The unusual way to scale – The Daily Scaleup with Kim McAllister

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It’s a holiday Monday in Edinburgh and the Highlands today – so I’m giving you a holiday bonus. This scaleup story is a little bit different, so I like that it’s not sitting in the Friday case study slot. Gilles probably will too.

You see, Gilles Baudet is an irrepressible entrepreneur.

He freely admits he’s made some mistakes along the way (imagine telling your wife you’re £95,000 in debt and she needs to work more hours to help you cover it) but his persistence is paying off.

The Interactive Team, a customer acquisitions company, is on track to turn over £3m this year – after having a bit of a hairy time two years ago.

“We’ve just moved into Maidstone, which is our seventh city,” he told me. “It’s good old fashioned sales, my staff have an incredible work ethic and I think I believe in them more than they believe in themselves sometimes.”

His staff are the key to scaling so successfully – he’s never taken the route of applying for funding or investment.

“The foundations of our business are delivering the right customers to our clients in large consistent volumes. So, in order for us to succeed and grow, we focused on building and developing a high achieving UK sales team which brought the right money in to help us hit our goals and expand nationally,” he said. “The better my team was, the stronger my business was, the more profit we made, the further we could expand.”

Growing to 160 staff in only a few years has presented its challenges

“Our biggest challenges have been adapting our business model to move with the times and national expansion. As my sales team expanded, I found it hard to build the supporting teams and all the back office teams. There is a lot of learning to be done when big changes are made in your business!” he said.

One thing I’ve heard time and again in entrepreneurial circles is the importance of trusting your instinct. Gilles is another advocate.

“My biggest mistake in business was listening to the wrong people and ignoring my gut instinct,” he admitted.

“We took a large hit in 2015, I believed we needed to change and adapt, I was told not to, to keep everything the same and it would work out. Well it didn’t, it just kept getting worse. Before it was too late I changed my business model very quickly and pushed my business hard to overcome that year!”

If you have a scaleup story or can offer advice, drop me a line:

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


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