Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship joins Southern Entrepreneurs in debating ‘scaling up your business’ at Business Magazine-hosted Roundtable

13 November 2017

Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship joins Southern Entrepreneurs in debating ‘scaling up your business’ at Business Magazine-hosted Roundtable

Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship were hosted by Barclays and law firm Osborne Clarke at their Forbury Place offices in Reading for the discussion on ‘scaling up your business’ on 10 November 2017.

The Roundtable Discussion, hosted by the business magazine, was attended by Jurek Sikorski, Executive Director of Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship. Jurek attended alongside Matt Franklin, Managing Director and Founder of Roc Technologies, Claire Edmunds, CEO and Founder of Clarify, Graeme Freeman, Co-founder of Freeman Clarke, and David Sanger, NED and serial entrepreneur.

A great deal of insights were shared by the entrepreneurs; successful serial entrepreneur David Sanger admitted scaling-up could be “a tough, energy-sapping or long-winded trail”, particularly for small businesses with inexperienced management attempting the acquisitions route. David cited customers taking flight, cultural differences when bedding-in new teams, the need to make profit to recoup the scale-up investment – but the rewards of success could be very big “for those who get good at it”.

Concluding, David said: “You have to be very focused, really know what you are acquiring and what you are doing. We always did our home-work, went into it with our eyes open, and knew what we were trying to achieve, and even then it was hard.”

In answering the question ‘how do scale ups succeed?’ Matt Franklin said: “Start with company culture and values. Align people with a clarity of vision, a common belief in your future.”

Matt recommended focusing on developing scale-up ‘cultural fit’, because merging different cultures together can be internally disruptive and distracting to core business objectives. “On day one of Roc’s recent acquisition on 29 September we got both businesses together and created our five-year plan together, with everyone contributing. We had a 50-metre piece of paper but everyone had bought into it.”

Replying, Jurek Sikorski said: “There are three key things to address. First, involve people, through good two-way communication. Second, respect the individual by accepting their contribution to the business. And third recognise their efforts and reward them for their input and productivity. When you have engaged employees they are absolutely aligned on their purpose, the road map to success, and what it means to them. Remember, without people you’ve got nothing.”

HCfE is pleased to be part of the debate on ‘scaling up your business’ and is also involved in the Scaling-Up Project being led by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP, which aims to connect all the sources of support for founders of scale-up businesses based in Berkshire.

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If you have any questions, please contact Jurek Sikorski by email at jurek.sikorski@henley.ac.uk or by phone on +44 (0)118 378 8188.