10 Ways to Scale a Business from Startup to a Huge Company, According to These Titans
Growth tips from people who've done it successfully themselves.
It’s one thing to start a business and another to scale it. Here are ten tips for massively growing your company from leading entrepreneurs and Advisors in The Oracles who have done just that.
1. Create a sense of urgency.
You need three things to scale a business. First, hire well so you can delegate. You’ll never scale if you have to handle everything yourself. Second, pick your battles. Don’t spend days deciding on things like the perfect logo color — your brand will evolve anyway. Focus on acquiring more and bigger customers. You want volume and margin; so start hunting for big game, not mosquitos.
Third, create urgency. Set specific timelines for action and achievements. One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is not operating with enough urgency. You’re in a marathon, but it includes many sprints. Start winning the little races and you’ll create momentum! —Grant Cardone, sales expert, who has built a $750 million real estate empire, and NYT bestselling author; follow Grant on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube
2. Solve your customers’ problems.
Providing real value to your customers is powerful. Its importance cannot be overstated. Offering a solution to a real problem that people care about will make it much easier to run a business.
Canva is proof of this. Within the first month of launching in 2013, we had more than 50,000 people sign up to use the platform. Six years later, we’ve grown to over 15 million active monthly users across 190 countries who have created over 1 billion designs. —Melanie Perkins, co-founder and CEO of Canva, which is valued at over a billion dollars
3. Become a master at selling to your avatar.
Many people will tell you to hyper-focus on a niche market, like health care or real estate. I disagree. Focus on the process, not the industry. For example, we identified processes for products at different price points, and for one-time services versus monthly services. Figure out a system and a checklist that works. Once you have a process for one industry, you can apply it to others. Then you can scale because your team is doing the same thing repeatedly, so they become experts.
Similarly, learn to sell multiple things to the same person. Get really good at selling to a specific client “avatar”; then you can sell other relevant services to them. —Patch Baker, founder and CEO of Mobius Media Solutions; former U.S. Marine, with a mission to help people leave the military today and not feel abandoned tomorrow
4. Focus on operations, belief, and leadership.
First, become clear on the best way to pursue the opportunity. Then, perfect your operations with measurable, systematic processes you can replicate consistently. Understand what contributes most to your impact at a granular and macro level and maximize that in everything you do. This also requires a best-in-class team and concept or product.
Pushing yourself and others to new levels requires challenging your beliefs about how big and impactful you can be. Belief energizes you and your team to work harder and smarter. It is the catalyst to thinking, doing, and being more. Belief leads to action, which leads to results; so the higher you believe, the higher you achieve.
The “secret sauce” that allows you to grow may be difficult to transfer to others; so ensure your people are aligned and committed. Your culture must embrace personal growth and transparency. Align individual team members’ successes with your objectives. Teach them to break through their limiting beliefs so you can conquer your shared mission together. —Brandon Dawson, serial entrepreneur and co-founder and CEO of Cardone Ventures; founder and CEO of Audigy; host of “The B Dawson Show” podcast; connect with Brandon on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn
5. Surround yourself with others who have done it.
Technology replaces roles we once needed to hire for and speeds up the growth process in many ways. But scaling your business in 2019 is no different fundamentally than it was 50 years ago.
My best advice is to surround yourself with others who have done it. They have already been there, made mistakes, and paid the price. At first, you will need to pay to get in the room with them. But the life-long friendships and partnerships are worth every penny. —Josh Steinberger, founder and CEO of NextGen Restoration; principal in Driven Acquisitions, a holding company that owns and operates apartment buildings in Ohio; connect with Josh on Facebook
6. Create an irresistible company culture.
An amazing culture creates huge growth. Magic happens when everyone is empowered to “own” their domain. Give your team permission to experiment intentionally and celebrate innovation and collaboration. When leadership asks for coaching from the team, this 360-degree accountability builds respect and camaraderie.
Success requires physical and mental stamina, emotional intelligence, and powerful habits that are reinforced daily across the organization. Clarify why you exist as an organization, then define measurable goals to achieve that purpose. That’s how you become fiercely focused. To truly realize the power of a unified vision, translate it into a shared vocabulary like a mantra, phrase, cheer, or rallying cry. —Peter Hernandez, president of the Western Region at Douglas Elliman; founder and president of Teles Properties
7. Master traffic and sales.
After scaling two businesses past seven figures and helping dozens of clients scale up to nine figures, I believe it comes down to your sales pipeline and traffic. If you can create an unlimited number of potential customers and convert them with a sales funnel, you can 10x your business quickly.
Focus on your team, core product, customer experience, customer service, and internal systems. Once you have those fundamentals dialed in, level up to the more advanced tasks that add up, like reducing expenses, improving the average order value and customer lifetime value, and streamlining automation. Expand horizontally with more offers and vertically by selling more of the 80/20. —Rudy Mawer, founder and CEO of ROI Machines and RudyMawer.com; Facebook marketing and ad expert, who built a multimillion-dollar business by age 26; connect with Rudy on Instagram
8. Identify your focus, cadence of accountability, and process.
I grew my real estate business, Teles Properties, 10x in five years before selling it to Douglas Elliman. When I reflected afterward, I identified 37 lessons I learned, including three core pillars: singularity of focus, cadence of accountability, and good process drives good results. This is now part of the foundational formula for scaling that I teach the CEOs I mentor.
Having a singular focus is transformational because it rallies you and your team around a big aspirational goal. Ruthlessly filter everything you do with that goal in mind. Cadence of accountability is about reducing that big goal into monthly, weekly, and daily activities, then tracking your progress to drive momentum. The hustle and grind will only leave you tired and resentful. Systems drive scale, which is why a good process will always drive good results. —Sharran Srivatsaa, CEO of Kingston Lane and mentor to top entrepreneurs; grew Teles Properties 10x to $3.4 billion in five years; follow Sharran on Instagram
9. Find a way for everyone to win.
Our call center business was competing with another company for the same customers. Instead of looking at them as a competitor, we saw them as a partner. Our platform lacked their tools for tracking and measuring results, but our sales performance was better. So we offered to use and pay for their platform if they helped us grow our business. Together we focused on putting the client first.
By doing what was best for the client, we performed better and gave our clients better reporting tools. As a result, both companies generated more revenue than we could have separately. We grew 6,994% and went from 100 to 1,000 agents, making number 27 on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing companies. Going from $3 million to almost $15 million was great for us and our new partner, but we also helped our clients see unparalleled success in the U.S. Hispanic market in the process. — Craig Handley, co-founder of ListenTrust and author of “Hired to Quit, Inspired to Stay”; read more about Handley: Why These Founders Train Their Employees to Quit
10. Think big.
Have a vision so big that it becomes magnetic and excites your team to help you accomplish your desired results. Then continue to evolve and think even bigger. Culture is key. Create a workplace where people have fun together, support each other, and grow together, and no one will want to leave.
Hire and fire for your vision. In the beginning, I was hiring for survival. Since then, I’ve learned that if you hire ahead of your needs, you can outpace all of the competition. This was difficult for me to learn: you must also make hard decisions along the way. Some team members who are valuable at one point in your business won’t grow enough to stay valuable as you evolve. Don’t wait to let them go. —Keri Shull, founder of the Keri Shull Team, which has sold over $2 billion in properties; co-founder of real estate coaching business HyperFast Agent; named one of America’s Best Real Estate Agents by REAL Trends; connect with Keri on Facebook
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