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Tech Startup to Scale Up and Beyond

At ClearSky Logic we help build businesses of the future. This involves helping companies spin out new products, services, automation and features to help unlock growth in their company. Over the course of the years of providing services and in our careers we have frequently run into similar issues and opportunities in various companies depending on their phase of growth. We want to share our learnings with the business community to help more businesses get tech right and not let it be the reason that your business fails to achieve its full potential.
Start UpScale UpEstablished

Start Up

Exciting times, starting up a new business. So much opportunity but also the risk of making a poor decision early on which can stifle your business in the long run.


  1. Off the shelf Software - this is how we refer to software you can buy or subscribe to at little cost. This helps on two fronts, you get the added benefit of automating some of your business processes and it’s a low operating cost to bear in the early stages.
  2. Plan a high level tech roadmap. You are unlikely to have the funds available to build bespoke software for your business however much like having a business plan in the early stage of business, you should also take the time to plan what type of software you might need to help scale the business to reach your objectives.
  3. Get the right advice. If you have technical contacts in your network then gather input from various sources for quick win in tech decisions. If you don’t have the right skills on hand then consider asking your network for referrals to CTOs or senior developers. The right guidance at this stage can pay dividends in the long run.

Scale Up

Your business is growing, you have a steady stream of revenue and you are starting to get more and more customers. The tech decisions made in the earlier start up stage will either make scaling simple or almost impossible without some major changes.


  1. Tech Strategy. At this point you need senior technical leadership onboard, even if it's part time. This is hugely important to make sure tech can scale to meet your fast growing business ambitions. Remember, not all developers are tech strategists and hiring more developers doesn’t necessarily make for a good tech roadmap.
  2. Bespoke software. By this stage in your business you should have been using off the shelf software where possible but now to differentiate yourself and innovate in your market you should start to consider bespoke software. Try to target this in areas where the business is being held back. It will usually make the most difference in your customer-facing interactions, reducing overhead on customer services or introducing automation to free-up time currently spent doing repetitive tasks.
  3. Growing tech team. You might be in a fortunate financial situation to start to hire software developers. One thing to remember is that to make industry leading technology it takes more than a good developer. You need someone to manage them, Testers to make sure your software is good quality / works well, Designers to ensure your software is easy to use for your end users, Project Managers to make sure you get projects delivered on time / on budget and Software Architects to understand how it all fits together and ensure it will scale up as needed. You might consider outsourcing this instead and allowing yourself to focus purely on your business/strengths.


  1. Outsourcing without a plan. It’s tempting to outsource software projects when you have the revenue to pay for them. This requires the right technology partner. Make sure you engage with multiple vendors and take advice from independent third parties on how to successfully engage with an outsourcing partner. Get testimonials and ideally, ask to speak to satisfied customers. Make sure you retain all Intellectual Property, have payment milestones built into the agreement in line with delivery milestones and make sure you sign off designs before build as its more expensive to make changes during/post build.
  2. One Developer views. If you had a founding partner as a software developer you might now be in a position where they have become CTO. This can be great in a lot of ways. They know the software entirely and understand the business to a detailed level. However they might not be the right fit to hire new developers, build a team and a successful tech strategy. This can be difficult to manage but keep in mind that some people will develop new skills and grow into more senior roles while others will struggle to scale responsibilities in line with the business. Don’t let a personnel issue suffocate business growth.
  3. Lack of a tech roadmap. Without a roadmap in place for your technology, you might end up with a patchwork of different technology stacks (using different languages) meaning that you need multiple different kinds of software developer to keep your software running, resolving bugs and building new features. This is the death of scaling your technology and will have you investing more and more into your technology without seeing the output. Instead, spend time on the roadmap, specialise in a specific set of technologies and hire a team around these.


Your business has flourished, you have a lot of experience under your belt and a large team of employees. You may now find it’s taking longer to make changes and feel like your business is moving so slowly compared to new upcoming competitors.


  1. Tech enabled business. Focus on achieving maximum scalability, automate as much as possible, build technology which enhances your engagement with customers.
  2. R&D. Assign part of your IT budget to spend time on cutting edge technology ideas. Innovate to keep ahead of competitors and don’t be afraid to try new things. Keep in mind that the output of the technology has to bring significant business value.
  3. More Scale Same People. All manual, repetitive tasks can be automated to free up your staff to take on complex high value tasks.


  1. Technology grinding to a halt. You could be piling funding into your internal IT team without seeing the desired output. At this stage of business you will have so many people involved in the chain of command that it severely brings down the rate of change. That new opportunity you see for a product or service can slip away as your competitors move faster than you. Consider spinning out new smaller satellite product development teams. Give them autonomy but lofty objectives. They will deliver in parallel to the rest of the business but potentially much faster than an internal team who can be diverted by the daily demands of the business. You can also consider outsourcing these projects to a third party to fast track development.
  2. Recruitment. It can take 6 months or more to build a brand new tech team from scratch. From first creating job specifications to going to market, interviewing, notice periods and then finally having the team start but they take a while to get up to speed. Consider this when pushing for deadlines.
  3. Lack of innovation. Often teams can become entrenched in their thinking, falling into the “but we’ve always done it like this” response. Make sure your culture stamps this out. Established businesses have so much competition on the horizon who will be trying anything and everything to get ahead.