StartUpAmsterdam’s recent article “How to know if you’re ready to scale up” explores the factors that start-ups need to consider before really embarking on their scaling journeys. Our own Nina Kotterik, product owner, contributed with some insights from our methodology, The Art of Scaling. Here are some of the success factors that ventures need to master to scale:

Scale-up DNA

The first question you need to ask yourself is: Can we scale? Think about if your venture has the scale-up DNA: Are you serving a great market? Is your business model fit for scale? What is your competitive edge: How difficult is it to copy what we have built? Once those elements are in place, you can build on that and start scaling.

Ambition to scale

Another question to ask yourself is ‘Do we really want to scale?’ The reason is that if you decide you want to scale your company, you will need to let go of the startup you have created, which will often require attracting external capital, new team members and big adventures like internationalization and capital investments. Scaling will require a transformation, which will get you into a real rollercoaster. Scaling up requires courage.

The most common pitfall is for companies to keep doing what they have been doing and with that creating ‘a bigger startup’. During the startup phase you may be working as a tribe, trying to find product market fit. Once you have found market fit, all kinds of options become possible: Where do you want to take your company? What type of organisation do you want to be? If you do not take this transformation seriously, your scaling journey will probably not be successful. Dare to take the time to work on your company.

Learning mindset

The one thing we see in both our research and scaling programs is the immense value of the leadership team having a learning mindset. Challenges will come your way, but how to deal with those challenges will make all the difference. Have a learning attitude to experiment, self-reflect, internalise and improve in order to scale as a venture and to grow as a leader.

Do you want to learn more about the Art of Scaling?
Read the report

The article includes further input from other founders and entrepreneurs:

  • Barış Korkmaz, from digital marketing company Earnado
  • Francesca Miazzo, from solar-powered delivery service FOODLOGICA
  • Florent Coudyser, from weGrow International, a consultancy that supports startups

It touches upon factors like operations, product-market fit, finance and team. Read the full article: How do you know if you’re ready to scale up?

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