How to scale your business – checklist

Scaling your business can seem like a daunting process. This checklist can help you navigate some of the common pitfalls of scaling and decide whether the process is right for your business – before you start.

Female fashion designer working desktop


This checklist is not part of an application process for Angel Investment. However, we hope it gives you an idea of what is involved and what you need to do to prepare. Angels may ask for more or less information about your business and the finance you need than what is set out below. This will change depending on individuals involved.

Stage 1: Understand your offering

  • What is your offering?
    Is there a real need for your product or service? Who will buy it and why? Does the market want it?

  • How does your offering fit into the competitive landscape?
    If someone else is already creating your product or service, is your offering better than theirs? What is your competitive advantage? If you have first-mover advantage, is your product future-proofed against other products?

  • Is your offering scalable?
    What’s the overall market size? Is there an opportunity to continue innovating or to expand overseas?

Stage 2: Get your house in order

  • Do you have a good financial management system?
    Is your record-keeping rigorous? Have you moved beyond accounting on a spreadsheet?

  • Do you understand your working capital?
    Do you know how to avoid mismanaging working capital? Do you have plans for short-term and long-term financing? Do you have a plan for new projects that working capital wouldn’t cover?

  • How are you monitoring progress?
    Do you have key performance indicators you keep under review?

Stage 3: Refine your strategy

  • What is your strategy?
    What’s the ultimate vision? Have you involved the wider team beyond the board in formulating your strategy? Is everyone in the business working towards the same goals?

  • Do you have the right people to deploy your strategy?
    Do you have the right team in place? If not, what skills do you need in any new employees you hire?

  • Do you have the right financial capital to execute your strategy?
    Where is your funding coming from? Do you understand your short-term and long-term funding requirements, and how different funders may play a role?

Stage 4: Understand the aspects of scaling your business

  • Do you understand your business’ strengths and areas of development?
    ELITE’S Growth Compass identifies 10 key dimensions of growth: people, operations and processes, innovation, financial management and access to finance, digitalisation, growth strategy, risk management, market orientation, corporate governance, internationalisation. Have you logged in to ELITE to assess your strengths and development areas?

  • Do you have a plan to improve on your development areas?
    Have you come up with a concrete action plan for 12 months, three years and five years down the line? What are the most important areas to focus on? Have you prioritised those key areas of development by time?

Stage 5: Seek help and advice

  • Have you spoken to businesses like yours?
    Whether through an organised programme like ELITE, or by talking to other businesses at networking events, sharing challenges and ideas with like-minded entrepreneurs can help you grow.

  • Have you learned from respected businesses or sector leaders?
    Do you have a mentor you can run problems by? Do you attend talks by industry leaders? Are you part of a professional network?



Formulating your strategy shouldn’t be a top-down operation. By making your employees co-strategists, you’ll unite your team behind the final goal. And that alignment is so important – without it, executing the strategy can become chaotic. Umerah Akram Head of ELITE UK and International

Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.

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