When businesses start out, most entrepreneurs have this phenomenal romance with the idea that their venture will grow to become huge. They dream about whether they’ll be the next Apple or the next Uber, when the sad reality is, very few businesses achieve that level of exponential growth.
Far too many entrepreneurs start their companies focussing around a single product or service, but to achieve exponential growth, business owners have got to think much bigger than that.
For the purpose of this article, I sat down with fellow business coach Monte Wyatt, who is writing a book on how businesses can achieve exponential growth.
“When researching exponential growth, there are so many things involved,” Monte explains. “It’s not about a product, it’s not about a person – it’s about the system that you build your business around.”
What is it that’s different about the companies which do achieve exponential growth?
“They have a clear strategy,” Monte states. “They know what success looks like and they know how they need to be structured for it.”
According to Monte, the very first question which every business needs to answer is:
– What is our business model?
“There’s got to be an opportunity in the market that they’re filling,” he explains. “There’s got to be leveragability in the service or product that they provide.”
What exactly does having leveragability mean for a company?
“It means that things can be duplicated,” Monte says, simply. “It means that you can get more done, with less effort. We operate in a world-wide market, so to truly have exponential growth, you have to be able to easily expand to other countries, markets and states. Without this ability, you’re not leveraged and will never achieve the growth you desire.”
This philosophy can be confusing for many business owners. Very often, the belief is that if you work harder, it will get you to where you need to be. In reality however, it’s often more about working smarter.
Why is it that most companies don’t leverage?
“Most entrepreneurs think of their new ventures as a job, when they should be thinking of them as a business,“ Monte states. “With a job, you’re getting done what’s right in front of you. When it’s a business, you have to step back and look at the whole world and think ‘where’s the opportunity? Where’s the market? How do we continue to grow every single day’?”
It’s an interesting point that Monte makes. So many companies don’t focus on these ‘big picture’ issues and instead, they spend all their time chewing on the small, day to day challenges. For example, a business owner may have a group of people surrounding them whom they’ve hired, however if they aren’t using their team efficiently and to their best potential, then the owner will end up still doing the same menial tasks that they did before they had employees.
As a coach, I find that what is missing from a lot of companies, is good leadership and management; these areas are often an entrepreneur’s biggest weakness.
“Every exponential growth business has both leadership and management,” Monte agrees. “Unfortunately, so many businesses out there are based solely around the owner or the leader, to the point where everything has to go through them. When everything needs to be fed through an individual, that person becomes a bottleneck. If you’re that bottleneck, you can’t make enough time to go after the things that need to be done to progress your business, because you have to have your hand in everything.”
“Part of being a leader is being able to give direction with expectations, and then allowing your team – empowering your team – to go forth and do that work,” Monte elaborates. “Successful business management is about inspecting what you expect; you can set up KPIs for every area so that you know that your team are doing the right things, without micromanaging every situation. Ultimately, you need leadership and management; if you don’t have both, you won’t be able to focus on what you need to achieve the exponential growth that you desire.”
Monte is right; to have good leadership and management requires discipline – which is something that most entrepreneurs lack. The very nature of the entrepreneur is that they love having the freedom to do a variety of things, but business needs routine. As business author and founder of the Entrepreneurs Organization, Verne Harnish says “routine sets you free.”
“It’s about identifying what our routines are in your business; routines should not be about a person,” Monte states, plainly. “Routines should be about the business. What routines for meetings are we going to choose to have as a as an organization? What routines are we going to have to review our progress and our numbers? It’s about the actions that create the results,” he explains. “If you create the routines around a person, they won’t be routines for very long. You’ve got to create routines about the business.”
Many business owners however, resist routine.
“I’ve got a client that I’ve been working with for three years,” Monte reflects. “One of the first things I suggested to them, was to start the business day with a ‘daily huddles’. That way, everybody would be on the same page, priorities would be identified, and the team would be inspired for the day,” he continues. “Well, they pushed back and pushed back, and it ebbed and flowed, it disappeared for a while, then it came back. Three years later, guess what? We’re right back doing them!”
Monte tells me that this resistance is often due to companies not understanding the importance of communication.
“The more businesses I work with, the more I’ve come to realise that communication is the toughest thing to focus on; it’s the most challenging thing that everybody misses, simply because they don’t understand how important it is.”
Monte hits the nail on the head here. One of the barriers that my clients put up when discussing incorporating routines and improving communication, is that they don’t have the time to, because they’re too busy.
“Good communication improves your time,” Monte states, matter of fact. “If you get the communication thing right, you don’t have people knocking on your door or pulling you aside in the hallway to ask for ‘just five minutes of your time.’ Once you get your communication on track, you can be more focussed, you can be more intentional.”
For anybody reading this article today, please understand that being the hamster in hamster wheel and running faster and faster, isn’t necessarily going to build this great business that you so desire.
Business author and wealth consultant Roger Hamilton says that, “sometimes to speed up, you’ve got to slow down.”
It really isn’t about how great you can be as entrepreneurs, but about how well you can build your teams. Few entrepreneurs really take the time out to make their people great, but it’s the ones that do, which tend to successfully grow their businesses.
“I was staying in a hotel recently and I watched the TV show Shark Tank,” Monte recalls. “The people who were selling to the sharks, they thought that they were selling a business, but they weren’t; they were just selling a product. None of them had businesses. They didn’t have a structure, they didn’t have leverage, they didn’t have predictability or scalability for that business. That’s what they go to the sharks for; to get those things.”
In summary for the entrepreneurs out there, here are Montes top five things that you need to do in order to achieve exponential growth:
1) You’ve got to have leadership and management. Leadership is caring for your people, empowering them to do their job and management is making sure they’re doing things right.
2) You’ve got to have a purpose that is bigger than profits. You’ve got to think ‘what is the impact that we’re making on the world?’
3) You’ve got to have continuous business development. You’ve got to have a system around how you’re marketing, how you’re selling and how you’re servicing the customer.
4) You’ve got to make sure that you’re developing your people and that team development has to occur every single day. No one, including us, have ever ‘fully arrived’; nobody knows everything and if you ever think you do, you’re already starting to die.
5) You’ve got to make it fun! I really believe that if you have fun in your business, people will want to work with you. If you’re the tyrant, nobody is going to want to stay working with you for very long. You’ve got to make it a fun environment. It’s all about the culture you create. You can guide, define and live your culture, but you have to choose a culture that’s best for the retention of people, for excitement about the future and for the organization you’re wanting to build.
The most successful businesses out there already have these things in place, but it’s not something that happens overnight; it’s a journey. The question you’ve now got to ask yourself is this: What are you doing to take that first step, on your business’s journey towards exponential growth?
If any of this has resonated with you, fell free to contact me.
Frequently Asked Question
How do you grow exponentially?
You must have a product or service that is scalable. There cannot be contraints in the manufacuring, supply chain or labour markets. If we look at the high growth businesses post pandemic, those who have solved the issues many businesses face right are the ones scaling with success.
When can exponential growth happen?
Such growth can only happen once many things are aligned. First and foremost the product or service must be scalable. Once this has been achieved then the business needs to have strong systems and processes in place. Without this in place exponential growth with be difficult often damaging a company’s brand and reputation.
How do you achieve growth?
First have a strong strategy for your business in place. The 7 Strata by Verne Harnish is a great tool to use when creating a robust strategy that yields predictable, consistent revenue growth.
What are some real life examples of exponential growth?
Companies in the digital space are the ones who have massively benefitted from exponential growth both during and post pandemic.
Only Fans grew by 9700% over the past 5 years. The majority of the growth happening during lockdown.
Other examples are Zoom, Stackblitz, Linktree just to name a few.
How can I get 10x growth?
Relevancy plays a big part here. StackBlitz were only founded in 2018 and have over 99X their business in 4 years. Being in the digital space has helped as businesses refine the business model transitioning to online.
Remember, failing to learn, is learning to fail.