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This HR consultancy nearly 3xed its revenue in two years by using the Scaling Up platform

By Verne Harnish

Q-Sourcing Servtec, a human resources consultancy firm active in East Africa, has nearly tripled its revenue since 2021 using the Scaling Up platform. The company brought in more than $43 million in annual revenue in 2023, up from $15 million in 2021, while helping a growing contingent of small and midsized firms in East African countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. Q-Sourcing Servtec provides them with consulting and outsourced functions in areas such as people, productivity management and payroll. It also offers training for technical and vocational trades through its internal training arm, called The Assessment and Skilling Centre. 

CEO and founder Patrick Mbonye started the firm, originally called Q-Sourcing Limited, in 2006 after noticing how a shortage of skilled workers was slowing the growth of small businesses while consulting for the World Bank and United Nations Development Program. That company partnered with Servtec International Group, a French company that became a shareholder, in 2017, and is now known as Q-Sourcing Servtec.

Mbonye and his team began working with Scaling Up Certified Coach Elton Mutize in 2022 after watching a presentation he gave on cash flow. At the time, Q-Sourcing Limited faced challenges in this area, due to the variability of client payments and project timelines and limited access to financing. Mbonye knew he needed to address this as the company expanded into new markets and built greater brand recognition. “Seeking out a business coach or advisor was prompted by our desire to scale up our operations effectively and sustainably,” says Mbonye. 

The company’s efforts paid off, and today, it is working toward a BHAG of $500 million in annual revenue by 2030. “Overall, the Scaling Up framework transformed our organization by providing a comprehensive approach to managing growth, optimizing operations and achieving strategic objectives,” says Mbonye.

Tracking key financial metrics

With cash flow a priority, Q-Sourcing Servtec worked with Mutize to quickly begin using Scaling Up tools to track key performance metrics such as revenue, gross profit, net profit, operating cash flow, receivables and payables—plus the additional metric of cash reserves. That would help Mbonye make better-informed decisions about the company’s growth. Strategic planning sessions and regular management reviews became integral to our operations, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and accountability,” says Mbonye. “This structured approach to management and planning helped us align our team around common objectives and drive sustained growth.” 

As the company expanded its services to include training and assessment and grew its client portfolio, revenue growth picked up momentum. At the same time, its cash flow improved due to better management of payables and receivables, an increase in the percentage of pre-paid contracts and a three-month rolling cash flow template that told the team when cash would be needed two months in advance. The company also obtained credit facilities tied to contracts such as insurance-premium financing and factoring. Net profit margins improved as the company found operational efficiencies. “This provided the necessary liquidity to invest in growth opportunities and buffer against financial uncertainties,” notes Mbonye.

Q-Sourcing Servetec makes sure its financials are accurate by conducting both internal and external audits. “The results of these audits help us validate our progress towards our BHAG and identify any areas for improvement,” says Mbonye.

Streamlining strategic priorities

Working with Mutize, Mbonye and his leadership team crafted a growth strategy based on expanding the company into Southern Africa and digitizing and automating the company’s people management services into a software-as-a-service. 

The goal is to help the growing number of small and midsize businesses on the continent adhere to international business standards at a high level. The company has already acquired a freelancer management platform to support these businesses and is preparing to digitize its learning modules so they can be used more widely. Mbonye works with Mutize to track progress through quarterly business performance reviews. 

“The BHAG has ignited a sense of drive, ambition and determination among team members,” says Mbonye. “It has challenged us to think bigger and reach higher than ever.”

Creating a team built for growth

Another key foundation of the company’s growth has been the People side of the business. That started with its hiring systems. The company actively sought candidates with a track record of innovative thinking, commitment to excellence in their past work, teamwork, and empathy. It prioritized integrity in its hiring, conducting thorough background checks and verifying credentials. 

With an eye on promoting potential leaders, the leadership team introduced a set of robust performance metrics, looking at individual performance against targets, contributions to team success and consistency in delivering high-quality results. It introduced bi-annual and annual performance reviews to make sure team members remained aligned with its Core Values: integrity, excellence, teamwork, innovation, and empathy. “By quantifying performance, we can objectively identify those who excel in their roles and demonstrate a strong capacity for leadership,” says Mbonye. The company also evaluated team members based on leadership qualities, feedback from peers and clients, potential for growth and behavioral attributes. 

To ensure that its team members could grow with the company, Q-Sourcing Limited provided regular training sessions and workshops based on its Core Values. The trainings also provided practical examples and scenarios to help team members understand how to apply these values in their roles. Its performance reviews, ongoing feedback and bonus structure were also designed to reflect these Core Values. “By incorporating these strategies, we ensure that our team members not only understand our Core Values but also actively embody them in their work,” says Mbonye. “This helps us create a cohesive and value-driven team aligned with our organizational goals and commitment to delivering exceptional results. “

In addition, Q-Sourcing Limited has done succession planning to ensure that the company is in safe hands when it comes to business continuity of its leadership team. Mbonye has established a succession plan for the CEO position, together with other leadership roles in the company.

Meanwhile, Mbonye worked with Mutize to prioritize his growth as CEO, shifting his focus as a leader. “It now has become more strategic, and I now focus on the critical business growth KPIs,” he says. 

Emphasizing execution

As Q-Sourcing Servtec has grown, Mbonye has prioritized service delivery. His team has optimized internal processes to keep the company competitive. When data analytics showed and uncovered inconsistencies in the firm’s service delivery process that affected client satisfaction, the team added standard operating procedures in all departments, which improved efficiency, reduced errors, and enhanced service quality, leading to higher client satisfaction.

To make sure client satisfaction remains high, Q-Sourcing Servtec relies on a customer relationship management (CRM) system to ensure uninhibited communication, which has put in place dedicated roles for stakeholder engagement and client success.It all ties into the company’s BHAG.

“The BHAG has created a sense of excitement and energy within the company,” says Mbonye. “It has given us a shared vision to work towards, uniting us towards a common goal. This excitement has fueled creativity and innovation, as team members are eager to contribute their ideas and talents towards achieving the BHAG.”

That energy will be fuel to the company as it continues to scale up, allowing it to help even more small and midsize businesses.

Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish is founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and chaired for fifteen years EO’s premiere CEO program, the “Birthing of Giants” and WEO’s “Advanced Business” executive program both held at MIT. Founder and CEO of Gazelles, a global executive education and coaching company with over 150 coaching partners on six continents, Verne has spent the past three decades helping companies scale-up. The “Growth Guy” syndicated columnist, he’s also the Venture columnist for FORTUNE magazine. He’s the author of Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0); Mastering the Rockefeller Habits; and along with the editors of Fortune, authored The Greatest Business Decisions of All Times," for which Jim Collins wrote the foreword. Verne also chairs FORTUNE Magazine’s annual Leadership and Growth Summits and serves on several boards including chairman of The Riordan Clinic and the newly launched Geoversity. He is an investor in many scale-ups. A father of four, he enjoys piano, tennis, and magic as a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.