Scaling up – Book Review

How a few companies make it and why the rest don’t

Scaling up – Book Review

How a few companies make it and why the rest don’t
I am fascinated by the different experiences and methods used in corporate growth consulting; in the UK we are excellent at starting business but unlike the US we are not good at going from the start-up level to the multimillion £ business.

This book by Verne Harnish has provided an indispensable framework of ideas to develop effective strategies and create change which is necessary for any business to grow significantly to become a large corporate business.

Any business owner, investor or manager will benefit from reading this book. I would go so far to say as it is one of the most valuable books, I’ve read on helping to grow a business.

A goal without a routine is a wish. A routine without a goal is aimless.
There are three barriers to scaling up:
a. Leadership
b. Technology
c. Cash

The book is structured in to three main section on
1. people,
2. strategy
3. and cash.
Included within each section are several printable resources for analysing your business and providing a framework to find the right people, set strategy and manage cash.

Here is what I took away from the book:

1. There are four main challenges to a business scaling up:
a. Attracting and keeping the right People
b. Creating a truly differentiated Strategy
c. Driving flawless Execution
d. Most importantly having plenty of Cash to weather the storms.

2. To scale up any business there are a few key priorities that should be set:
a. Free up the senior management team from operational issues
b. Refocus them on market facing activities and strategy setting.
c. Align the junior team to drive execution.

3. People
d. Failing to construct the right team will drain energy from relationships and the business.
e. Make a list of functions and processes in the organisation and allocate a name next to each. Set KPIs to hold each person to account.
f. The most important KPI for the CEO is how many of their team is achieving their KPIs.
g. because this will prove that they have the right people doing the right things
h. Good leaders will exhibit two qualities: they do not need to be managed and they consistently wow you with insights and output.
i. To increase your chances of hiring successfully: create a job scorecard vs the usual job description) , aim for at least 20 CVs, use the threat of reference checks as truth serum.

4. Strategy
j. A well-considered strategy based around mission, vision and values is hugely valuable.
k. Use the 7 strata of strategy to help you come up with a strategy.
l. Strategy should have clearly defined actions and be measurable through KPIs.
m. Constantly review your strategy by gathering customer and employee feedback
n. To execute the strategy, follow the Rockefeller habits, track KPIs and instill a considered pattern of meetings (daily, monthly, quarterly) to track progress.
o. Make sure that managers are in the habit of ‘closing the loop’ with customer and staff feedback 506

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