The Top 5 Challenges for successful CEO’s of Scaleups

Date: 10 November 2021
Author: Michael Boevink, Head of Sales – Scale Up Programme, FINTECH Circle

Scaling up a company isn’t easy, there are a never-ending series of unforeseen pain points on the journey to successful growth. While large corporations are said to be ‘slow movers’ – which is true, what they are really good at is “Systems”. Business is all about systems and this enables them to expand fast globally, enabling global distribution and to take a product/or service to the mainstream fast.

The journey to global supremacy is certainly full of different growth phases and challenges. This Scale-Up Report on UK Economic Growth showed interesting data on the CEO’s of scaleups:

87% believe they could scale up and grow faster “if it were easier” to develop their leaders or find effective coaching schemes

80% could grow faster if it were easier to hire talented people who had experience and had scaled up a company before

55% find it difficult to supply to large corporates and overseas markets

87% can grow faster if they could be identified as a scaleup

During the fast-paced, scaleup period CEO’s recognize they have five top challenges next to their daily operations.

Top 5 scaleup challenges

  1. Finding, recruiting and retaining the top talent
  2. Building in more “leadership” capability
  3. Win customers in domestic or overseas markets
  4. Easy access to the right combination of finance
  5. Finding larger office space (sometimes overseas)

Within the growth path, these “pain points” are not always expected and that makes for a “roller coaster” ride with loads of stress and pressure on the core management team.

There is also not unfortunately a perfect all-purpose ‘one solution for all’.

If you speak to experienced CEO’s who have already ‘been there and made it’….they even say they would never do it again – this way given a second chance.

“First mover advantage doesn’t go to the first company that launches, it goes to the first company that scales.”  Reid Hoffman, co-founder of Linkedin

Every journey for growth has its own challenges, the art is to overcome these challenges with a resilient team, act quickly and acknowledge you have a ‘pain point’ and then decide if you can solve it internally or externally.

Top tip: I would like to emphasize that roles and responsibilities are continuously changing and this means a constant change within your growing organization.
You must be adaptable and resilient.

The communication and culture within a company, your location, your people, even your type of  ‘ideal client’ in geographic regions, is all a constantly changing environment, which makes it necessary for a scaleup CEO to think fast and make (hopefully) the right decisions quickly, which can be adapted and changed during the scaleup journey.

That said, good advice is always to get the right guidance and partners on board to help you scale up far more efficiently.

This can be from the perspective of more investment, right through access to an international sales network to ensure you keep on growing and stay on track of your scaleup targets, as well as your keep running your organization.

No one said it would be easy, but although you can expect pain, it is a well worth journey.

Follow your dreams and build a sustainable, successful business.

Michael Boevink is the Head of Sales of FINTECH Circle Scaleup Programme, helping fintech startups grow internationally. He’s also a fintech expert, consultant and the Co-Author of The PAYTECH Book, published by Wiley. Connect with Michael on LinkedIn and Twitter!


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