3 Misconceptions About Scaling Up Your Organization

Posted by The Align Team on Apr 10, 2017 8:42:00 AM

Scaling up your company can seem daunting. Business experts, trusted family and friends, and anyone else within a five-foot radius will provide advice, insights, and other nuggets of wisdom. But often, this well-intentioned advice isn't rooted in fact, and it can end up negatively affecting your company. Learn how to avoid 3 common misconceptions about what it takes to scale up effectively. 

3 Common Misconceptions About Scaling Up Your Business


1) Explosive Growth is Best

Your organization is doing well. You’re ready to grow, grow, grow!

You’ve seen tech companies become wildly successful overnight, and you’re ready to see similar results.

Quick spurts of growth are always the best, right?

Not quite. A common misconception about scaling up is that growth needs to be as explosive as possible, even if it’s sporadic.

In reality, consistent revenue and growth is the key that really helps companies see business predictability and maintain success as they scale up in size.

Your organization needs processes that are replicable and a steady influx of cash to scale up effectively. While quick growth spurts can be helpful—hey, you’re not in the red!—consistent growth will help your organization meet your business goals year after year.

2) Leadership is Always Right

 Just because a strategy worked in the past, doesn’t mean it will work again.

Often, a company’s leadership team is credited as the reason behind its success.


Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos- in many cases, founders become icons for their businesses, and it can be easy to believe that their specific leadership skills or expertise led their organizations to success.

After all, how founders lead and motivate their employees is hugely important to help a company scale up. While people often celebrate companies for their exemplary leaders or visionary CEOs, the people in charge should not be given god-like status.

Leaders definitely make mistakes, and the specific way they lead isn’t always best for their organization as a whole.

A recent Harvard Business Review article by business coach and educator Jeffrey W. Hull suggests that the leadership styles which work best during a company’s start-up stage can actually negatively affect an organization’s chances of scaling up. Why? Because as your organization grows in size, there are different challenges and obstacles to contend with.

While a visionary leader can really boost a company from the ground-up, Hull explains that you may need to adapt your leadership style when you’re no longer a three-person company.


3) Strategy Should Be Immobile

When founders first begin start-ups, they often have a very specific idea or purpose in mind. While it’s great to stick to your guns, companies that want to scale up effectively will need to be ready to adapt.

One major misconception is that your organization needs to be 100% focused around your current strategy in order to see progress.

While your company’s core ideologies will likely remain consistent across different growth stages, your goals, plans, strategies and more will need to be flexible to change. While you should be focused, you should also be open to switching things up or trying new strategies.


As much as strategic planning can help your organization anticipate the future, things won’t always go as planned.

Download our strategic one-page plan template to help you get started on communicating your growth goals across your organization.

The market doesn’t respond to your product the way you expected, a big investor won’t give you the time of day, your machinery fails. It happens.

Companies hoping to scale up can become so singularly focused on their mission that they fail to make adjustments to meet their realistic business needs. This is one of the biggest factors that affects why organizations that were once successful end up going bankrupt: they can’t or won’t adapt.

While you want to stay aligned to your company’s core purpose, business author Verne Harnish suggests that your strategy should be open to new ideas, perspectives, and processes. The input of many different people can help your company better respond to unique issues and find new avenues for growth.

While every company has a one-of-a-kind journey on your path to scaling up, you shouldn’t let misconceptions or misguided advice negatively affect your company’s opportunities for success.

By recognizing that plenty of common-knowledge about business growth isn’t backed up by data, you can discover what it really takes to build a sustainable, successful organization.

If you enjoyed this article, check out some of our related posts:

Women in Business Series Part 1: 4 Takeaways on Scaling Up

No Longer a Start-up, Not Yet a Titan: Navigating the Growth-Stage

To implement the Rockefeller Habits to their fullest extent, you need the right processes in place. Download our Rockefeller Habits Execution Checklist to identify if your organization is doing everything possible to start scaling up. 

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Topics: business planning, Consistent Growth, scaling up

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