Department of Management and Entrepreneurship

How to Build a Start-Up that Scales

Professor Dr. Michael Sauter
Assistant Esther Moosauer

Johannes Brieler

Target Group Undergraduate students completing a Bachelor degree (BBA)
Course Language English


Students are required to register in KSL for this course. Registration is open from September 1st, 2023 to September 26th, 2023. The number of participants is limited (max. 30).


Students attending this course must have completed the “Einführungsstudium”. It is strongly recommended that you already have completed the course “Strategische Unternehmungsführung”/”Strategic Management”.

Students should be proficient in English and should have a strong genuine interest in the topic of entrepreneurship and startups.

Teaching Approach and Performance Evaluation

The course will be taught weekly. There will be group assignments throughout the semester and presentations at the end of the term. Detailed information will be provided in class.

Regular attendance of the classes is required. Taking the course online without attending classes is not possible.

Course Description

This 12-lecture series equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the critical knowledge and skills to build a scalable startup. From idea validation to go-to-market strategies, the course covers essential elements of business growth. Students will develop a comprehensive scale-up case study throughout the course, culminating in a presentation and potential prize. Guest lectures from successful entrepreneurs provide real-world insights, enriching the academic framework.

Learning Outcomes

By taking this course, students will be able to: 

  • Gain a foundational understanding of what scalability means for startups and the key success factors involved.
  • Learn how to validate a startup idea through market research, including identifying target customers and analyzing competition.
  • Acquire the skills to ensure that a proposed solution effectively addresses a well-defined problem, understanding customer pain points and value proposition.
  • Master the art of crafting a business model that not only suits the market but is also scalable.
  • Develop skills in using key performance indicators and data analytics to make informed decisions for scaling a business.
  • Learn various strategies for business growth, from organic to inorganic methods, including global expansion.
  • Through the development and presentation of a scale-up case study, apply the theories and strategies learned in the course to simulate real-world startup scaling scenarios.


Teaching Approach and Performance Evaluation

Course materials will be available on ILIAS.

Tentative Course Overview (subject to change)

 Date Time  Topic & Reading assignments          Room 
Friday, September 29 10:00-12:00

Introduction to Startup Scalability

  • Importance of scalability for startups – Intention to Grow
  • Success factors for Scale-ups
  • Value Creation in Fast Growth
  • What this course will cover
Seminarraum 111, Engehalde, E8
Friday, October 6th

Idea Validation and Market Research

  • Importance of validating your startup idea
  • Identifying target customers and competition analysis
  • Market cycles and relevant trends
Seminarraum 111, Engehalde, E8
Friday, October 13

Problem-Solution Fit

  • Ensuring your solution matches the problem you're trying to solve
  • Value proposition and customer pain points
Seminarraum 111, Engehalde, E8
Friday, October 20 10:00-12:00
Building a Scalable Business Model

Revenue models and business structures that support growth

Seminarraum 111, Engehalde, E8
Friday, October 27 10:00-12:00

Product-Market Fit

  • Importance of finding a match between your product and your target market
  • Indicators of Product-Market Fit
  • Strategies for achieving and measuring Product-Market Fit
  • Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and customer feedback loops
Seminarraum 111, Engehalde, E8
Friday, November 03 10:00-12:00

Customer Acquisition and Retention

  • Strategies and metrics for acquiring and retaining customers
  • Importance of customer lifetime value
Seminarraum 111, Engehalde, E8
Friday, November 10 10:00-12:00

Data-Driven Decision Making

  • Scaling Metrics  - Identifying KPIs
  • Using data analytics for business decisions
Seminarraum 111, Engehalde, E8
Friday, November 17 10:00-12:00

Strategies for Growth

  • Organic vs. inorganic growth
  • Expansion strategies
  • Local to Global: Scaling in the International Context (Going Abroad and/or start as born-global)
  • Using growth metrics and frameworks
Seminarraum 111, Engehalde, E8
Friday, November 24 10:00-12:00

Go-to-Market Fit

  • Developing a go-to-market strategy
  • Identifying and prioritizing sales channels
Seminarraum 111, Engehalde, E8
Friday, December 01 10:00-12:00

Team Building and Leadership

  • Importance of team and leadership in scaling
  • Scaling Up Resources: e.g., Human and/or Financial Resources (Hiring and Leading)
  • How to attract and retain top talent
Seminarraum 111, Engehalde, E8
Friday, December 08 10:00-12:00

Financing the Scaling/Growing Business

  • External funding options
  • Budgeting for scale
Seminarraum 111, Engehalde, E8
Friday, December 15 10:00-12:00 Summary and Action Plan for Growth

Key takeaways and steps for implementing a scalable strategy

Seminarraum 111, Engehalde, E8
Friday, December 22 10:00-12:00 Group Presentations Seminarraum 111, Engehalde, E8