From Start-Up To Scale-Up: 5 Growth Strategies For Tech Businesses

Getting your tech start-up off the ground is no mean feat. Yet making the leap from fast-growing start-up to well-established scale-up is an even bigger challenge.  

We’ve been working with tech start-ups and scale-ups for more than 15 years, and in our experience, scaling up your business is a delicate balancing act between generating growth and avoiding risk. 

In other words,  you need to balance building your foundations and means of delivery against growing client and customer needs, while also ensuring that those foundations remain strong.

Yet while managing this balancing act isn’t easy, it is possible if you devote enough time and effort to processes, lead gen, brand, marketing and sales through strategies and ways of working that are interconnected and symbiotic.

Here are five things to consider when scaling up:

1. Point your teams to the right leads.

As you grow your customer base – with both new and existing clients – you need to be certain you have the right focus on who you’re talking to as well as why, and understand what it would mean to the business if that sale converts.  

Are you addressing every lead with the same energy? Are sales people armed with the right firmographics and demographics, needs, wants and pivot points that will help them to convert? Have you simplified your proposition into a single sentence for a quick pitch? Have you worked through and documented your buying and onboarding process to be able to accurately forecast cashflow, incurred costs and staffing? 

CX mapping, persona building, lead gen and brand are all intrinsic to the commerciality of your business and the running of your operations.  So think carefully about what types of business have the greatest impact on turnover. What were the touchpoints, who were the decision makers, and what were the barriers and blockers? 

The simple act of documenting this gives you a framework to pivot from, honing your messaging, your offering, your sales pitches and your new biz pipeline. 

2. Say ‘yes’ today to clients you’ll still want tomorrow. 

As you’re looking at the kind of clients you’re bringing in, it’s easy to focus on the numbers, but lose sight of what each new client could mean for your future business. 

Will taking on this client potentially put off other clients from doing business with you? Are they ethically aligned with your values, or might they stop you from growing in the right way? 

That’s why working on your brand mission, vision, values and narrative are integral to your business strategy.  

They should lay out the ambition for your company and, therefore, define who you do and don’t want to work with.  

3. Make diversification make sense. 

It’s crucial to make sure that your business grows intelligently, having a fixed role in the lives of your customers and clients.  

What do we mean by that? Defining the brand role and experience principles can unlock new product development ideas and ways to improve the experience your clients have with you.

For example, if your business decides that its role is to democratise cryptocurrency investments, you might have experience principles around being accessible, simple and responsive. But how does that translate into diversification of products?  

Not only would you need to ensure that your investment platform works on multiple devices, you could also start creating side products around financial education and translating what different types of investment tactics mean for those not ‘in the know.’

It could also mean selecting partners offering benefits such as subscriptions to business or finance media titles at a reduced cost.  

This intelligent diversification then forms the basis of your content strategy: building out how you market yourself to different channels, using your brand role to help set the themes and type of content you promote, enabling your customers to get more value from your services. 

4. Manage cultural change. 

Change is good. But it can still be unsettling for business founders. They can find it difficult to let go and can, unintentionally, become bottlenecks for the flow of business. There are only so many things you can attend to personally each day, and there are some skills that not every entrepreneur may have. 

That’s when Employee Value Propositions can help; enabling you to set standards and expectations that align with your business objectives. Setting out the culture and value you can offer in terms of benefits, experience and challenges will also help you to find the right talent and filter out inappropriate candidates earlier.  

5. Invest where it matters 

As the old saying goes: dress for the job you want, not the job you have. That isn’t just good career advice, it also applies to your brand.  

That means putting value into the things that will attract the right type of customers. Investment in creativity and production value can help you stand out from the 30+ LinkedIn ads your competitors are pushing out every day.  

What’s more, you should understand your media spend and how it tracks back to your pipeline. This can help you maximise your budgets by spotting opportunities that create bigger efficiencies. e.g. Is LinkedIn more efficient than Instagram? Should you shift your PPC budget from Google to Xing or Bing? 

Unless you understand the data, know how to interrogate it, and act on the insights produced, you’ll be operating blind. Monitoring and analysing the data will help you make much better strategic decisions. 

And that’s easier when you have an experienced creative marketing agency working alongside you, ensuring that you get the right foundations in place to help secure and maintain growth.  

Are you ready to roll with the changes ahead?

Whatever the challenges to come, they’re easier to face when you have an agency partner that’s experienced in working with tech start-ups and scale-ups. Boulder has been doing so with clients in the frontier industries of finance, tech, life sciences and sustainability for more than 15 years.

Like them, we know that change is the only constant, as the pace of technical change continues to accelerate. We’re here for the change makers like them, and we’re always happy to talk to change makers like you, as you work to scale up your business for what comes next, whatever that may be.

Contact Rachel Cahill now at [email protected] to learn more about how we can help your business grow in the years to come.

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