Our Process: Business Scale-Up Cycle

The Engagement Process


Practical evaluation of your business needs and workflow challenges to define solutions that save time and money and help delight customers.

Initial assessment is done within an hour. Progress is made using Discovery workshops.


Our proposals include a customised agile implementation plan with specific milestones, change management tactics and fixed, clearly defined costs. We deliver support as a service over a 6 to 12 month horizon.


We support you to execute your implementation plan and deploy your selected improvement project to eliminate workflow probelms or support you to scale the business.

Professional Advice

We won’t abandon you after implementation.

Dedicated ongoing advice is provided to support operation teams and leaders stay on track, identify and implement improvements, and achieve modernisation goals.

The Situation Today

A SME typically won’t have the resources and internal capability to take appropriate action and build a true system to scale-up execution and drive continuous improvement. Added to this they likely operate using a range of disconnected information systems and cannot afford the expensive all-in-one systems used by big business.

To solve this problem business leaders can automate their business processes to realise cost reductions by as much as 60% and then continuously improve quality, efficiency and profitability.

There are three fundamental elements to every business, digitally transformed or not;

  • Rules
  • Tools
  • People

Business processes provide the rules, automation (digital technology) the tools, and people if properly supported and coached, deliver success.

Current technology advances have created a new set of possibilities. Companies can scale-up their operation, establish affordable fully integrated information systems, and automate manual activity. This makes accurate data easily available for analysis and helps develop understanding more quickly to identify and resolve the root causes of inefficiencies or other problems.

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What the future looks like

Companies that use available technologies and provide staff with real-time coaching, expose a stack of accurate detail essential for routine problem analysis and productivity improvement. This approach starts a powerful reinforcing cycle of continuous improvement that business teams can drive to scale-up performance. We call this the Business Scale-Up Cycle.

This cycle has always existed but has become more critical in the last few years, as digital technology has improved dramatically with new technologies being introduced faster and applicable to a broader range of businesses and processes.

Most businesses understand this but only a small group are able to translate these changes into what it means for their industry and business and take appropriate action. Not taking action means risking negative business disruption and becoming obsolete.

The Business Scale-Up Cycle is a model for automating all the manual steps and rules that exist in a business and making use of the great practices and attitudes that exist only in the heads of high performing staff.

The result is a set of practically defined business rules that can be easily and effectively automated to scale up execution across the business. This generates reliable data and creates audit trails; both bottom-up, from tasks being completed in each area of the business, and top-down, by the processes running seamlessly across the business. This creates an environment for speedy analysis, new insights, and scale-up impact becoming part of business as usual.

The combination of these rules, tools and capabilities [people], used in the right ways, is revolutionary. McKinsey research has shown a business can achieve efficiencies of 60% or more over a three to five year horizon.

The Business Scale-Up Cycle affects process, roles and attitudes. But crucially, it can also disrupt or open up completely new business models; different ways to monetise your business products or services. Being aware of this may give you an edge as a new opportunity or give you a heads-up on the kinds of threats that may (not) appear on the horizon.


The cycle starts with a practical evaluation of your business needs and workflow problems to define solutions that save time and money and delight customers.

The aim of each discovery workshop is to achieve the right level of detail so a process owner can practically manage and understand process performance.

  • Too much detail means the businesses will miss new opportunities to automate because there are too many exceptions built into existing practices.
  • When detail is missing, the complexity presented by disconnected systems and processes makes it look like a mountain of effort is needed which is discouraging or a complete turnoff.

Discovery starts at a high level by challenging automation exceptions created by disconnected systems and manual activities. It identifies opportunities to simplify, reorganise, and standardise processes – while minimising exceptions – before investigating the next level of detail. These workshops are completed in short sprints avoiding the trap of trying to map all processes and exceptions in one go.

Agile Design

This is where the team gets into the next level of detail. Critically examining each process and keeping ambitions high when designing ways to eliminate exceptions and manual tasks. There’s a few basic questions that frame agile design activity:

  • What’s stopping us from automating processes end to end?
  • Could current exceptions and manual processing be reduced by rules-based activity?
  • What complex thinking is needed to complete process steps?
  • Can any digital technologies help with this?
  • What type of digital frontend or set of structured inputs is required?
  • Are there policy or regulatory barriers to straight-through processing?

Understanding each response balanced with a realistic assessment of feasibility and required effort is used to prioritise actions.


Getting rules and tools in place is the easy part but won’t deliver sustainable and significant scale on it’s own. Successful implementation and optimal results are delivered by taking a people first, technology second approach.

Even though scaling-up a business can take a few years, there’s usually “quick win” opportunities that will reduce the total risk involved in making changes and related implementation cost. They sometimes prove to be a way of self-funding implementation of the Business Scale-Up Cycle.

Getting this right means business process changes and related technology are delivering improved outcomes sooner and generating real time data that companies can use for continuous improvement. Off the shelf adapters are available or can be developed to integrate contemporary business systems.

Impact Analysis

In this part of the Business Scale-Up Cycle operations managers have ownership and urgency to successfully drive performance and continuous improvement. Advanced automation tools provide real time performance monitoring to help managers analyse more data than traditional reporting. This gives an easily available and accurate picture of real time performance that helps managers develop understanding more quickly to identify and resolve the root causes of inefficiencies or other problems, point to potential opportunities and suggest priorities. Performance targets get adjusted as needed and are owned by team members. They are constructed and used with the objective of getting optimal performance within each business area and delivering an optimal customer experience.

Once the Business Scale-Up Cycle starts, a business can chase bigger dreams

  • Massive cost reductions
  • Productivity increases
  • Delivery reliability
  • Customer service performance

These are just some of the key improvements that deliver business scale and increased profitability.

Making a Start

The opportunity for a business owner conditioned by years of hands on operation and leadership is to think way outside what they already know because the successful competitor will be thinking this way.

Not all businesses are awake to the Business Scale-Up Cycle. Some business sectors are more progressive and others have already felt the pain of not moving soon enough. This is both ominous and encouraging, for businesses in the Hunter region.

Scaling-up is not something you can buy as a plug and play package nor is it a one-shot silver bullet.

Starting and sustaining the Business Scale-Up Cycle is not easy. If it was, every business would not only be doing it, but already know how to do it. And here’s the problem for the small or medium business:

  • staff are typically flat out with business as usual and never find the time to make needed improvement
  • it’s most likely that no one knows where to start, or how to implement without some outside expertise.

Modus Consulting is unique in the Hunter providing independent business advice to help businesses start and sustain the Business Scale-Up Cycle. We effect change that actually adds value.This help can be limited to completing discovery workshops or extend to facilitating implementation or acting as an inhouse Business Scale-Up resource.

To make a start you can take advantage of our brief no obligation no cost Business Scale-Up discussion to explore your business goals, workflow problems and challenges. You get a report that maps out how to set up and kick start the Business Scale-Up Cycle in your business.

Ready to scale up? Use this calendar link to book a free business scale-up discussion to decide how to get started.