Scaleup at South Summit

Startup to Scale Up at South Summit 2017
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As part of the closing session on the IEXL Demo Stage at South Summit Madrid on October 6th, 2017, the Scaleup: How to successfully manage growth Professor  Joe Haslam and Assistant Professor Matthieu Heusch took to the stage to share their insights about the HiOP. As we’ve highlighted previously on the IEXL blog, while scale-ups haven’t gotten the same recognition in academia as startups, the conversation is shifting towards scale-ups because that’s where the movement towards sustaining enterprises comes to fruition.


What are the three things we need to know about scale-ups?

Joe gave us three vital points:

  1. Startups are about finding out where you’re strong. Scale-ups are about finding out where you’re weak.
  2. Countries don’t actually need startups; they need scale-ups.
  3. Don’t talk to me about startups, talk to me about scale-ups


Establishing this distinction is vital to showing the importance of scale-ups. Even the World Economic Forum highlighted research results corroborating statement number two. While the fodder talks about startups, instead “research (see herehere and here) clearly shows that it is relatively high-growth firms – what we call “scale ups” – that are the real generators of jobs, taxes and wealth. Contrary to the myth, small businesses and start-ups only generate these benefits if they then go on to grow.”


Plus, the only way a business will get to scale is by focusing on points of weakness, rectifying them, and putting in the legwork to foster a business model to scale and translate those benefits for the employees, the industry, and on a macroeconomic level, the country’s economy.


So, now that we’ve established scale-ups are essential, what do they consist of?

For marketing professionals, or business school graduates, you’re in luck: just as with the 4 P’s of marketing, it coincidentally turns out that there are the 4 P’s of scale-ups. We emphasize, however, that this was not intended. They are:

  • Purpose
  • Product
  • Process
  • People

In the HiOP, you will tackle each of these P’s within your modules, mainly when focusing on implementing techniques from Operations and creating a corporate culture that won’t cause conflicts that often come about when a business begins to scale.


What do scale-up entrepreneurs need to keep in mind?

You will probably alienate your early adopters because when scaling, you are shifting from the edge towards the mainstream. In the process, you’re going to have to start fires and peak at certain times. And, over time through the process of trial and error, as you figure out something works, you work on sales and marketing efforts increase the number of customers and naturally earn more money.


And, what’s the benefit of the HiOP format?

Joe is a strong supporter of the HiOP format because learning online affords you several benefits. The first is having the freedom to watch the material again and again. How is that useful for you as a scale-up entrepreneur? According to Haslam: “It’s only when people are sick of hearing something is when a message goes through. When you hear something 5 or 6 times, it generally sticks.” Plus, in Haslam’s words, “[t]hat, coupled with live sessions, is quite an enriching experience.” It’s not only beneficial for the participants themselves; we heard about how people even showed coworkers the videos to put content into practice!


What will the HiOP give you?

First, a point related to scale-ups is the proportion of what you need you’ll be able to get from the course compared to what any entrepreneur must learn by trial and error. In the case of this course, the proportion is 80/20: 20% of what scale-ups need, we can teach you. The other 80% you’ll have to figure it out for yourselves. Despite that proportion, it will give you the foundation you need. As Haslam stated: “We stop the leaks, and that gives you a very good base.”


What do people who take the course, find interesting?

For Matthieu, his perspective as a TA revealed what peaks the most interest in the forums in the HiOP: the importance of organizational culture, which is the final P in the 4 P’s of scale-ups. According to Matthieu, “People really didn’t think about setting up a culture; how to hire people, how to fire people. This was the most important thing that came up on the forums.” That’s why the HiOP places such importance on creating the right culture; there apparently is a difference between the corporate cultures that get put into place with a logic behind it and those that spontaneously form.


Why companies do not scale

As the saying goes, the devil’s in the details. Research that says companies don’t scale relates to people who don’t know what they’re doing. First off, people don’t manage, and people don’t really pay attention to details. Even those that interview people don’t manage and don’t pay attention to the details.


That’s not good for successful scaling. Why?

When asked about best practices in a company, it comes down to one word: management. According to our panelists: “If you want to scale a company, you need to respect the idea of management and to embrace the game.”


And, what’s the most stressful thing about running a company?

The stress comes from two areas: the personal stress and the stress related to people on your team. What’s also paramount is to stay healthy and take care of yourself.


Before we wrap up: Uber and books

Towards the end of the Q&A, two topics came up, and we thought that they deserved blog posts of their own.


First off, Uber, one of the world’s most prominent startups has been experiencing the growing pains of scaling up as of late. They fired their founder; they now have a new CEO on board. What are the pain points they’re experiencing, what have they done wrong, and what does this mean for the future? Hear Joe’s take on Uber.


Then, what are the most important books that Joe recommends to entrepreneurs? We have a roundup of three essential titles, as well as a link to a treasure trove of his recommendations in one of his syllabi. Curious? Read on.


Eager for more from Joe and Matthieu?

If you’re yearning for more info about the Scaleup: How to successfully manage growth  HiOP, download your copy of our informational brochure here. If you’re all ready to join our next edition, go ahead and get started on your application.


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