Three top tips to successfully scale your business
Mark Sanders, Executive Chairman, Scale Space, shares his top three tips for scaling business.
Develop an engaged and focussed team
Having a strong team around you is critical in the scaling phase. The FinTech companies that we have helped successfully scale have all recognised the need to invest in talent, while nurturing an environment where people are engaged, motivated and empowered to contribute. I believe balancing the need for some hierarchy, while adopting an agile methodology and encouraging role boundaries to be fluid, can have a really positive impact.
I always urge leaders to open their minds to hiring people smarter than them, as well as providing a framework to enable development. You want to breed a culture that taps into people’s talent, intellect and ability.
Leading TDX Group through the scale phase taught me that holding onto the culture and the values that you had when you were 20 people when you grow to be in the 100s, actually takes quite a lot of thinking about. As you grow, never stop asking yourself if the operating model is still effective.
This is also why it’s so important to invest in a team of people who value and care about the way the business works in the same way you do. In times of high change, you need an active team who will input into evolving the way you operate and can flex successfully around moving priorities.
Seek advice: you don’t have all the answers
From personal experience, I firmly believe in the importance of recognising and making time to seek advice from peers, mentors and advisors. It is really easy in a fast-growing business, where there is always something else that needs doing, to just focus on the task or to think you have all the answers.
What I have learned is there are people out there who have got the experience of doing what you are doing. Making time to connect with them for support or advice would have undoubtedly helped me to avoid some of the mistakes I made.
Enabling these connections to happen more easily is one of the main reasons we have created Scale Space. We appreciate the impact an eco-system of talent, knowledge and expertise all engineered to support growth can have during the scaling phase. Looking back, the opportunity to place my business in an environment that connects me with venture building experts, corporate innovation and top universities would have been very attractive when we were growing TDX Group.
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My 3 Ps: Purpose, product and profitability
We’ve heard a lot in the last decade on the importance of purpose. But there truly is a real benefit to having clarity and purpose when developing a business. Companies who know what they’re about and have clearly defined a product that genuinely solves a customer’s problem or creates value for customers is a huge driver of success.
And then something I think some scaling companies overlook, is being able to deliver repeatedly and profitably. I meet FinTech businesses that believe once they’re big enough they will become profitable. And that can often be true, but if you haven’t actually figured out the economics of your product and you can’t demonstrate your pathway to profit, it is dangerous to assume that scale is going to get you there. You need to understand your economics.
So my advice, find a way of memorably describing why your business exists, that your people find motivating – this is often best grounded in the problems you’re solving, rather than the product features. And make sure you properly take the time to understand how your business will perform financially over time as it grows.
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.