5 Barriers to Scaling Up a Business

Barriers to scaling up a business

Australia ranks among the top 10 countries for startups worldwide. When it comes to scaling up their business, many leaders come across barriers and experience growing pains. 

The man at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there. – Vince Lombardi

Scaling Up a business is much like climbing a mountain. Many people attempt to reach the summit, but along the way there can be challenges and obstacles. This can either make you give up and fail, or keep going to become the few who succeed. Like climbing the mountain, Scaling Up a business requires commitment. It requires the right approach, effort, consistency, and a solid strategy and execution plan. 

Scaling Up the business can become a nightmare when you start to experience the growth paradox. This is the belief that as you scale and increase your team, prospects and resources, things should get easier. But they don’t. 

You may start to think that things were easier when it was just you and your support person running every part of the business through your home garage. As you started to grow, and add more people, it created more complexity in the communication channels. These complexities generate specific barriers to scaling up a new venture or your existing business.

5 Barriers to Scaling Up a Business

1. Leadership: Prediction, Delegation, and Repetition

Having the right people in your leadership team is crucial for success. They need to share similar core values and passion that the business owner has. The right leaders will work hard to ensure there is a high density of ‘A’ players on their team. They will also spend enough time with their team and customers to make the right predictions. They will know how to delegate to make the most effective and productive use of their time, and others’ time. And they know the importance of repetition and consistency to reach the company objectives. (For more on repetition in leadership read Turn The Ship Around by David Marquet)

2. Structure

Structure represents the way business divisions and units are organized. It includes the information of who is accountable to whom, and promotes the healthy cross interaction with employees to maintain communication channels and collaboration.

In other words, structure is the organizational chart of the firm. You absolutely have to get this one right.

Barriers to scaling up a business3. Strategy

Strategy is a plan developed by a company to achieve sustained competitive advantage and successfully compete in the market. That means being preferentially different and to be always thinking of providing value to the customer. In general, a sound coherent strategy is the one that’s clearly articulated, is long-term, helps to achieve competitive advantage and is reinforced by strong vision, purpose and values. 

4. Systems

Systems are the area of the business that determines how business is done and it should be the main focus for leaders & managers. They are the processes and procedures of the company, which reveal the business’ daily activities. The way that the people in the organization lead, meet, solve problems, plan, prioritize, follow processes, communicate, clarify roles, measure & manage.

Your goal here is a systems dependent business – rather than a people dependent business. This is the only way to achieve relentless repeatability. But remember, as your business grows, you will need to upgrade and adapt your systems.

5. Marketing/Lead Generation

Marketing is crucial to attracting new customers, talent, and investors to the business. It also addresses the increased competitive pressures as you scale. The key to effective marketing involves building relationships with influencers, constructing a compelling vision and elevator pitch, and encouraging them to support your business. 

Another key item for your marketing is Dr. Philip Kotler’s 4Ps of marketing – Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. 

To deal with these barriers, you must continually invest in your leadership team, ensure you have & maintain a healthy organizational structure, develop a coherent strategy that delivers profitable sustainable growth, manage your systems to deliver consistent, predictable results and stay on top of market changes and trends. 

The Scaling Up Method

The Scaling Up methodology has a series of simple yet effective one-page tools that cover each of the barriers businesses face when scaling up. These include the one-page strategic plan and the Rockefeller Habits checklist to teach leaders the tools and techniques required to drive growth and focus on the 4 Decisions that businesses must address (People, Strategy, Execution and Cash).

To Scale Up your business! Take our Scaling Up/Four Decisions Needs Assessment to discover how your business measures against other Scaled Up companies. We’ll contact you.



Need assistance to help your team achieve your objectives to grow your business? Contact me at tedb@strategyandexecution.com.au to schedule a free 30-minute discovery meeting.


We have been providing organisations and their leaders with facilitation support and executive education focused on strategy development and strategy execution for more than 20 years. Using business models such as Scaling Up, Exponential Organizations, E-Myth Mastery, Outthinker etc, we support organisations seeking to create or refine excellent strategies and execute them quickly and effectively.

Our expertise is based on a mixture of wide business experience, effective tools as well as a great deal of consulting and executive education. Our approach to working with clients is as unique as our specialist focus. We always seek to challenge our clients’ thinking – but equally are unafraid to roll up our sleeves and help execute the ideas we help generate. Learn more about us here or view our upcoming workshops and events.

If you are preparing for strategy development and/or a strategy implementation challenge and are committed to creating value for your organisation, we look forward to hearing from you. Contact us now