Growth and Scale Up
Bet big to foster growth, the VC way
26 Aug 2017

Technology. Disruption. Flexible consumption models. Pricing model changes. Mobility.

Enough has been said and read about these buzzwords. There is not a single CxO who isn’t losing sleep because of this fast-paced technological and consumer behavior changes. These changes are creating massive opportunities for new technology-led entrants. But is it all lost for the incumbents? How can incumbents win in this new world?

There have been casualties – Nokia, Polaroid, to name a few. Several others, like the financial services players, are looking at (and learning from with a view to emulating best practices) the FinTech players with a lot of intrigues. And in some cases, there is curiosity

"But challengers in almost every vertical are realizing the need to leverage these changes in the external environment to propel next wave of growth. In fact, getting ahead in the ‘game of the future’ will prove to be a wise, high-ROI investment."

But how does one do that effectively?

How does one ensure that this innovation funnel gets its due attention in the middle of all the Business-as-usual battles going on?

Should the business devote its best resources to the game, or should they continue to be the lieutenants in the current battles?

"Organizations can pick a leaf from the books of Venture Capitalists who do this ideation, prioritization and value realization from big bets as a profession."

In our experience at Praxis Global Alliance, organizations that do the following well have a materially higher chance of riding the upcoming growth waves.

  • Don’t do much analysis paralysis on whether you need to focus on resources and time in nurturing high growth, disruptive ideas. You don’t really have a Yes/No choice.
  • Prioritize. Prioritize. Prioritize. Just like best VCs exactly know what themes to go deeper into and invest behind.
  • Accelerator set up with solid governance. Create a clear ‘Growth Incubation Office’ to build dedicated attention/focus and ensure priority.
  • Find the right teams for growth ideas. Best VCs don’t bet as much on the idea as they do on the people driving those ideas. If the right cross-functional team with a lot of self-drive and passion is not chasing the hyper-growth areas, the value might remain elusive.
  • Align incentives. With clearly specified, balanced and right incentive plans, pulling time out of Business-As-Usual from the most self-driven resources might be tough on a sustained basis.
  • Commit support upfront. Resources, esp capital flow needs to be committed upfront and sustained. Embarking on this journey cannot be hostage to annual margin pressures or short term high urgency budget shifts. Remember, the CEO and the Board have to be the financial sponsor to the ‘venture’ for a long period of time.
  • Time the ideas right. Launching the right ideas at the right time is key to turn ideas into rocket ships.
  • Fail early. Be comfortable with failing and failing early should be encouraged, In fact, killing impractical or slow traction ideas should be allowed to fail quickly so that the resources are directed towards high-potential ones.
  • Double down on the green shoots. Turbocharge ideas with signs of potential and commit the next round of resources and capital without much delay.
  • Clear exit thesis. Graduate to business/functions not too soon, not too late. Priority ideas need to be in the incubator/accelerator for long enough to grow and be supported until they can get their due respect and time in the mainstream organization.

Your thoughts are most welcome. There are surely other great tips out there to add to this list. If you want to discuss how to do this, do get in touch. We would love to hear from you.

Authored by (at the time of writing):

Madhur Singhal, Leader, Growth and Scale Up Practice

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