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E180 | Scaling Up Your business with The Scale Up Leader Author, Stuart Ross

Are you scaling up to exit your business or are you focused on scaling up to build a more sustainable business? Either way, don’t miss Stuart Ross, author of The Scale Up Leader on this week’s episode of Mind Your F**king Business Podcast. 

Stuart is a business coach who started life as a buyer for Burton Arcadia group. From there he moved to Boots where he led a number of innovations such as launching their first website (and they were so cheap they wouldn’t pay for the .com, only the, and then subsequently spent a small fortune a few years later acquiring the .com, but that’s another story.) 

He also launched the meal deal – something almost everyone on the highstreet has now, and he worked on the Boots Advantage Card.

Stuart launched his consulting coaching business High Growth in 2012, and today he works with a range of clients across the UK and the US. He also features frequently in the news, talking about what it takes to build a scale up business. Scaling up is something he’s so passionate about, he’s written a book about it. Which is precisely what he discusses in this episode. 

So if you’re wanting to grow and scale up your business, download and listen today. 

On today’s podcast:

  • High Growth & The Scale Up Leader
  • A company can’t outperform the leadership
  • Developing the right habits
  • Who do you want to be?
  • Learn to let go


Why Scaling a Business Needs A Scale Up Leader with Stuart Ross 

Stuart Ross is no stranger to growing a company. He cut his teeth as a buyer for the Burton Arcadia group before moving to Boots and launching their website, their meal deal and their Advantage Card. Stuart subsequently started his own business coaching consultancy, High Growth, in 2012 and today teaches business leaders how to scale up and grow their business. 

“I run a company called High Growth where we’re focused on helping organisations wishing to grow and scale their businesses, making the job of scaling both easy and enjoyable and avoiding the errors and the challenges along the way.”

High Growth

Stuart’s company High Growth helps organisations focus on 4 areas which he believes makes a difference to how companies scale. These 4 areas are: 

  • Leadership
  • Building a higher performance team
  • Creating a strategy to keep you ahead of your competitors
  • Implementing the strategy 

“If you master those four areas then you can achieve your vision. That’s where my passion is. And we use a framework called High Growth Framework, which helps companies implement that successfully.”

The Scale Up Leader

Having worked directly with over 500 companies over the last 14 years, Stuart has learned what the biggest barriers and biggest challenges that leaders have to go through as they grow and scale their businesses are.

He’s also explored various scale up methodologies and frameworks and been involved in lots of programmes aimed at helping organisations grow. And he realised that many of them focused on the actual content of the company and not on the thing that makes a difference between those companies successfully scaling and those that aren’t – and that’s the leadership. 

“My new book is called The Scale Up Leader and it focuses on saying, are you ready to scale not only as a business, but also you as a leader? And teaches the 10 characteristics or strategies that you need to go and master as a leader, as you move from the entrepreneurial to the scale up phase of a business.”

A company can’t outperform the leadership

The key thing to note, says Stuart, is that you as the leader need to make the decision whether scaling the business is right for you. Scaling up and growing a business isn’t a part time job. You need to be 100% committed to growing the company if you want to achieve success. 

Because when you’re scaling, if you’re 100% committed, it’s going to have an impact across your entire life. It’s going to affect your family, your health, your friendships. You need to be ready for that and be ready to handle these challenges and tradeoffs. And it’s not for everyone. 

Developing the right habits

A successful scale up leader, says Stuart, has a variety of characteristics. For example, they make sure they develop the right habits. That sounds obvious, but you need to develop the type of habits that enable you to grow. Things like energy management and time management. 

Energy management is similar to time management in that you only get given a certain amount of energy like you get time. And so you need to figure out the best way of managing your energy so that you get maximum gain from it. 

“Put it another way, when you think of top performers out there, whether it’s athletes, whether it’s actors, what do they tend to do? Well, they tend to perform about 5-10% of the time. And the rest of their time is spent in training or recovery.”

In business, on the other hand, business owners typically spend 80-90% of their time working and very little time recovering. You need to get that balance back, says Stuart. 

“So when you talk about the basics of energy management, it comes down to what we call the ultradian rhythm. So basically every 90 minutes you go through a natural body cycle where you need to have a break after 90 minutes to recharge before you move on to the next 90 minutes. Have you built those good practises in place?”

When do you work? Are you a morning person or an evening person? How do you make sure to maximise your day? Take Jeff Bezos for example, he doesn’t make decisions in the afternoon. 

You have to remember your organisation is the mirror of you. The CEO’s habits have a huge impact on the organisation. 

One great habit is to get into the right mindset everyday. Your mindset affects your behaviour, which affects your results, and it’s cyclical. Stuart recommends trying meditation, affirmations, visualisations, reading or journaling to put you in the optimal state for the rest of the day. 

Who do you want to be?

You need to change who you are as a person to deliver the goals you need to achieve. And you’re the sum of the people you spend the most time with. Review who you need to become, advises Stuart, and who’s going to help you get there. 

Do you have the right circle of friends or people you spend time with? That’s not just your peers, your family and your friends, but the books you’re reading, the videos you’re watching, the podcasts you’re listening to. All of these will help you become the person you need to become, to achieve your goals. 

Learn to let go

The other thing you need to do as a leader, says Stuart, if you want to scale your business, is learn to let go. When you’re proving your business, you’re running around doing everything, setting up systems, servicing customers, doing sales, HR, marketing etc. But when you move into the scale up phase, you need systems in place and a team you trust around you. 

But letting go is a significant challenge, so much so, a lot of people can’t do it.

“One of the things I get people to do on a daily basis is instead of doing a to-do list, I get them to produce a to-stop list. I get them to do that for two weeks. And that is very often enlightening, because there’s all the stuff I should be stopping with and should be delegating, which is going to free up and give me more time to go and grow my business.”

What you can do today to help your tomorrow

Get up and have a cold shower, says Stuart, because it wakes you up, it brings you straight into the present and into the day in a totally different way than you would otherwise.

“The other thing I would also focus on is contribution. What are you doing to help people or help others to move forward and add value into people’s lives? Because that’s when you feel more energised. That’s when you feel at your best.”

Book recommendations

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