, it becomes more harder, when he tries to scale up things and move up with the growth graph.

This happens because initially it was only you who was at the core of your company. But as you grow, it more becomes a team work. There are numerous examples of startups which take off with great gusto, but ended up abruptly, failing to sustain a continuous growth graph.

The reasons for this could be many – lack of funds, market instability, weaker strategies, wrong timing – the list is endless.

Here are 40 pointers from the book ‘Scaling Up’ by Verne Harnish. Verne C. Harnish founded the Young Entrepreneurs’ Organization (YEO), now known as Entrepreneurs’ Organization. He is an author, often writing as the “Growth Guy”. Some of his published books include Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and Fortune: The greatest business decisions of All Time.

  1. Hire fewer people but pay them more.
  2. No team is so big that it can’t be fed with two pizzas.
  3. If more than one person is accountable, then no one is accountable, and that’s when things start falling through the cracks.
  4. Hire people who don’t need to be managed, and regularly wow the team with their insights and outputs.
  5. Leaders must hire people who are better than them.
  6. Heads of Business Units need to lead as if they are individual CEO’s.
  7. Use the Lean technique – Eliminate time wasted on activities that don’t add value for customers/clients.
  8. The cost of bad hire is 15x his or her salary (according to TopGrading).
  9. You need strange culture and strange strategy to differentiate your firm in the marketplace.
  10. It’s better to do 3-4 hours of interview instead of spending hundreds of hours of headaches if you hire the wrong person.
  11. Failure to develop sufficient leadership is one of the three biggest barriers to growth.
  12. Focus on eliminating or delegating tasks that drain you.
  13. Great managers discover what is different about people and capitalise on it.
  14. On-boarding needs to be a celebration. Throw a party for people who joined the company instead of doing it when they leave.
  15. Modern careers are like rock climbing where top does not have to be the goal. Getting across the rock face or reaching another spot can be more exciting and  rewarding.
  16. Organise your employee handbook into sections around each core value.
  17. Deadlines cannot be an excuse for making mistakes. Be quick, but don’t hurry.
  18. Identify your one phase strategy which represents key lever in your business model that drives profitability and helps you choose which customer desires to meet and which ones to ignore.
  19. A company can outperform rivals only if it can establish a difference that it can preserve.
  20. If everyone can accomplish one thing in addition to his or her daily job, that’s a dozen improvements every quarter, or hundreds.
  21. Knowing what trends are going to shake up your industry – and having a plan for dealing with them – will help you stay ahead of the competition.
  22. Quarterly theme is a fun motif you can use in your internal marketing to rally everyone around achieving your Critical Number.
  23. Senior leaders need to be in the market 80% of the week, either figuratively or literally.
  24. What should we start doing? What should we stop doing? What should we keep doing? 3 questions you should ask your recent hires.
  25. 4 questions leaders should ask clients in person (not on a survey) – How are you doing? What’s going on in your industry/neighborhood? What do you hear about our competitors? How are we doing?
  26. Share insights from conversations with clients at the executive team’s weekly huddle. Don’t bog down the process with a bunch of written reports.
  27. Whichever competitor has the most market intelligence, and uses it, wins.
  28. All executives and middle managers should have a coach (or peer coach) holding them accountable for behavioral changes.
  29. Make sure that the core values, purpose and priorities are posted throughout the company. These can be displayed on walls, floors, ceilings, or even in the boardroom.
  30. Most matters can wait for the daily huddle or the weekly meeting. Bigger issues, which necessitate getting everyone in a room for a few hours, can be addressed during the monthly management meeting.
  31. Avoid checking up on whether someone did something the previous day. Looking forward is a great management; and looking backward is micromanagement.
  32. Line up all your meetings in a day, instead of spreading them over in a week.
  33. Have your CFO give you a cash report everyday. Observing the sources of cash flowing in  and out on a daily basis gives real insight into your business’s financial model.
  34. Find ways to speed up and move cash more quickly through the business. Eg. Specify a due date on the invoice rather than include the standard due in 30 days.
  35. 10% (profit) is the new break-even. Once you add new labor and profitability drops, hold labor costs steady and grow back to 15% profit. Keep repeating the cycle.
  36. Revenue is Vanity, profit is sanity, and cash flow is king.
  37. Midsize businesses should target at a minimum of 30% return on net assets.
  38. Success belongs to those who have these two attributes: 1) An insatiable desire to learn 2) An unquenchable bias for action.
  39. Along the journey, there is a set of habits – routines – that will make the climb easier. “Routine sets you free.”
  40. And lastly, whatever you do, avoid doing everything all at once. One step at a time.

Although, these cannot be considered as the guaranteed solution, but keeping these in mind can definitely act as a growth catalyst for your business.

Note: We at Inc42 take our ethics very seriously. More information about it can be found here.

You have reached your limit of free stories
Become An Inc42 Plus Member

Become a Startup Insider in 2024 with Inc42 Plus. Join our exclusive community of 10,000+ founders, investors & operators and stay ahead in India’s startup & business economy.

Unlock 60% OFF
Cancel Anytime
Unlock 50% OFF
Cancel Anytime
Already A Member?
Discover Startups & Business Models

Unleash your potential by exploring unlimited articles, trackers, and playbooks. Identify the hottest startup deals, supercharge your innovation projects, and stay updated with expert curation.

40 Things Every Startup Should Do To Scale Up-Inc42 Media
How-To’s on Starting & Scaling Up

Empower yourself with comprehensive playbooks, expert analysis, and invaluable insights. Learn to validate ideas, acquire customers, secure funding, and navigate the journey to startup success.

40 Things Every Startup Should Do To Scale Up-Inc42 Media
Identify Trends & New Markets

Access 75+ in-depth reports on frontier industries. Gain exclusive market intelligence, understand market landscapes, and decode emerging trends to make informed decisions.

40 Things Every Startup Should Do To Scale Up-Inc42 Media
Track & Decode the Investment Landscape

Stay ahead with startup and funding trackers. Analyse investment strategies, profile successful investors, and keep track of upcoming funds, accelerators, and more.

40 Things Every Startup Should Do To Scale Up-Inc42 Media
40 Things Every Startup Should Do To Scale Up-Inc42 Media
You’re in Good company