Scaling Your Startup

In the US, only 4% of all startups reach $1M in revenue. And of those, only 10% scale to $10M. So that means that your startup has a 0.4% chance of growing to $10M and above. But research proves that there are specific conditions you can establish in your business to help ensure that it will grow and achieve both scale and long term sustainability.

This year, Wednesday of Startup Week is dedicated to helping your business scale. We’ll hold a series of fireside chats with 13 entrepreneurs who have crossed that $1M revenue threshold in different industries. We’ll dig deep into their businesses to find out what specific things they did to cross that threshold and continue to grow their businesses.  

Our speakers represent a wide range of businesses from B2B technology to B2C consumer products. Their businesses range from $1M to $110M in revenue.

Schedule for Scaling Up Sessions

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

10:00KeynoteThe Five Operating Conditions Necessary for ScaleCharles Fred
11:00Fireside ChatPositioning for GrowthSilencia Cox, Allison Seabeck, Candyce Edelen
12:00Open NetworkingLunch – food trucks available
1:00Fireside ChatEstablishing the Disciplines Necessary for ScaleMichael Stus, Betsy Craig, Candyce Edelen
2:00Fireside ChatBuilding the Right Team and Culture for ScaleDan Holt, Julie Dubin, Larry Dolgin, Candyce Edelen
3:00Fireside ChatPredictability Is the Fulcrum for ScaleCharles Fred, JB Kellogg, Candyce Edelen
4:00Fireside ChatManaging Capital and Cash Flow to Sustain GrowthZubaida Bai, Matt Bryson, Mike Blazes, Candyce Edelen
5:00KeynoteKeynote by Penn StreetPenn Street
7:00Open NetworkingAfter Party Hosted by Barnes and NobleN/A


Entrepreneur Charles Fred speaks on the 5 operating conditions necessary for scaling a business

The day will start with a keynote by Charles Fred, who will talk about the 5 operating conditions necessary for scale.

Charles Fred is a bestselling author, serial entrepreneur and researcher on what makes companies successful. He is the co-founder of TrueSpace, an organization dedicated to helping businesses scale. He recently completed a 5-year study where his team was immersed in the daily working environments of 150 companies with $1-2M in revenue, all of whom were planning to reach $10M.  The research identified five operating conditions necessary for small businesses to reach the middle market. The study, through a partnership with Gallup, now extends to over 4000 business across the U.S. For the first time, we have the science and the data to better understand the processes, cultures, challenges, motivations, and themes that emerge in businesses that reach the middle markets.

Charles is a longtime resident of Colorado, a journeyman cabinetmaker, and an elite masters track athlete. He and his wife, Julie, dedicate much of their time to their family, mentoring entrepreneurs, and giving back to the community.

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Learn more about Charles’ research in this New York Times article

Fireside Chats

Candyce Edelen, fireside chat host and interviewer.

Learn how to put the 5 operating conditions into practice in real-world settings. Candyce Edelen will interview 12 successful entrepreneurs about how they applied these principles in their businesses.

Positioning for Growth

Join Candyce Edelen, Silencia Cox and Allison Seabeck discuss positioning for growth at FoCo Startup Week.

You can’t drive a ‘69 VW bug 300 miles per hour. It’s simply not designed for that kind of performance. 

Is your business in a similar situation? Is it designed in a way that makes it possible to scale past $10M in annual revenue? Does it have the resources, capital, mission and talent to be able to sustain that growth? What needs to change in your business model, offerings, market positioning to achieve true scale? Are you creating enterprise value that will ultimately achieve your exit goals?

In this fireside chat, Silencia Cox, CEO of MotherLove and Allison Seabeck, former president of ProSci will talk about what they needed to do to position their businesses for scale. 

Key takeaways from this session: 

  • Understand how to position your business for growth
  • Evaluate the capacity of your current resources, capital, mission and talent 
  • Determine what remodeling will be needed to attain sustainable growth
  • Ascertain the scalability of your idea and offering

[button link=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”” color=”green”]Click here to sign up for “Positioning for Growth”[/button]

Establishing the Disciplines Necessary for Scale

Candyce Edelen, Michael Stus and Betsy Craig discuss Establishing the Disciplines Necessary for Scale at Startup Week 2020.

Discipline across the organization is a foundational requirement for scale. If you can build a “franchise-able business” then you can establish the capacity for nearly unlimited growth. This is not to say that you need to establish franchises. It’s about having the operational maturity to build repeatable, reliable processes. This is not something that culture takes care of. If you don’t have discipline in your organization, it won’t achieve sustainable scale. Growth will be sporadic and inconsistent.

In this fireside chat, Michael Stus from Canidium and Betsy Craig from MenuTrinfo discuss how they established operational discipline in their organizations. 

Key takeaways from this session: 

  • How to build reliable and repeatable processes.
  • Establishing operational policies, procedures, measurement and feedback processes
  • Making sure that your employees understand the requirements and can perform reliably

[button link=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”” color=”green”]Click here to sign up for “Establishing the Disciplines Necessary for Scale”[/button]

Building the Right Team and Culture for Scale

Dan Holt, Julie Dubin and Larry Dolgin share a fireside chat at Startup Week 2020.

The people side of your venture is more important than your product, strategy or funding. In fact, if you have the right team, you can overcome just about any other problem with your business model. But problems with team culture can jeopardize the best business idea, no matter how well it’s positioned or funded.

So how do you recruit the right team from the very beginning, and how do you establish a high performance culture? What are the signs that you have a problem, and how do you fix it? When a company is in launch mode, everyone sprints. But as it grows and scales, the team has to learn to run a marathon. How do you build endurance into the team and culture to play the long game necessary for sustainable growth?

In this fireside chat, Candyce is joined by Julie Dubin, co-founder of No Barriers, Dan Holt, Co-Founder and CEO of BillGO and Larry Dolgin who founded and led The Feet, Inc. for 22 years before a successful exit in 2016. We’ll talk about how these successful entrepreneurs built their teams and established a culture that enabled their businesses to scale past the first $1M and continue growing.

Key takeaways from this session: 

  • How to avoid limiting growth to the capacity of the founders
  • Finding employees and stakeholders who can endure the growth journey
  • Building a diverse team with the right mix of people to enable long term growth
  • Establishing a high performance culture that also builds in safety and trust 
  • Approaches for eliminating “group-think” and encouraging team contributions

[button link=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”” color=”green”]Click here to sign up for “Building the Right Team and Culture for Scale”[/button]

Predictability Is the Fulcrum for Scale

Charles Fred, JB Kellogg join Candyce Edelen for a fireside chat at Startup Week 2020.

Chronic inconsistency in forecasting accuracy is a key reason why businesses fail. When you miss forecasts, you risk running through your capital without results. Of the firms TrueSpace followed in their research, 90% consistently over-estimated, over-projected, and failed to achieve sustained growth. To build a predictable business that can sustain consistent growth, you have to establish key performance indicators across the business and constantly test and improve the quality of your assumptions. If you build a measurement culture, you will increase the value of your company.

In this fireside chat, Charles Fred, Chairman/CEO of TrueSpace, and JB Kellogg, Co-CEO of Madwire talk about the types of KPIs they track, how they used these to report on progress, and the impact on their businesses.

Key takeaways from this session: 

  • How to build a measurement culture
  • Establishing key objectives for each aspect of the business
  • Using feedback to improve the quality of your assumptions and the accuracy of forecasts

[button link=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”” color=”green”]Click here to sign up for “Predictability is the Fulcrum for Scale”[/button]

Managing Capital and Cash Flow to Sustain Growth

Join Zubaida Bai, Matt Bryson and Mike Blazes for a fireside chat at Startup Week 2020.

One of the trickiest parts of scaling a business is managing cash flow and capital. More than 60% of business failures were actually profitable — they failed because they ran out of cash. Managing your working capital and cash flow is absolutely essential to your business survival. Cash flow management is necessary to avoid cash crunches that prevent you from paying suppliers, buying materials and paying salaries. The problems come when your revenue comes in after your payouts are due. So cash flow management is all about delaying outflows of cash as long as possible while encouraging customers to pay as quickly as possible. 

In this fireside chat, we’ll hear from Zubaida Bai, CEO of Ayzh, Mike Blazes, CFO of BillGO, and Matt Bryson, CFO of Madwire about challenges they’ve encountered and how they’ve learned to effectively manage their capital and cash flow.

Key takeaways for this session: 

  • Figure out the amount of working capital you need to fund operations
  • Identify capital risks and prepare in advance
  • Types of financing available to shore up shortfalls
  • How to speed up receivables and delay payables 

[button link=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”” color=”green”]Click here to sign up for “Managing Capital and Cash Flow to Sustain Growth”[/button]

After the final fireside chat, Penn Street will deliver a closing keynote. Then at 7 pm, we’ll have scaling up afterparty hosted by Barnes and Noble.

This Scale Up program is presented by PropelGrowth.

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