#10 Mantras that will Help Your Business Grow Well Past the First Million
Learn from your own and others' mistakes and ask for help when needed
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Only 50 per cent of businesses make it to their 5th year and a staggering 70 per cent fail before they reach their 10-year anniversary. A major milestone that many startups chase is making their first million in revenue or gaining the first million subscribers. This magic number holds a special elusive charm for early-stage companies. So much is to be learned about the new venture before then. After reaching this mark, however, many owners find it easier to reach their next milestone and sustain their company.
Here are 10 powerful mantras that can help new owners get energized and moving valiantly towards their first million and sustain their business well past it.
1) Fall in Love With Your Business
Unless you are absolutely passionate about your work it is impossible to overcome the physical and mental challenges of starting the new business. Make sure you love what you do.
2) Know Yourself
Once you have committed to the mission of your business, you have to believe that you have what it takes to succeed in this venture. Your courage of conviction is going to inspire you to handle the twists and turns of your new business. You where you excel, what you need to learn and where you need to hire to cover your shortcomings.
3) Simplify Your Choice And Distill Your Focus
To steadily grow a business, you need a growth strategy. To execute on the growth strategy, you need specific priorities and area expertise. Gaining expertise is not possible with disparate ideas that compete for your attention, and most importantly, your meagre resources. Which distribution channel to pick, B2B or B2C, which shows to attend, which marketing channel or channels to invest in, which segment of customers to target? Most early-stage startups fall into the trap of being fickle and giving into too many diverse ideas when in reality they should do exactly the opposite. To do something extremely well, analyze your choices, pick the one that is most likely to help your specific business, under the present circumstances. Just because something worked for someone else, doesn't mean it may work for you. Know "your" business, simplify your choices and distil your focus.
4) Obsess Over Your Targets
Once you have decided on your growth strategy and are serious about growing your business, it's time to set high targets and create a careful plan to seize new opportunities. After that, you ought to live, breathe, eat, sleep and dream your targets. Such mad obsession gives you the strength and resilience to beat all odds that stand in your way.
5) Try: Perfect: Scale
Most entrepreneurs strive for perfection from the get-go. However, there are many firsts, so perfection at the cost of delivering a viable solution may not be wise. The secret is to try and get something done in the smallest viable form first, even if it is less than perfect. This could mean developing production line near-shore instead or acquiring customers at a higher than ideal cost. Once you have a solution in place, then it is time to perfect it and get it done right. Get all the details of your products and supply chain right or drive down your acquisition costs. Once you have perfected the solution, then it's time to scale. Once you are scaling, you may realize that the solution you implemented has its limits. This may require you to revisit the solution and iterate through the process from one target to the next.
6) Invest In The Right Mix Of People
One of the most important ingredients in business growth is having the right team at the right time with the right (complimentary) skill mix. Experienced people may not always be the right solution for a startup. They may be too expensive or may not be a culture match. Your first employees should possess basic smarts, high energy, skills to do the current job and be ambitious to meet your next level targets. In other words, hire individuals with the right attitude, complementary skills and headroom to grow to the next level or two with your business.
7) Listen To Your Gut:Back It With Data
Running a business is part art, part science. Every business and every problem is unique. You know your business best. Develop your snap judgement by relying on your gut. Believe in your intuition to guide you through tough problems. However always make sure that your decision is backed with key data points.
8) Don't Worry: Act And Wear Failure Down
There will be challenges, some seemingly insurmountable ones. Worrying about challenges will lessen your ability to meticulously plan your way out of them. IT IS SIMPLE. If you can change the situation that is causing the concern, plan and change it. If you cannot change the situation, don't worry about it. Just focus your energies someplace else where you can affect a change and forge ahead.
9) Plan For The Next Inflection Point
Say your focused growth strategy is showing results. Your business is scaling. However, each scale has its maturity level and growth will eventually stagnate. To keep growing you will need to plan for the next wave of the growth cycle. New product offering, a new channel or new geographies introduced at the right time will help diversify your portfolio and keep your business growing from one inflexion point to the next.
10) Stay Humble And Keep Learning ... Always:
If confidence is an entrepreneur's best friend, hubris is its worst enemy. Confidence is appealing and attractive to others. Hubris, on the other hand, can be a turn-off. It can also blur your vision and limit your reach. Staying humble keeps you on the path of learning, acknowledge and work on your shortcomings, learn from your own and others' mistakes and ask for help when needed.
Although we drive towards revenue targets we have to remember that revenue or the bottom line is only but one indicator of how successful a business is. By investing in yourself you can scale your current venture and hopefully many future ventures to great heights. We are lucky to be in a position to do what we absolutely love and make a difference. We must remember that the reward of entrepreneurship is the journey, not the end.