Apr 3, 2020

What is a growth lab and how does it help me scale my business?

Starting a business is hard work. Scaling a business on the other hand, is really hard work. Statistics show that only 3 out of 10 startups are in business after five years. Why is it so few that survive their own business model, and what does it really take to scale a business?

Many startups would agree that the answer is capital. It would probably help solve many short term pains. However, working with many different scaleups in different markets, we see that creating a strategic plan for your business growth is way more important than just capital alone. Without a plan, you won’t spend your capital the right way. There are many strategic solutions out there that can help you structure your growth plan, and they all go under a variety of fancy names. At Epicenter, we name them Scaleup labs. Let us talk you through an example of a scaleup lab to show you what it is all about, and how it can help you scale your business.

“Our key takeaway as a professional business was to shift our business mindset from a startup mindset to a scaleup mindset. “

Andreas Bengtsson, SocialView

SocialView is a social media agency, founded by CEO and Co-Founder Andreas Bengtsson back in 2014. In 2019 the company was nominated for the Swedish ‘DI Gasell’ award for being one of Sweden’s fastest growing companies in 2019. Among other achievements, they have been able to double their revenue over the past four years. In 2017, SocialView took part in a scaleup lab at Epicenter Stockholm, with our partners Result.

– Going through the scaleup lab helped us look at our company more outside in. We were able to rebuild our internal business culture and increased our own ambitions, Bengtsson says in an interview with Epicenter. He also mentions that a very important aspect has been to meet other companies in the same phase, where building a professional organization and growing teams, customers and partners without pains were key targets for all. – Being able to learn from each other, being inspired to think in a new direction, stretching our goals and reaching new barriers were really important in that phase. Also having the professional support from serial entrepreneurs at Result, that had a 100 percent external view on our company, strategy and structure were highly valuable. They made us realize that we had to move our business mindset from a startup mindset to a scaleup mindset.

Bengtsson would highly recommend other entrepreneurs like himself, to find similar opportunities. – Yes, we would recommend companies looking to scale their business to join a scaleup lab. It has helped us increase our ambitions, work more strategically towards our goals and find ways to reach those goals through professional tools, a network of professional partners and becoming a more professional partner for our clients.

Find a partner that is independent of your board and shareholders!

We would like to highlight three important factors for scaling your company the right way, fast enough and with quality.

  • Measure what you do! Always ensure to have measurables in place before you start, to see if the program creates the value you are looking for. You will never find a program that ticks off all your ambitions. If it does, you should increase your ambitions the next time! Having ambitions for a scaling program will help you with strategic alignment with your employees, shareholders, board and partners throughout the entire process. 
  • Work with externals! Use professionals that are not shareholders in your company, or work for you. That way you ensure to get the honest truth in all your feedback and advice during the entire process. 
  • Increase your network! During a program as such, you will meet a lot of valuable people. Some might be able to help you during the program, some might not. Make sure to build your professional network and help others along the way. That way, you come out of the program not only with the actual results, but also with a stronger partner network for you to work with in your next phase.

Some scaleups might question why you should invest in getting external help, when you have hired a lot of internal talent as well as acquired a lot of investors with experience and a fantastic business network? 

In our opinion, the question answers itself through our mentioned factors. Work with externals, that don’t have a personal stake in your company. Make sure to measure the process, to increase and improve your understanding of the created value. And build an even stronger network, with people you don’t already have access to. 

If you want to hear more about our Scaleup labs, reach out to us with an email and we will arrange a talk on how we can help you with your business growth and innovation. 

Interested in doing a Scaleup lab? Fill in your information below and we’ll get back to you shortly!

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