The UK government is adjusting the nation’s growth strategy towards scale-ups1. Transitioning into a high-growth company is not only desirable for a business owner, but scale-ups have proven to be the primary driver for economic growth and job creation.2
It is our mission to help businesses become more profitable and commercially savvy by supporting their people to Sell at a Higher Level. While playing an active role in our clients’ transition into high-growth companies, we have been going on the scale-up journey ourselves.
Learnings from our scale-up journey
Starting out as a micro business almost 6 years ago, durhamlane has experienced double digit growth, year-on-year. 2016/17 has seen us accelerate further with our headcount increasing from 21 to 30 staff during the first six months of the financial year.
As a professional services business our key to success is possibly
different to many of the technology and software clients that we serve, so here are a few thoughts as to what is helping us to jump and spring like a Gazelle!
Watch Richard talking about durhamlane's scale-up journey at Entrepreneurs' Forum Event, November 2016 >>
As we scale it has become more and more important we have the right people in the business – committed talent. It’s not just that people are your greatest asset, it’s the right people. From the leadership team to the people who are just starting out on their journey with durhamlane, we hire for ‘fit’ first, skills and experience second.
We are proud not only of the onboarding process we have developed but the continuous learning methodology we live and work by.
If we didn’t have the people or the processes to onboard new staff members quickly and professionally then I don’t think we’d be able to scale like we are.
We take personal development and coaching very serious and have adopted the 70/20/10 model. We do our best to practice what we preach (we are a training company after all!). We stick to this no matter how busy we are (easy to write, harder to do). Our expansion, in turn, opens up opportunity for many within our business. Agility blended with ambition. There is nothing more rewarding than fast tracking people into roles and responsibilities they could not imagine having previously.
The environment you create within your business is hugely important, something we call ‘One Team, One Approach’. I am not going to share the secret sauce in this article, however, I believe the environment/culture we have created plays a key role in creating the durhamlane difference. We try to unlock an entrepreneurial mindset in every employee. In order to do this we surround ourselves with other entrepreneurs – customers, mentors and board members.
Learning from others and being open to external ideas is vital to scale-up businesses. We have built an amazing team and don’t underestimate the difference exceptional board members make in challenging us to think strategically, then execute with agility.
It is imperative you have a strong product or service in order to reap the benefits of a brilliant team. I heard someone say recently that a strong team can make more of a success of an average product than an average team can of a great product. I get this.
Before starting to push a business idea for growth the Product/Market Fit must be established. At early stage, we test all of our services in the market and create solutions that resonate with our customers.
if you're not getting better, you're getting worse. -Pat Riley
Of course nothing stays the same. In the words of Pat Riley, the famous US basketball coach, “if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse”. In times (particularly) of rapid change, if you are not improving your game then others will be catching you up.
As we began to acquire larger clients, we have had to continuously reassess our Market Fit and adapt to changing needs. We have always appreciated the value in winning contracts that stretch us and push us to think differently and deliver faster.
Finally, one of durhamlane’s three core values is Profitable Enjoyment. Lee and I have always believed that we need to strive to ensure we have fun whilst creating commercial value. The trade off is massive. When we are enjoying ourselves we work harder, we learn faster and our loyalty and passion for on-going success increases.
Have you made similar experiences? I would love to hear how you enable change for growth in your company.