Episode 7

Navigating growth during a slowdown: A playbook for scale-ups

As someone who lives and breathes growth challenges, Shelly Perry reflects on prior recessions, and the differences between them and shares her key learnings about the impact of recessions on businesses and their people.

Shelly Perry CEO & Managing Director at Scalelogix Ventures

Episode 7

Shelly Perry - Navigating growth during a slowdown: A playbook for scale-ups

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In today's episode, Vikram welcomes Shelley Perry, the CEO and Managing Director at Scalelogix Ventures, which is a company focused on guiding scaler founders and leaders to navigate their growth stage. As someone who lives and breathes growth challenges, Shelley has a lot of wisdom to share in terms of playing the scale game, making smart bets, and coming out of a crisis stronger. Vikram and Shelley start the conversation by reflecting on prior recessions and the main differences between them. Then, Shelley goes on to share her key learnings about the impact of recessions on businesses. According to her, there are some significant opportunities to pursue during these slowdowns, both for businesses and their people.

Next, Shelley shares an interesting analogy that she calls 'the messy middle' in which she compares business scaling to those complex teenage years when you want to be both an adult and a child. But as she points out, when it comes to scaling a startup, you have to first spend some time being a child in order to develop the business properly. Then, once it’s up and running, you can finally be an adult. Then, Shelley shares some key takeaways regarding startup scale and growth. She says that if you want to grow your company, you should listen to what the data tells you and learn from it as much as possible. Finally, she suggests laying out all the puzzle pieces, making a conscious choice of your next business moves, and always keeping your finger on the pulse on your business.

The Finer Details of This Episode:

  • Looking at the recession through different lenses

  • What we can learn from prior recessions

  • The messy middle analogy

  • Scaling a startup by looking at what the data tells us

  • Having constructive conversations during tough times

  • Understanding that everything in your business is tightly connected

  • Letting go of the old to make room for something new

  • Laying out puzzle pieces and making conscious business choices


"First, I love a good challenge, and I think that even high growth is a challenge, right? It's stress. And now we look at this, we take a situation and say this recession is bad, versus saying there are opportunities and everything."

“I think that's what we can learn from the last recessions and not look at it so much as doom and gloom, but an opportunity because it certainly is an opportunity. We have to change our lens. And we have to slow down to speed up."

"I think that what the best way that I can give an analogy is that as you're scaling up you have to kind of spend a little bit more time being the child, develop some things, a little bit less time being the adult and during the last decade of boom we will push through this and be an adult.”

"All of us can make our best guesses, we can make our best educational guesses on what the historic data is telling us, what the market's telling us. But in the end, we cannot predict what we don't know. And I always want to start a scaler to look at the data, because it's a confirmation of the hypothesis they made for where they were going to put the resources.”