Scaling Up: 3 Traits of Businesses Built to Thrive in 2024

3 Traits of Businesses Built to Thrive in 2024

In the dynamic landscape of 2024, scalability emerges as a critical differentiator for success. Gartner's research underscores this, revealing that scale-focused enterprises demonstrate higher productivity levels than those less scale-focused.

Recent years have served as a profound wake-up call for businesses, underlining the imperative of building scalable foundations amidst fluctuating demands. Enterprises that swiftly adapted and expanded their operations gained a formidable competitive edge, while those shackled by rigidity and inefficiencies struggled to capitalize on new opportunities, let alone survive.

A truly scalable business possesses the flexibility to adapt rapidly to changing market conditions, seamlessly expanding its operations and innovating its processes to meet evolving demands while maintaining efficiency and effectiveness at scale. By embracing scalability as a crucial mindset, organizations can streamline growth, bolster resilience, and continually outpace disruption. Those who fail to prioritize scalability risk being outmaneuvered.

Let’s discuss three traits of business built to thrive in 2024.

1. Embrace Technology

    Technology has long been hailed as an enabler of growth and efficiency. However, its role has evolved to become the fundamental bedrock upon which modern scalability is built. In fact, a McKinsey study found that technology transformations are driving business value, with more than two-thirds of respondents saying change efforts increased revenue, reduced costs, and improved employee experience - all key elements of operating at scale effectively.

    However, merely adopting new technologies is insufficient for achieving true scalability. Gartner forecasts global IT spending will soar to an incredible $5.06 trillion in 2024, up 8% from 2023 levels, signaling that technology investments will remain pivotal. But as Deloitte's research shows, extracting maximum value and scalability require tightly tightly aligning technology initiatives with overarching strategic actions.

    But what does aligning technology to strategy actually look like in practice? Consider starting a book business out of your garage. 

    Simply buying inventory is not enough; without a clear strategy and vision for operations, distribution, marketing, and more, you'll likely end up with just a garage full of books instead of the next Amazon that Jeff Bezos built from similarly humble beginnings. 

    Without an overarching strategic vision and purpose driving technology investments from the start, companies risk squandering over $1.5 trillion in potential value, according to Deloitte's analysis.

    True scalability comes from holistically integrating transformative, cloud-based, AI-driven, automated technologies across processes and culture. This allows nimble startups and giants alike to operate with the efficiency, agility, and innovation needed to rapidly scale operations in step with evolving demands. 

    2. Foster Agility

      Gartner predicts that by 2025, boosting productivity will be a top 5 strategic priority for CEOs. However, when rallying cries like "do more with less" continue echoing through boardrooms, achieving true productivity gains will be impossible without fostering an organizational culture of agility.

      Agility can be driven through two complementary avenues: leveraging technology enablers and fundamentally shifting mindsets.

      On the tech front, tools like AI, automation, and low-code/no-code platforms can streamline workflows and augment team capabilities. AI is already on the radar for most leaders; in fact, 75% of C-suite executives believe that if they don’t scale artificial intelligence in the next five years, they risk going out of business entirely.

      However, it’s important not to cast aside the value of automation and low-code/no-code tools like Power Platform. Gartner's research underscores the rising prominence of automation as a key initiative area in 2023, with platforms like Power Automate offering seamless integrations within familiar tools to automate a wide range of business processes your team already routinely performs, boosting productivity.

      Yet technology alone is insufficient; cultivating an authentic agile philosophy is equally vital. This mindset prioritizes continual experimentation over rigid planning, cross-functional collaboration over siloed operations, and driving iterative progress rather than pursuing perfection. It empowers teams to rapidly adapt to changes, pivot strategies nimbly, and always be learning.

      Scaling Up

      For traditional enterprises accustomed to methodical, change-resistant cultures, this transformation can be challenging; clear leadership commitment and change management will be critical. Celebrating small wins, publicly acknowledging agile behaviors, and demonstrating a "fail fast" mentality are crucial steps. Most importantly, grant teams the psychological safety and autonomy to take calculated risks. Identify preconfigured "pivot points" that signal when to adapt approaches before sunk costs accrue. 

      3. Prioritize Employee Experience

        Even with an innovative tech stack and agile processes, none of it matters without employees who are engaged, motivated, and able to thrive. Truly scalable companies understand their employees are their most precious asset - without their skills and drive, rapid expansion is impossible. That's why prioritizing an exceptional employee experience is critical for not only retaining top talent, but also attracting new stars who are drawn to well-oiled teams where they can innovate rather than firefight chaos. These are the environments that inspire people to bring their best selves and go above and beyond for scalable execution.

        Cultivating this type of experience means offering generous benefits like flexible schedules, premium healthcare, and inspiring workspaces. It also means establishing operational excellence now, with robust processes and structures that run on clear workflows and effective communication channels. By laying this groundwork, companies not only mitigate chaos but also empower employees to focus on innovation and growth, creating an environment where everyone can thrive.

         A recent Gartner survey highlights the tangible benefits: 

        Employees who are energized and excited about their work are 31% more likely to go above and beyond, contribute 15% more value, and have a 31% higher likelihood of staying with the organization. 

        Furthermore, 77% of employees feel that supportive managers make them feel valued, while poor work-life balance (39%) and job stress (38%) are leading reasons for people leaving jobs.

        On the flip side, a poor employee experience poses a significant threat to scalability. High turnover rates mean companies have to continually hire and retrain new staff, hampering momentum and complicating growth initiatives. Even when employees stay, disengagement can be just as damaging - uninspired workers are unlikely to go the extra mile required for scalable execution. They tend to focus more on departing for greener pastures rather than driving improvement and innovation from within.

        Ultimately, an exceptional employee experience catalyzes a company's ability to nimbly capitalize on opportunities and challenges that demand scalable responses. While investing in this experience, companies must balance it with operational realities - but those cracking this code will gain an unstoppable scalability advantage.


        Cultural change is undoubtedly challenging, requiring time and dedication to yield tangible results. As uncertainty lingers and costs soar, many will continue to grapple with the demands of maintaining a breakneck work model. Yet, it’s precisely this context that underscores the urgency of scaling now, despite the inevitable speed bumps along the way.

        The ability to scale services, production, and operations up or down as required is an indispensable safeguard in our volatile climate. By empowering and investing in your people and nurturing a culture of scalability and adaptability, businesses position themselves to weather any storm that may come their way in the year ahead.

        For more strategies to help you be a better people leader, tune in to this episode of the #shifthappens podcast with author and futurist Jacob Morgan and AvePoint Chief Brand Officer Dux Raymond Sy.

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