How to Scale a Startup

At GrowthX, we’ve helped thousands of entrepreneurs go to market and achieve scale. We’re not just investors or startup mentors giving them anecdotal tips on how to do this. Our team operates in the trenches with each of our founders and helps with the strategic and tactical work of go to market, like writing emails campaigns, finding leads on Linkedin and much more.

When we first meet with startups, we ask them, “what are the revenue goals for your startup right now?” And the majority of founders respond that their goal is to “scale.” But, very few achieve it. Why?

Because “scale” is not a tangible goal or outcome. There isn’t a light that turns on when you have achieved scale. As we’ve talked about in other blog posts, in order for your go-to-market strategy to be successful, you need to define exactly what scale looks like and the exact sequence of steps it will take for you to get there.

Don’t Amplify Noise.

Undertaking haphazard activities without any intent – like sending a 500-person email campaign without first knowing your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), or immediately hiring a salesperson in the hopes that they will know how to bring in customers faster than a founder can – leads to amplifying noise.

Doing more activity and just being louder without a tangible goal or proven bottom-of-funnel success does not lead to scale and quickly wastes away runway. The strategy of amplifying noise and activities is akin to throwing mud at the wall and hoping that some will stick. 

Do Duplicate Success

So, where does scale actually come from? It comes from the duplication of success. 

Let’s pause for a second and define success. Success = revenue. It’s that simple. If you’re looking at anything else besides revenue, you’re looking at the wrong metric. The only reason you would launch an email campaign, hire a new salesperson, or spend money on ads is to acquire revenue, not to improve open rates, see more time spent on your site or fill your funnel with leads. 

And not just any revenue. The key to achieving scale is acquiring revenue from the customer that you set out to get it from through an intentional process you designed to acquire it. Simply put, can you acquire the customers you want, the way you want? To do this, start with a very small number of customers (for most entrepreneurs, it’s usually two to three).

Once you have achieved intentional, revenue success with one or two of the right customers in the way you intended, your job is now to see if you can duplicate that process.

Can you acquire similar customers the same way (or even faster!) using the same steps? You’re still aiming for a small number of new customers, like 5-10, depending on the industry. 

The purpose of this step is to test your process. Once you’re able to do this, you’ll have a framework that works at a small scale and can take a stranger at the top of the funnel and turn them into a customer at the bottom of the funnel. You know the funnel works as defined by closed-won revenue, so the process to scale will be just to see if it works with more people. 

Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast 

Scale is the natural by-product of being able to predictably and repeatedly acquire revenue. 

If you want to reach scale, you must first build a process that works. Once you have that, you have everything you need to keep growing.

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