Scaling Up: Navigating the turbulent waters of growth
Scaling Up: Navigating the turbulent waters of growth

Scaling Up: Navigating the turbulent waters of growth

Scale-up companies are well known for their ability to adapt quickly, the flexibility in navigating challenges, and the seemingly boundless capacity for growth.

However, the pandemic, the Ukrainian conflict, the Great Resignation, the current booming inflation rate, the US banking crisis, and the constantly ever-changing economic environment have added more and more pressure on scaleup businesses across the world.

From 2023 and beyond, the scaleups are bound to be vigilant and adapt in the blink of an eye to what the market dictates, while tackling the already common known pains and issues.

In this new landscape, there are major 5 areas shaking the world of scaleups as we speak, and we’re going to take a close look at each and every one of them.

Customer Acquisition vs. Retention

Acquiring new customers while retaining existing ones becomes even more critical for scaling companies. Because the economy is quite unstable, the focus should lay on developing and implementing a retention strategy.

Retaining existing customers proves to be more cost-effective than acquiring new ones, and companies that excel in customer retention tend to generate higher profits. To improve customer retention rates, you need to focus your strategy on building continuous engagement.

So, roughly it is not just about taking care of transactions and delivering solutions or products, but also about fostering strong business-to-customer relationships, supported by ongoing communication. A happy customer will recommend your business further on, and that will expand your portfolio and increase your brand power.

As the marketplace gets highly competitive, it’s important to develop and constantly update your customer retention strategy. Stay curious about what’s in your customers’ best interest and tailor your offering based on your findings.

Stay curious about what’s in your customers’ best interest and tailor your offering based on your findings. It’s all about client empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of your clients.

When you empathize with your clients, you can personalize your products and services to meet their specific needs, creating a positive and supportive environment. This fosters trust, builds rapport, and strengthens the client-provider relationship. Empathetic communication helps you understand their concerns and respond in a way that resonates with them, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

This is something that we as a company have been focused on from the very need. Every product, each service or digital experience is built around the client’s needs and expectations. Moreover, even after the delivery phase, we keep a close eye on user behavior patterns and changes, which allows us to bring added value to the table and tailor the delivered product even further. It’s a continuous work in progress.

At the beginning of the pandemic, one of our clients – Raiffeisen Bank – decided to radically accelerate the lending process for their customers and welcome us to help them build a digital platform for SMEs that would remove the burden of time-consuming loan approval processes and stressful bureaucracy. In times where the paperwork was a real fuss and circulation was restricted, Raiffeisen Bank anticipated the need for an easier, faster and smoother process for businesses that needed financial support.

Through this new digital lending platform, that reduces the time to yes and time to cash to less than 5 minutes, together with Raiffeisen Bank we paved the way for a better connection with their customers that could benefit from a simple, efficient experience showing their needs mattered and were well taken care of.

Of course, acquiring new customers still matters, but the experts advise on lowering the pace in favour of retention.

That’s why taking into account a customer’s lifetime value (CLV) is crucial, and this value can vary not only between different companies, but also within the same company or for each product.

Hence, you need to attract the right type of customers by identifying and targeting customers who are likely to have a high CLV. This way the costs associated with acquiring and retaining them are justified. Striking a balance between customer acquisition and retention increases the likelihood of acquiring customers who hold greater value compared to retaining average customers.

Do you have (any) Talent?

As companies scale up, the demand for skilled professionals increases. Finding and attracting top talent becomes crucial, particularly in competitive industries like tech. Additionally, retaining key employees and creating a strong company culture can be challenging as the organization rapidly evolves. In today’s environment this becomes even harder.

According to E&Y’s report “Tech skills transformation – Navigating the future of work in 2025 and beyond”, 81% of surveyed organizations acknowledged encountering a shortage in “power user or developer” tech skills.

Scale up companies are also faced with the imminent “quiet quitting” phenomenon which is taking many forms – from “just doing the bare minimum” to becoming too cautious and protective rather than value-focused, due to the instability of the workplace.

The age gap between people in their 20s, 30s and 40s is becoming wider when it comes to doing a simple task or collaborating on a major project. The difference in perspective, way of working and vision has a direct impact on the final product and is responsible for a lot of tense moments within teams.

So, between managing your already existent talent and finding, hiring and retaining new one, scale up companies are walking on uncharted territories and need to adapt quickly.

Responsibility is paramount

In every organization, responsibility holds a significant importance as it affects the overall functioning. However, there are instances where responsibility is not taken seriously and gets shifted from one person to another. This creates a larger loop and reduces efficiency.

The accelerated growth of a scaleup company often outpaces its ability to establish robust systems and processes, leading to challenges in maintaining accountability and responsibility across all areas of the business. And with growth comes the increased complexity in various aspects of the business, such as operations, finances, compliance, and stakeholder management.

At the same time, a scaleup is often working with resource constraints, such as limited funds, manpower, or time. These limitations can hinder their ability to invest in developing comprehensive responsible practices, implementing governance structures, or dedicating resources to compliance and ethical considerations.

No less important is the aspect of establishing an organizational culture. Why? Because typically scaleup companies are characterized by a dynamic and fast-paced environment. While this can be beneficial for innovation and growth, it may result in a lack of a well-established company culture and values. This can make it more challenging to embed responsibility into the organization’s DNA and ensure that responsible practices are consistently followed across all levels.

Your brand takes you places

A strong brand image is a strategic asset. It enables scale-ups to differentiate themselves, build trust and credibility, foster customer loyalty, attract talent, command premium pricing, facilitate market expansion, and ensure long-term growth and sustainability.

Especially in today’s competitive environment scale-ups should:

  • define and have a clear brand identity;
  • invest in consistent branding elements;
  • deliver exceptional customer experiences;
  • communicate brand values on various channels;
  • engage in effective brand storytelling;
  • collaborate with strategic partners;
  • foster employee advocacy.

Building and improving a brand image takes time and consistent effort. It requires a holistic approach that aligns all aspects of the business with the desired brand perception. But by focusing on these strategies, scale-up businesses can effectively enhance their brand image and establish a strong position in the market.

Building Strategic Partnerships

A friend in need is a friend indeed, and a strategic partner is better. Collaborating with strategic partners, such as suppliers, distributors, or complementary businesses, can fuel growth for scale-up companies. However, finding the right partners and establishing mutually beneficial relationships can be a complex process.

That’s why it’s important to take into account:

  • your expectations from a future partnership and the objectives of your partnership;
  • a deep market research to identify complementary partners with whom you can establish mutual benefits;
  • sharing resources and expertise and growing together;
  • maintaining a constant and transparent communication channel.

Strategic partnerships can offer scale-up companies access to new resources, expertise, and markets, accelerating their growth trajectory. By fostering collaborative relationships, scale-ups can leverage the strengths of their partners to enhance their offerings, expand their reach, and drive mutual success.

At QUALITANCE, we understand the challenges and aspirations that scale-up companies face on their journey to success – Clay Christensen from Harvard Business School said that “75% of new products are most likely to fail” That’s why we pride ourselves on being the ideal strategic partner for any ambitious scale-up company out there.

With our comprehensive range of services, we offer the expertise and support scale-up companies need to thrive. But we don’t stop at consultation alone. We bring a wealth of design competencies and product development expertise to the table, helping companies refine their ideas, optimize their offerings, and create compelling solutions that resonate with their target audience.

Our commitment to their success goes beyond strategy and design. We believe that building the right team is crucial for achieving the company’s goals. That’s why we offer our assistance in identifying and assembling the ideal talent pool, ensuring that scale-up companies have the right people with the right skills to drive the business forward.

By addressing challenges head-on and implementing strategic solutions, scale-up companies can position themselves for long-term success. Embracing digital transformation, fostering a strong company culture, forging strategic partnerships, and leveraging data-driven insights are among the strategies that can propel scale-ups forward.

Also, by staying focused on their goals, maintaining a customer-centric approach, and continuously seeking improvement, scale-ups can unlock their true potential and pave the way for sustained growth in the ever-evolving business landscape.