I see it happen frequently in my CEO groups – Much of their success is measured by “growth that month”, and I don’t know if I agree.
What I have come to learn is that growth needs to come the right way. Here are 3 reasons why it’s better to slow down your immediate growth and set a greater foundation for future growth.
1 – Make sure it works on a small scale.
When starting my last three companies, I personally completed the tasks that I eventually wanted to hire for. I made the cold calls, I made the sales appointments, I did the customer on-boarding and any other “beneath the owner” tasks. I spent over a year perfecting this before hiring others to do the same. My colleagues, especially the ones with venture money, did quite the opposite. They spent most of their time scaling without ever themselves doing the field work. Doing all the foundation work allowed us to really figure out what the market needed and how to respond to clients and their behaviors with everyday issues. As I’ve scaled, I’ve always felt like the foundation was solid and all dollars spent scaling went to the right places. What’s the logic in throwing money behind something that you haven’t experienced or know works? What level of leadership do you display when you’re able to tell an employee related to ALL tasks in the company – “I did that, let me share with you my experience and what I learned from doing exactly the thing you are struggling with”.
2 – Focus on profits not just top-line revenue
Cash is king – We’ve all heard it, but less owners focus on it when thinking about growth. Forcing yourself to keep expenses low and creating a high-margin product is a much better long term win than scaling a low-margin product. I’ve always focused my team on creating extremely profitable revenue streams and what I’ve noticed is that “correct” growth always follows.
3 – You don’t know what you don’t know.
Isn’t it interesting that so many companies go under and then they say “I wish I knew 2 years ago what I know today.” Growth is all about balance. You want to push growth and sales at a rate that allows you to figure the needs of the market but also at a rate that the company can handle. One or two big decisions can take you under – Spending more time assessing those critical decisions can go a long way.
When you walk into the office today, think about the word “finesse”. Take a step back and think about how you can better your product, people and processes as you say “Grow Grow Grow!”
President, Grow Team
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