How do I scale? – The Daily ScaleUp with Kim McAllister

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What if I told you there were six ways to scale up your business?

· collaborate
· diversify
· export
· innovate
· optimize
· use technology

These aren’t, unfortunately, my own pearls of wisdom. Rather they are the findings of Stuart Broadley, the Chief Executive of the Energy Industries Council (EIC).

He wanted to know how his members were dealing with the drop in oil prices – so he asked them. The result was one of the best industry reports I’ve read in a long time – Survive and Thrive.

In it, he and his team identify the strategies used by 26 members to grow and prosper. If these strategies work during a downturn (and the oil industry is going through a particularly challenging time right now) then imagine what effect these could have in buoyant industries.

“I’m interested in innovation, risk and access to skills,” he told me. When times are tough, people naturally batten down the hatches, but in his view, this is when companies need a helping hand to take more risk.

“Export can be the hardest thing to do, bringing a lot of risk and taking too long to convert action into profits, but we want to find a way for companies to recover faster,” he said. “One restriction to faster scale up is a lack of working capital and extra funding could really help. We also need to help SMEs quickly gain scale up skills – through assessment, training and perhaps accreditation.”

Another of his big ideas is innovation matchmaking.

“The energy industry needs a dating service for innovation,” he said. “Today, it feels more like operators stumble across the innovation – there’s nowhere to go to find what you need, and . how do innovative SMEs find their next customers?”

The EIC is working on a register of British innovators, as well as some other very interesting projects. I might lift the lid in a future column…

Next time – would going on a course help your company? One partnership is offering intriguing opportunities…

Kim McAllister is a Journalist & Communications Consultant and director of Impact Online

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