SINGAPORE: Scaling a business can be tricky: Too fast and a startup could stumble when entering new markets, too slow and it could mean death for the company.
“The reality is that 80 per cent of the success of a business, I would argue, has nothing to do with the entrepreneur themselves, it has to do with the lay of the land,” said Mr Greg Mittman, Vice-President of internet startup MyRepublic.
His advice for startups looking to scale their business is to be sensitive to market timing.
“Is there a seam in the market that is opening up? Is there an opportunity that is created because you’re in Asia Pacific? Because you’re in Singapore? Because you’re in a specific market? Is there something going on from a regulatory perspective? Or is there a demographic shift? You want to be very sensitive to identifying opportunities that you can then exploit,” he said.
THE PEOPLE FACTOR
“The team is the most important thing in any startup,” said Mr Chua Kee Lock, Group President and Chief Executive Officer of Vertex Holdings, which focuses on venture capital investment opportunities in the information technology and healthcare markets.
Having the right team will enable the startup to execute its plan properly, he added.
Mr Mittman agreed: “You need to be able to be a big sucking machine where you bring in people that are as passionate and as driven and that have a complementary skillset to you, whether they come in as co-founders or cornerstone employees that are themselves incented to be successful in the business.”
FACILITATING THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS
While startups often begin with one to three founders, Mr Mark Strecker, a startup veteran and CEO of Amobee, a global marketing technology company, said that to scale the company, founders have got to start to push decision-making responsibilities down to other people in the company.
“You can’t be the person who is taking the decision the whole time, so you need to build a team around you who can do the jobs better than you can,” he explained.
After that, processes should be put in place within the company so the company can start operating by itself and the business can scale up, Mr Strecker said.
Find out how eight startups are trying to take their businesses to the next level as they compete for up to S$500,000 in seed money on Start-UP Season 3, every Monday at 8.30pm SG/HK on Channel NewsAsia.
Catch up on Start-UP episodes on their website.