Nowadays everyone wants to do a startup. But very few of them succeed. Numbers show it’s easier to become a rap star in Sweden than building a successful startup that grows. But what’s the science behind those who do make it? Can you just push a button or what’s the recipie?
Methodology beats buttons
No, there aren’t any buttons for growth to simply push claims multiple Sime speakers. ”Sorry there’s not, although that would be amazing”, Natural Cycles co-founder Elina Berglund concludes. Button or not, you can apply a system and methodology that caters for growth. One example is the Rockefeller Habits, which is a collection of tools that gives you the ability to have the discipline needed to grow in a systematic way.
Growth all about complexity
Scaling a business is mainly about dealing with an increasing complexity in the company, says scale-up expert Kees de Jong. “Complexity is a function of how many people who work in company, when you are 10, 25 and 50 people different things happen.” You need a system and methodology to apply to your business.
Nr 1 driver of scaling
What’s the key reasons why some companies grow really fast and some don’t? Ambition, shows recent research from University of Amsterdam and Stanford. The researchers conclude that the ambition level of the founders are the biggest predictors if the company scales or not. Ambition has to do with leadership, passion perseverance, and the founding members ability to get everyone around them onboard with that ambition.
Thirst for development necessary
A recent HBR piece points out learning as de common denominator for startups that are able to scale successfully. The founding members’ thirst for learning and their drive to keep developing their own leadership as the company grows. Again, with growth comes complexity and a call for upgraded leadership. Founders who realize this will succeed, the ones who don’t will fail to a higher degree. After all, most jobs require continuous skills development but running a company somehow doesn’t.
Confronting fear and “manhood”
Entreprenruship is all about ressilliance and not about instant success. Scaling your business is about trying again and again and again until you break through. ”Success is 999 failures ending with one victory, one success. You need to keep trying and keep staying alive”, shares Nirav Tolia, founder & CEO of Nextdoor, who also admits it’s a lot about confronting your fears and challenging your manhood.
Various speaker and panelists gave their final advice on entrepreneurs looking to scale their business, including:
To sum up
No you can’t press a growth button, but you can design your organisation for growth, where the key is ambition level, visualization of goals and a leadership that constantly adapts and learn as the complexity grows.