Blog | Strategy

Growing your business: eight key business disciplines

By Lucinda Scholtz | March 22, 2023

Company CEOs that scale-up fast generally do eight things much better than successful start-ups who get stuck in No Man’s Land. We call these disciplines, and they are observable and learnable. They constitute “The Science of Scaling-Up”.

80% of entrepreneurs who get stuck in No Man’s Land do so for more or less the same fundamental reason. The 20% that make it out, get out by doing more or less the same things.

You want to be a 10X-e

Make no mistake: what separates winners and losers usually has little to do with intelligence or energy. Like most great games, once you hit the premier league, strength is not enough and it becomes far more about the subtleties of technique. Technique is something 10X-entrepreneurs (10X-e’s) have. 10X-e’s successfully grow to at least 10X the size of your average lifestyle business and they all do it roughly the same way.

10X-e’s know that you don’t win the premier league the way you won the college circuit. Some things stay the same (eat right, stay fit, beat the other guy), but others move up to a whole new level, changing the game entirely. There is a degree of strategy, organisation, and standards of precision in execution that just weren’t necessary in college. The talent and speed that worked then still count; they’re simply no longer adequate. The principles and practices that got you here won’t get you to where you want to go. A fundamental shift happens when you move from seven employees to 12, then to 20, 50, 100 and more. The challenges of leadership change as do the tools. Most entrepreneurs fail to graduate to the premier league because they just don’t know they need to, and then they don’t know how to.

The eight business disciplines

Leadership technology (principles and tools) needed to scale a business is not rocket science. It is simply eight basic disciplines without which you’ll find yourself stuck in No Man’s Land. The difference between 10X-e’s and other entrepreneurs is not whether they know or understand these disciplines, but whether they apply them efficiently. 10X-e’s militantly sustain them in the hostile reality of scale-up life that resists these disciplines at every step.

Here is a short video that summarises the eight disciplines and their key actions:

  1. Strategy
    Follow the path-to-scale and design a scalable core business model in an   attractive market. 
  2. Execution
    Build culture and management systems to execute.
  3. People
    Recruit, retain and fully utilise remarkable people who thrive. 
  4. Board & Advisors
    Foster an executive team, board, advisors, and ‘smart-money’ investors.
  5. Sales & Marketing
    Develop scalable sales and marketing functions to predictably generate quality leads and repeat sales from sweet spot customers.
  6. Operations
    Create operational processes and systems that systematically deliver delightful customer experiences.
  7. Finance
    Maintain future proof financial management practices and make financially informed decisions.
  8. Capital
    Be attractive to funders and build strong relationships with good investment partners.