Asif Iqbal, Vice President, Product Management and Software Engineering at Sunrun, shared his thoughts on “Scaling High-Growth Organizations” at a webinar hosted by the Institute of Product Leadership on 9th May, 2017.
Asif, a veteran product management and engineering leader, who, believe it or not, started his entrepreneurial journey at the age of 11 definitely knows his stuff! As part of Sunrun’s leadership team, Asif has helped scale the company through hyper growth. He joined the company in 2013 when it employed around 250 people -- it is a company that is 3000+ strong now !
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At the outset, Asif pointed out that disruption comes before scaling. It has been seen that disruptive companies such as Uber and AirBnb create new markets that incumbent companies just do not see! They bring a low cost alternative to the market and package a value proposition in a business model that is different from the traditional business model.
Asif opined that scaling the business means scaling innovation and staying rooted in the entrepreneurial spirit and fast decision-making that characterise a start-up. As a company grows, it is vital that everyone works in unison towards a common goal.
Asif listed out the following tips to map out a successful scaling strategy:
● True Customer Obsession – The ability to truly understand and know your customer is very, very important! Focus on customer delight can help make your business. It is also vital to know which customer segment you do not want to serve.
● Fast Decision Making - Fast decision-making is common in startups. That same spirit should continue in scale-up mode too even when 100% of the information required for decision-making is not available.
● Mission Focus – Run the organization in a way that it stays true to the mission statement of your company.
● Strong Culture – Building the foundations of a strong culture in the early phases of growth is critical while trying to grow the company.
● Right Talent – You get to attract the right people at the beginning of starting a venture since you can trust that the people care for the mission of the company and join with the right motivations. When scaling, the people who are hired should buy into your mission and keep the passion alive while bringing their own value.
● Communicate, Communicate, Communicate! - As you scale, it should not be assumed that everyone has the same information on goals , strategy , problems and market insights of your company. Hence, it is vital to get everyone on the same page with constant communication.
● Focus on data – You should measure each key data point in the business and use insights to drive decisions and outcomes.
● Platform – A great software platform can help you to scale up easily.
● Process –The role of a good process is to simplify. Put in place mechanisms to reproduce success so that you can free your mind to think of creative ideas.
Keeping these tips in mind as you scale your business can help you forge into the future with confidence!