The A-Z of Disruption: G is for Growth

Growing a disruptive business is a challenge for many entrepreneurs, as they strive to maintain their identity while taking on new staff and customers.

For the latest A-Z of disruption article, we asked Gareth Marlow of EQ Systems; What are the key challenges facing disruptive entrepreneurs as they grow their companies? An engineer and former chief operating officer at Red Gate Software in Cambridge, Gareth now works as a consultant and business coach, helping business leaders and their teams reach their full potential. He is also a Tech Corridor ambassador.

The A-Z of disruption brings together thought leaders from East Anglia to answer questions on topics relevant to disruptive companies. It accompanies The Disruptors, our new video series showcasing interesting businesses from around the region.

Find out more about The Disruptors here.

"Relentless change is inevitable"

Gareth Marlow, IQ Systems

Gareth says: “Many challenges stem from the growing complexity of scale-ups. Last year, you were thirty people in a single office, with a single, successful product, and the founding team still managed all of the employees. This year, you’re sixty people, and have either recruited or promoted existing staff to run the key parts of your business.

“Next year, you’re one hundred people across several offices. You have a new management layer of team leaders, and are contemplating your first acquisition. Your second product isn’t taking off as quickly as you’d hoped and your first product’s growth is starting to slow. Your initial investors are keen for you to raise more money, and bring in new investors. Most people working in your company haven’t experienced this kind of growth before.

“Where do you focus? The product? Your market? Your investors? Your team? One hundred employees, your investors, and increasingly, your customers are looking to you for answers.

“The more successful entrepreneurs recognise that this relentless change is an inevitable consequence of growing, and prepare for it – putting strong programmes in place to support leadership learning and talent development. They also build strong, customer-centric cultures which continuously learn and improve, and are responsive to market need and able to spot new opportunities quickly. This then frees them up to concentrate on doing what they do best – pushing their organisation into the future.”