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The Scale-up Challenge

Scaling-up presents a number of challenges as described in Camels, Tigers & Unicorns and The Scale-up Manual. Watch the author, Dr Phadke summarise.
92% of startups fail within three years. So what separates the other 8%? There are plenty of books out there with anecdotal evidence, people telling their success stories. But as we all know, what works for one business doesn’t necessarily work for another. And yet, there has to be a reason why some startups work and others fail. 20 years ago, we set up a research group in Cambridge to track the growth of different businesses. And we found that every company had key moments where their growth stalled. We thought perhaps this was just the Cambridge business community. So we cast the net a little wider and looked to businesses across the UK. We found the same trend.
So we scaled up our research to Europe, Asia, and then the United States. And what became apparent was that these same hurdles were affecting every company all over the world. So we set about defining these hurdles and came up with a way for businesses to identify where they were along their scale-up journey. It became a lot easier to look at what they needed to do to traverse the different chasms more effectively. We set about collating more data and identified a number of factors that every business should be considering when planning growth. And so our scale-up framework was born.
We will be taking you through this framework, looking at how to assess your business, estimate the maturity of your business, and help you decide what factors are important so you can try to avoid these common pitfalls. We’ll be looking at how the early stages of growth take a lot longer than most would have you believe and what you and your team should be focusing on so that you can all be driving the scale-up of your business together whilst keeping track of your trajectory. This journey is not an easy one. But with our methodology, by the end of the course, you should be able to build an integrated execution plan and take the next steps on your journey with confidence.
Over the course of this programme, you will also hear from a number of different business leaders. We included these real-world experiences not to try and tell you to do as they have done. Instead, we hope they will give you some insight into the key influences and drivers affecting the majority of companies and the ones that will likely affect yours. We hope that they help to tell the stories behind the statistics as we work our way through the concepts of this course together. Good luck. Let’s get started.

In this video you’ll be introduced to:

  • The different approaches currently used to study company behaviour, and how they differ
  • The limitations of these approaches and why we need a new approach to understanding how companies actually grow
  • An overview of a systematic new approach to understanding and shaping company growth.
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Business Growth: Tackling the Scale-up Challenge

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