Scale up pitfalls

Make sure you don’t make these mistakes

This list of scale up pitfalls will warn you about common mistakes in the scale up process. Out of all the organizations trying to scale, only a handful actually complete the road to scale up.

Read this list of scale up pitfalls carefully to make sure you have a scale up journey that is as smooth as possible.

Now that you know all the don’ts to scaling up, read all about the do’s in our scale up checklist. If you are looking for a more in-depth article, check out our scale up roadmap. Additionally, our scale up expert is available for all your questions and inquiries.

“Good things do not come easy. The road is lined with pitfalls.”

Desi Arnaz

Actor & Musician

10 scale up pitfalls

Losing focus is one of the most common scale up pitfalls. When you refrain from choosing a clear path, direction, or strategy, you will get lost on the scale up journey. You have to remember that you cannot be everything to everyone at once. Not making clear choices will leave you stuck between several market segments, target audiences, and strategic directions, avoid this!

It may seem obvious, but this is a big reason why many startups fail to reach scaleup status. The reality of the scale up journey is that it takes a lot of resources. When you lack essential resources that set the scale up process in motion, you will never make it past the first few obstacles. Before executing your strategy, map out how you will approach funding and what resources you will need.
This point hearkens back to point 1. Not having a clear strategy is a massive pitfall you must avoid. Your strategy might not be coherent enough due to it being outdated, because the direction is not clear, or as a consequence of a lack of knowledge. Whatever the reason might be, look back at your strategy throughout the scale up process to ensure you are on the right track.

The goal of scaling up is to become a market leader and serve more potential customers in new potential markets. You miss the mark when you don’t know who these potential customers and segments are. Additionally, when you lack information about the right customers and markets, you run into a similar issue where you are unsure what strategic choices you should make based on your target’s preferences.

Scaling up requires strong leadership. Without proper delegation, you might get lost in all the work. A robust organizational structure should be in place that cascades necessary information to the intended person. Everyone just running around and not communicating with each other is a massive scale up pitfall.
Growing a company can feel like seeing a child grow up. At a certain point, you cannot control everything yourself anymore. You have to be able to trust other people to do the right thing for your baby. You should get to a point where you feel comfortable letting go of some activities.
Knowledge is power, and without it, you are destined to fall behind. Progress tracking is essential in strategy execution. So when executing your scaling strategy, not tracking progress is a big pitfall. Progress tracking offers peace of mind throughout the scale up process and can help you spot potential problems early on.
Scaling up means reaching a new level with your organization. However, not all your employees may be ready or qualified for that level. Assess your team and make sure they are prepared to take the next step. Make changes where you have to and look out for new talent.

Are the products in your portfolio ready to scale? A mistake that can be made when scaling up is thinking that you can just scale all your products. However, this may not always be the case. Your product portfolio has to be ready to scale. There should be room for new additions that serve a meaningful purpose while also being ready for mass production and distribution.

An organization should be a well-oiled machine. With scaling up comes a lot of new and extra work. Poor teamwork is a recipe for disaster and is our final scale up pitfall. Teamwork is the fundament for your future as a successful scale up company.

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