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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Hastings

How to Effectively Scale - Leading Acquisitions and People, with Richard Quinn



Are you looking at scaling your business through acquisitions? My special guest, Richard Quinn, is here to share strong insights about this subject. Richard has worked on seven acquisitions with a combined transaction value of $400m in a 3-year period.


Some critical topics that Richard and I covered in this episode are:


  • When scaling through acquisition is the best option

  • Challenges and focus areas when scaling your company

  • What to look for in a company that you may acquire

  • What could be holding your company from scaling

  • Leadership qualities that you must cultivate now to scale your business


Click here to listen to the episode


Richard is the Managing Director of Hahei Consulting Ltd. He was the Chief Operating Officer of Kpler, a fast-growing data analytics business of the commodity markets.


Episode Outline and Highlights


[02:10] Richard’s journey to the C-suite role.

[03:26] Key focus areas when scaling a company.

[08:41] Case Study - scaling up Trustpilot.

[13:58] What you need to focus on when scaling.

[17:00] Insights on mergers and acquisition - when is acquisition key?

[21:00] What are the things you should be looking for in a company that you might potentially acquire?

[24:30] How to proceed with a smooth integration during mergers and acquisitions.

[33:27] Insights on restructuring the leadership team.

[39:40] Trust building, clarity, and setting of expectations.

[49:15] What could be stopping companies from scaling?

[57:09] Leadership qualities for someone who looks into scaling and acquiring.


Focus Areas and Challenges When Scaling a Company


Richard has worked with companies that have successfully scaled and this gives him clear insights on the challenges scaling can entail. Understanding common obstacles can give you an advantage if you also plan to scale a startup or expand a thriving business. “Scaling is one of the buzzwords of the industry,” says Richard. “On a tactical level, that is often hard to define and describe. As a leadership team, you are looking to scale and are being given the challenge to scale by the board. One of the first steps is ‘What does that really mean for us?’”.


Key focus areas and challenges surrounding them that we discussed when scaling are as follows:


  • Clarity on the purpose of scaling.

  • Strategic prioritization - Managing your priorities to meet the definition of a priority.

  • More people don’t always deliver growth.


Richard also shared a valuable case study on how he helped scale the sales and marketing operations of Trustpilot.


When to Consider Acquisition to Scale


Richard also had the opportunity of working in various merging and acquisition activities of seven companies with a combined transaction value of $400m in a 3-year period. “Through M&A you can get access to assets faster… or cheaper… than if you would to build them.”


Richard shared key insights that will answer the following questions:


  • When should a company seek to grow through acquisition?

  • What are the things you should look for in a company that you will acquire?

  • What are the challenges that you may face when scaling through acquiring?

  • How do you proceed with a smooth transition when merging companies?


Richard shared golden nuggets of wisdom based on his experience. Some of the things worth pondering are understanding when acquiring is the key, how the history of the organization and its team culture play a great deal as acquisition factors, and how to proceed with a smooth transition, especially when restructuring the C-suite leadership team.


What Could Be Holding You from Scaling?


The tech industry has a number of startups with great products that are not getting success commensurate with the quality and usefulness of what they have developed. What could be holding some companies from scaling, stopping them from achieving their potential?


“There is a contextual element to each one of those and multiple reasons why things aren’t working…” Richard gave clues to look at what you should be looking for: is it the product market? Is it the price point, or design, or is it the sales pitch? You will most certainly find Richard’s though on this matter insightful. He also shared what leadership development areas you need to look at if scaling your business is in the pipeline.


About Richard Quinn


Richard Quin is an accomplished professional with a diverse and impressive career in the tech and analytics industry. As the COO of Kpler, he was responsible for leading critical functions across the business to ensure smooth operations and continuous improvements. Prior to that, Richard served as Chief of Staff for Trustpilot a customer review platform in which he contributed to strategic transformations of the business leading to growth ahead of their London listing in 2021. Richard's expertise in scaling operations and driving business growth has made him a sought-after advisor and consultant.



Would you like to be a guest?


Book a time to speak with Rebecca: https://calendly.com/rebeccahastings/discovery-call


Connect with Rebecca


Rebecca has extensive talent and executive search experience supporting digital and technology businesses through complex changes and fast-paced scale-up periods. She works with businesses advising on C-level, technical, sales and commercial appointments, workforce planning, strategic talent management, recruitment processes and associated technology and employer brand development.

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