Ready to scale?
Fresh back from Ernst & Young’s Strategic Growth Forum in Palm Springs. And yes — ready to hand deliver key wisdom to empower your entrepreneurial growth.
After rubbing elbows with the likes of Justin Gold, Founder of Justin’s; Seth Goldman, Co-Founder of Honest Tea; Ali Brown, Founder of Elevate and Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder of $1 Billion in revenue Chobani, I have secrets to share with you.
Let’s start right now with these 5 crucial leaps to scale up your business.
Listen — if world dominant Ernst & Young focuses on these 5 steps in their mentorship program to take entrepreneurs from small potatoes to billion dollar companies, you might want to pull up a chair to take notes.
But a huge word of warning first — please do not attempt to scale your business unless you’re truly sitting on a thriving second-stage business.
Too many entrepreneurs believe they just need ‘more awareness’ to ace business success, when in fact, they have nothing of value to bring to the market in the first place. It’s like marketing guru Dan Kennedy famously quoted; “If your business stinks, the last thing you want to do is get the word out about it”.
So nail your ‘secret sauce’ first using proven startup methodologies and strategies, then scale your sweet-smelling business following these 5 crucial steps:
Step #1: Think Big; Act Bold
No — this doesn’t mean delusional daydreaming. It’s of virtually no use for anyone to sit around imagining themselves as the next Bill Gates sitting on a $100 billion stack of cash. But if you have a $5 million business, why can’t it be a $50 million company? Or better yet, how can you strategically go from $50 million to $500 million? This is thinking big.
Of course, again it’s of no value to just sit there and ‘think’ about it. You have to take bold action. Surround yourself with the right team, mentors and connections; build strategies to reach your ‘big thoughts’, then pull the trigger. As the British SAS live by; “He who dares, wins.” Ulukaya started with an abandoned factory, some old equipment and a dream. Eight years later, he’s the proud father of a $1 billion dollar yogurt business. Nicely done Hamdi. Thinking big and acting bold.
Step #2: Build A Public Profile
Steve Jobs or Apple — which has the bigger imprint on your brain? Even if your answer is Apple, it’s only by the hair on your chinny-chin-chin. Jobs was a master at creating a bigger than life public profile. You need to do the same. We no longer live in a B2B or B2C world. It’s people-to-people (P2P) and because you’re the leader of your company, other people (read: customers, investors, advisors, strategic partners) want to know you. I cannot tell you how many business websites I come across where you cannot find even the basic information on the founder/leader of the business. If this defines your approach, shame on you.
Step #3: Work On Your Business, Not In It
Most struggling entrepreneurs I know fail in this one area more than others: they’re focused on the wrong things. Yes — we must get the work done inside our businesses. And yes — it’s important to focus on the details. After all, it’s small connected steps which get the climbers to the top of Mt. Everest. But here’s the rub — if you don’t focus on the key activities which move your business forward in a strategic way — you’re doomed to stagnate. Forever.
Grasp the importance of this point, get clarity on what core activities you need to be laser focused on as the leader and visionary, and then protect your boundaries around these actions. In other words, the house better be burning down for anyone to interrupt your actions of working on your business.
Step #4: Find And Establish Key Relationships And Networks
According to Ernst & Young, you can “catalyze your companies’ growth by building and fostering critical relationships.”
Put another way? It’s who you know. Period.
Yes — you need to know your stuff. You need to be stellar in your area of core competency and have deep domain expertise at what you do and the value you bring to your customers. But in the end, it comes down to connections. Perfect example? Entrepreneur Phyllis Newhouse, Founder of Xtreme Solutions. She told me a story wherein as a startup she cold called a very powerful and connected centimillionaire, jumped on a plane and showed up on her doorstep with this simple pitch; “you need to know me.” The result? “We went to $25 million (in revenue) immediately.”
Yes — it’s who you know.
Step #5: Evaluate Financing Options For Expansion
How do you go from $50 million to $500 million? You’re going to need some capital and it’s probably not coming from your rich Uncle.
“There are very few big businesses that are self-funded,” says Jeri Harman, a founder and managing partner of Avante Mezzanine Partners, with almost 30 years of experience as an investor. “Whether you want to expand your employee base, buy a new facility or develop a new product, one of the key elements in taking a company to the next level is knowing the kind of capital you need to support that growth.”
So what do you do? Get a Joel. Yes — according to Entrepreneur Michelle Marciniak, Co-Founder of Sheex, “you need a high-level finance person by your side.” In Marciniak’s case, it’s a guy named Joel who has opened up their eyes to the possibilities of growth and expansion. If you don’t have a Joel on your team, get one. Like yesterday.So that’s it. Five paramount steps you can take to scale. Do yourself a favor though: please don’t just scan this and think “oh, that’s a nice article.” If you do, then I’ve wasted my time. So instead, do something about it. I’ve just given you 5 pearls of wisdom delivered from the brains of billionaires. Now it’s up to you to take action. Go get ‘em entrepreneur…