Thomas A. McGonagle
Thomas A. McGonagle

Thomas A. McGonagle

9 Tactics to Guide Your Blitzscaling Practice

9 Tactics to Guide Your Blitzscaling Practice

Thomas A. McGonagle's photo
Thomas A. McGonagle
·Aug 4, 2022·

3 min read

Ari Libarikian is a senior partner of Leap, McKinsey's business-building capability. He explains that “the companies that have stayed at the top for decades are always regenerating. This is really a requirement to being successful today.” Serial business builders, like Amazon, Google and Facebook, are always regenerating. They adapt to changes in their environment and constantly launch new products, services and business ventures. In other words, they have mastered the art of blitzscaling. For that to be possible for your business, you have to forget almost everything you learned in business school. Here are nine counter-intuitive principles of blitzscaling to guide your efforts in practice:

Embrace the Chaos Making speed paramount at the expense of efficiency, order and stability have to go out the window means things will get a little haphazard. You must accept that your business is in for a bumpy ride in the quest for product-market fit. Turbulence can be fun and is fun! Hire Ms. Right Now, Not Ms. Right Some people might be a great fit for the latter phases of blitzscaling but less suited to the earlier startup phases. Aim to recruit the right people at the right time. Similarly, be prepared to let people go as you grow. Practice “Bad” Management If you're truly embracing the chaos, the structure of your organization will bend and mold multiple times each year. Worry less about keeping things organized, so you prepare to handle unexpected challenges. Launch a Product That Embarrasses You A perfectionist won't succeed in this game. You need to jump in the ring and start making mistakes. You might get embarrassed, but the sooner you get your MVP into customers' hands, the quicker you can get feedback that helps you iterate and improve. I was an awful wrestler, until one day I wasn’t. Be awful until you aren’t. Let Fires Burn The second of Kravernetes Tenants is to “be vigilant in identifying and addressing challenges.” When you’re trying to grow quickly, you won’t be able to handle every problem. Focus on the key strategic areas that will fuel your growth or the major issues that could potentially ruin you. Forget everything else. Do Things That Don’t Scale When the Airbnb founders went banging on doors doorknocking to take quality photos of their listings, they knew it wasn't a scalable solution. But sometimes, before you can scale, you have to do the things that matter by any means possible. Ignore Your Customers Getting feedback from customers will help you improve your product with every iteration. But you must figure out how to scale your customer service to appeal to a broader audience, which will mean letting some issues go in the early days. Raise Too Much Money A defining aspect of blitzscaling is the inefficient use of capital. Having a large war chest is a defensive tactic to protect scaleups from crashing and burning—but it can also work offensively. Having deep pockets will enable you to take advantage of new opportunities that arise as you scale at speed. Evolve Your Culture Startup founders will set the tone for company culture, but it’s by no means set in stone. As your company grows and adds more people, the culture will naturally change.

 
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