After having passed through the hardest transitions — the growth stages that feel like a caterpillar building a cocoon then emerging as a butterfly — the agency now enters a phase where growth is less about big-bang changes and more about embedding constant change and growth as a process. Scaling up is about reliably repeatedly replicating what you do.

Characteristics of the scale-up stage

  • You pass 75(ish) people
  • You have a full leadership team including senior leaders of HR, finance, accounts/sales, delivery
  • You have solid processes that mean the agency runs smoothly
  • You're financially solid with at least 3 months of cash in the bank (preferably more) and a good pipeline
  • The agency can repeatedly do everything it does without any involvement from the CEO and other directors who can focus on improving the business and being ambassadors

Common mistakes at the scale-up stage