At Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), we help entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey learn and achieve new levels of leadership by providing the knowledge, skills and resources to grow and scale their operations. We asked EO members for their tips and insights on scaling successfully. Here’s what they shared:
What are your top 3 tips for scaling a business and achieving growth?
When it’s time to go all-in and start scaling your business, entrepreneurs must be ready to do just that―go all-in. Otherwise, don’t do it at all. Running a successful business is a 24/7/365 endeavor. You need to be truly passionate about what you’re doing. Passion makes success possible. It can never be about the money or the endgame. It needs to be about the joy of the journey.
If someone thinks to themselves, “I want to be an entrepreneur,” they aren’t. It’s like saying, “I want to be funny.” You either are or are not. It is a behavior, a lifestyle, part of who you are. Not a label. Not something you become.
So when you find yourself to be hungrier and more agile than the next guy, you find yourself in a state of perpetual forward motion, willing to continually challenge the status quo, then you have built a solid foundation on which you can scale.
- Believe in yourself. This is not necessarily always the same as having confidence. Know in your heart it is time–not because someone else told you or because you need money or tangible outcomes–but because you know the time is right.
- Bring a positive outlook, a sense of humor and a healthy dose of happy to reinforce this confidence. Confidence is cool. And everybody digs cool. Your team needs this outlook if you expect them to follow you into battle.
- Be keenly aware of your strengths, but more importantly, know your weaknesses. Be vulnerable and ask for help from the right people when you need it. No entrepreneur can scale alone. Be firm and decisive, yet willing to adapt and open to feedback. Be a good listener.
― Matt Doud, EO Baltimore, Founder, PlanitAgency.com
- Know your customer. I always used to say, “Where do your customers live? Where do they play? What do they read? What do they watch?” Go inside the mind of the customer to make sure you are tailoring your approach to them.
- Listen to your customer. So often, I watch a salesperson simply talk and make a presentation, but realistically, the best sales approach is “consultative.” That means listening first. Ask lots of questions and get a sense of the customer’s concerns―and then present a solution tailored to them.
- Be a Purple Cow. Seth Godin wrote a wonderful book about creating unique products, and I agree with him! Don’t even enter the marketplace unless you can share something phenomenally new and different.
― Sarah Endline, EO Brooklyn, Founder, RIOT Strategic Advisory (Riotsa.com)
In our experience, scaling starts with thinking of everything in terms of opportunity cost. We scrutinize what we are saying “yes” to and whether that activity generates the highest return on time. If not, we don’t do it or get it off our plate by automating and delegating.
In the automation and delegation phase, we focus on positioning full-time staff as strategic managers of low-cost, outsourced resources versus being the “doer” of the task. We use “as-needed virtual assistants” from all over the world with specific talents at very low cost. The level of expertise and experience this on-demand workforce offers is very surprising and at your fingertips nearly 24/7.
Finally, we use a strict goal development and execution framework in 90-day cycles with short and crisp weekly accountability meetings.
In my opinion, agility is the most critical characteristic for any entrepreneur or business and these three elements are central to our ability to scale and remain nimble.
― Brad Stevens, EO Atlanta, Founder, MyVABlueprint.com and BradStevensTraining.com
- Know your “why.” I spent the first 10 years of running our agency trying to grow when I was really just trying to survive. I didn’t have a clear vision of where I wanted to be and when I needed to get there, so every opportunity looked like a good one.
- Learn what you’re not very good at and fire yourself from those jobs. As entrepreneurs, many of us think we’re good at everything, so it’s difficult to delegate. When I took the time to understand and embrace my strengths and weaknesses, I realized that I needed to methodically fire myself from many daily responsibilities.
- Convert past success into predictable outcomes. Once you know what you’re great at, make that experience repeatable by documenting your processes and then lock those processes in with systems that create predictable behaviors around them.
― Aaron Lee, EO South Florida, Founder, IlumaAgency.com
Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) helps the world’s top entrepreneurs learn and grow through peer-to-peer learning, once-in-a-lifetime experiences and connections to experts. Discover EO today at www.eonetwork.org !