Scaling a Business: Insights and Strategies from Scott Belsky

Jillian Flodstrom
3 min readApr 18, 2023


Scott Belsky, the founder of Behance, has built a career around the idea of helping creative professionals organize their work and find success. In his recent interview, he shared some valuable insights into entrepreneurship, product development, and leadership. As someone who has successfully grown and sold a company, his words carry weight and offer guidance for anyone looking to start or grow a business. Here are some key takeaways from his experience:

  1. A mission is important, but it doesn’t have to be medium-specific Belsky emphasizes that companies should have a mission, but they can be medium-agnostic. In other words, the way in which the mission is accomplished can be flexible. He cites Behance as an example — their mission was to empower creative professionals to make ideas happen, but the way in which they did that evolved over time. At first, Behance was a simple portfolio website. But over time, it became a platform for job listings, project management, and collaboration tools. The mission remained the same, but the medium changed as Behance grew and adapted.
  2. Product development and management are two distinct things. According to Belsky, there is a distinction between product development and product management. Product development is about creating something new, while product management is about refining and optimizing what already exists. He emphasizes the importance of both roles and suggests that they require different skill sets. In his experience, the most successful companies have strong leaders in both areas.
  3. Lead by example. Belsky subscribes to the philosophy of never asking someone to do something that he wouldn’t do himself. This means that as a leader, he is willing to roll up his sleeves and do the work alongside his team. This builds trust and respect among team members and sets the tone for a collaborative and supportive work environment.
  4. Create a product that is valuable to the customer. For Belsky, the most important thing in product development is creating something that is valuable to the customer. He stresses the importance of understanding the customer’s needs and pain points and designing a product that solves those problems. He warns against diluting the focus of the product by trying to be all things to all people. Instead, he suggests that companies should focus on their core value proposition and ensure that they are delivering on that promise.
  5. Choose the metric that matters most. Belsky suggests that companies should choose the metric that matters most for their business. For Behance, that metric was repeat monthly active usage. Belsky explains that this metric is important because it shows that customers are getting a lot of value out of the product. He also emphasizes that the metric that matters most can shift and change over time, so it’s important to be flexible and adaptable.

In addition to these key takeaways, Belsky offers some valuable insights into scaling a business. He suggests that companies should be optimistic about the future but pragmatic about the present. This means having a long-term vision for the company but also being realistic about the current state of the business. He also emphasizes the importance of focusing on the things that are working well and optimizing for things that people didn’t expect to grow organically. Finally, he suggests that a narrative around one central theme can help drive the entire company to set their own goals and reallocate their resources.

In conclusion, Scott Belsky offers some valuable insights into entrepreneurship, product development, and leadership. By emphasizing the importance of having a clear mission, creating a product that is valuable to the customer, and choosing the right metric to measure success, he offers guidance for anyone looking to start or grow a business. His advice is particularly relevant for creative professionals, but the lessons he shares can be applied to any industry.

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Jillian Flodstrom

👩🏼‍💼CEO of @fndinsurance 🎙️Host of Scale Your Small Business Podcast 💥I help individuals/small business owners protect their most important assets