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How to scale up your UK startup

These are some of the key tips to growing your startup to scale up stage, as advised by experts.

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The UK's startups and scaleups continue to grow despite fears over Brexit, raising more money in the first half of 2019 than in any other equivalent period, according to research from Beauhurst.

The database of high-growth companies in the UK estimates that £4.5 billion was invested in 889 startups and scaleups in the first half of this year alone.

Every startup founder desires to see what began as a small business plan scaling to one day become a global business venture – but it isn't an easy process. The challenges tend to centre around funding, hiring the right talent and marketing, to name but a few.

In order to scale up successfully, it is important to have an up-to-date business strategy in place. Here's our tips on how to create one, and further advice from legal, finance, marketing and business experts on scaling up your startup business.

Read next: How to scale up your startup, according to Blippar cofounder Jess Butcher

  • business people meeting with technology picture id650191316 1 Go after the best investors
  • going over every detail picture id519434666 Restructure roles
  • modern business office with multiethnic team picture id1042569776 2 Manage culture
  • young people work in modern office picture id881484382 5 iStock
  • past present and future time progress concept on blackboard or picture id687041946 Have a clear vision
  • developer startup business presentation in their office picture id520135414 Be open to change
  • two people working on computer picture id870467850 Build an integrated marketing strategy
  • casual catering discussion meeting colleagues concept picture id597940046 Use networking to your advantage
  • outsourcing concept picture id664149120 Create a balance between automating and outsourcing
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Go after the best investors

Investment is a critical way to scale your startup. Founders regularly start with minimal funding so in order to scale up, outside investment is often needed.

This is why you should seek the right investors, those that have the same interests as yourself to make it easier to find what you are after. It is a two-way process that determines the startup choosing the investor and the investor choosing the startup.

Read next: How do startups get investors: tips from founders

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Next Prev business people meeting with technology picture id650191316 1

Investment is a critical way to scale your startup. Founders regularly start with minimal funding so in order to scale up, outside investment is often needed.

This is why you should seek the right investors, those that have the same interests as yourself to make it easier to find what you are after. It is a two-way process that determines the startup choosing the investor and the investor choosing the startup.

Read next: How do startups get investors: tips from founders

Restructure roles

Startups often launch with no more than two to three cofounders. The few people there at the start tend to take on multiple tasks.

However, once a startup starts to scale up it is worth considering dividing out tasks that may have previously been handled by one person. This process of moving from generalists to specialists can benefit the organisation by prioritising tasks to match skills.

Manage culture

Inevitably, every startup is likely to go through a culture change as it grows. This can be difficult for entrepreneurs and founders to manage but it is important to keep track of these culture changes.

It is impossible to handle everything yourself, so with that you will need to consider distributing tasks and learning new skills in order to balance the workload.

This will mean that managing other tasks around the business will be more difficult and you may need to appoint professional managers to focus on specific areas such as project, accounts or social media.

Embrace diversity

Embracing a diversity of talent and ideas can help your startup scale beyond its initial market and business plan.

Startups sometimes stick to a single customer base due to its familiarity, but this limits room for growth. A lack of organisational diversity can also limit innovation and can cause cultural issues that are difficult to unpick as your business grows, so it is best to think about diversity and inclusion early in your growth journey.

Read next: How to avoid diversity debt and scale inclusion with your startup

Have a clear vision

One thing to keep in mind when making decisions is how they will affect the future of the business – especially during the early stages of development.

When scaling up, it is easy to lose track of your central goal during the many changes and developments being made but maintaining a clear vision and a fixed north star is vital for founders as they look to grow the business they aimed to build.

Be open to change

It is important to understand that there are bound to be changes when your startup begins to scale up. Once you have a vision in mind, it is vital that you are open to make room for innovation and transformation.

Whether certain skills will no longer be required, or new skills are needed to meet new criteria – there is always likely to be a redesign when scaling up, and never be afraid to pivot if it's the natural direction of travel. Just look at the founders of Slack to see how this can be a recipe for success.

Build an integrated marketing strategy

An integrated marketing strategy is important from the earliest stages of a startup, just as it is when planning to scale up.

This focuses on consistency and a multi-dimensional brand experience for customers across a number of platforms, but social media and digital marketing have increasingly taken up a central role in this area.

Use networking to your advantage

Networking is critical if you want your business to get name recognition. 

However, it's one thing to just attend events but it’s another to network effectively. This can be done easily when surrounded by the right people. Get connected with the big names in the industry, meet investors and use the power of networking to your advantage.

Create a balance between automating and outsourcing

Automation helps to control costs, but where automation may not be possible it may be better to outsource. As a startup, cutting costs is likely to be amongst your core objectives, although when scaling up you will need to reach out to experts to ensure you keep costs low without damaging quality.

Tasks that can remain automated may include marketing, payroll and billing, training and so on and there are also a number of automation tools available for small businesses to grow faster.

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