I recently had the opportunity to spend some time with 16 exciting companies who are focused on a building and delivering on a growth plan that includes international expansion.  Through the Ottawa Board of Trade, the Trade Accelerator Program (TAP), was a three-day event that included presentations and workshops on all aspects of international growth; one of which was “Optimizing Your Processes”. The goal of my participation was to ensure the companies knew and understood the importance of having a process in their company to go global.

    Now we all know that process work can be boring (painful, tiresome???) but unfortunately a necessary evil. So, how can we change that paradigm? What makes the difference? To answer this I think we first need to ask ourselves: “why process?”


    Why Processes?

    In an article written by Forbes: 90% of Startups Fail:  Here Is What You Need to Know about the 10% :

    “A good product idea and a strong technical team are not a guarantee of a sustainable, scalable business.
    Ignoring business process can eventually deprive companies of their futures.”

    Establishing strong business processes that support future possibilities is foundational for successful, global expansion or any type of growth for that matter.

    If you think of optimizing your processes as that foundation to successful growth and scale (and ultimately the value of your company), then it gets a bit more compelling. In order to scale your company, it is important to understand where processes fit into that framework.


    Stratford Scale Up Framework

    1 Cash In order to effectively scale, it is important to have adequate cash and a business model that is cash flow positive.
    2 Strategy An articulated strategy is critical to long term success. The depth of the strategy should flex with the size and maturity of the organization.
    3 People Do you have an employee value proposition that attracts and retains talent?
    4 Process Do you have the right process in place to effectively scale your organization? Are they repeatable? Scalable? Do they translate to the global stage (language, culture, infrastructure, time zone)?
    5 Technology Do you have a connected digital platform that enables your people and processes?


    Improving those processes to support scaling will not only ensure you expand successfully; you also enhance the value of your company.  You have created value through the creation a sustainable, transferable entity.


    Here’s a suggested approach – Review all your key business processes and create three categories:

    1. Business Critical – those required to execute the business and transactions
    2. Enabling – Those that will foster and enable the growth and expansion
    3. Strategic – vitally important for long term sustainability and growth.

    If you think of your processes as foundational and put the energy into improving them, then you’re setting yourself up for major success.  Ask yourself, “Is how I currently operate in my existing market, the best future way to operate?”