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Saying No to Scale, Invest Chile & Catalysts for Change

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August 21, 2018

Have You Weighed In Yet? 

With college campuses filling up and grade school back in session, summer as we know it, is officially over. (Though, our weather won’t get the hint until October).

Amidst the thousands of “first day back” pictures weighing down our social media channels, beware the scale. (And, not because of the freshman 15 that seems to creep back every fall).

We’re talking about scale in the business sense.  But, honestly, do really know what it means to scale? This week, we’re about to find out. . . .

If your organization is ready for world domination, it’s probably time  for a check up. What’s your plan for scale? Not just any plan, but a detailed, measurable, and outcome-driven strategy for the organizational structure, finance, marketing, customer acquisition, external communications and feedback loops– and there’s more to it.

Part and parcel to scaling is the added pressure on human resources, team management and cultural integrity, capital resilience and cash flow, plus the time and attention of senior leadership and the CEO.  Under such circumstances, your advance planning serves as an indispensable release valve that minimize the damage likely to occur from scaling far and  fast. 

Scaling is about more than numbers. It’s more than revenue, job creation, and other traditional economic development measures of individual business progress.  Buzz Lightyear’s cogent advice rings true: what market opportunities lay beyond  the horizon?  Whether it’s a new demographic, a new product use, or a new geographic target, (Bora Bora, anyone?), once you identify the best market development opportunity, go execute.

A foundational question for scale is: are we ready?As Adam Grant observes, “first movers, except in industries where there’s a network effect or patents, have a disadvantage because you spend your time creating the market and getting people used to this idea and then someone else can swoop in and make it better. But you don’t want to be the last mover because then it’s too late. . . I don’t want people to rush and be afraid that if someone beats them out of the gate they’re screwed.”

The first-to-market FOMO infrequently results in actual setbacks. In fact, timing is everything.  Bridging profit with purpose is a helpful barometer for measuring the right time to launch. Not convinced? Just ask Enron..


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