Imagine this scenario: you wake up one day to find that your product or service has become phenomenally successful. Wal-mart may have agreed to carry your products in your store, or your press release may be picked up by several major publications.
What will your next step be? Well, you can either grow the company at a regular, normal rate (and try not to get excited over your initial success) or, you can push it to take off like a rocket.
If you shoot for the stars and use the new opportunities, you’re in for a thrilling ride filled with high-stakes risks and rewards. Welcome to the world of hypergrowth.
Here are the ingredients you need to grow your small business and blast off to incredible success.
Success begins in the mind. You, as the business owner, must totally and completely believe that your product or service will be a smash hit. Blast off; burn rubber and leave your adversary in the dust. You must have a vision so clear, so big and bold that it’s alive and three-dimensional at all times. Stay focused on what you’re trying to attain. Envision your future clearly. Accept as inevitable the successes you will achieve. “I will succeed” should be your mantra – and your employees as well (if you have any). You also need to be able to communicate this vision to anyone and everyone. More importantly, your vision should be based on solid ground. Know, beyond any doubt, that you will triumph.
If you aren’t continually 150-percent excited about your vision, how can you expect people to follow suit? Rekindle the flame daily; keep your enthusiasm burning. Remember, positive energy is contagious. Expressing this excitement on an ongoing basis will do wonders to bring your dream into reality. As your coworkers and customers climb aboard the vision, the spirit multiplies geometrically, and the group energy propels the company through both the good times and the challenges.
Share the vision.
Everyone from your chief operating officer to your receptionist should fully understand the company’s vision for the future. As Russell Johnson, Small Business Person of the Year for the state of Montana and President of Earth & Wood Craftsmen, Inc. advises, “To build a successful organization, you must surround yourself with talented people. These people must only share your visions for the business, but also your visions of life and your role in society.” Initiate programs in your organization that could help your employees imbibe your vision. You can place reminders of the vision everywhere – be it a poster, or even as screen savers. And don’t stop there–your customers and vendors will know about it, too. You want to build a vision with an identity that’s instantly recognizable. What is your equivalent of the golden arches or Nike’s swoosh?
The vision then must translate into goals. What must happen in order to reach the aggressive goals you are setting? This is a function of determined and focused planning where everyone owns the end result. Blasting your way to success does not occur haphazardly; it’s the result of creating and working a dynamic, forward-thinking plan. You’ll establish rigorous benchmarks, against which you will measure your company’s actual performance. By monitoring your plan against actual results on a frequent basis, you’ll be able to see early on if you’re going off course. As Patrick Joseph Stella, President and Owner of Fire Sprinkler of Nashville, LLC, advises, “As a small business owner, you will be pulled in a thousand different directions, but you must stay focused on your core business. The best way to maintain this focus is to plan ahead and to create your vision on paper. Planning will keep the fires small and help you eliminate some problems before they arise. If you make planning a standard part of your business operation, you will stay ahead of your competition and keep your business on the cutting edge.”
Cash to grow.
Hypergrowth takes a lot of money. You’ve learned about the working capital cycle, and what to do when you’re awaiting customer payments and you need to meet payroll. Hypergrowth is a different ball game. You’re nearly always going to owe someone something, so get used to borrowing on a regular, and often expensive, basis. Banks are not necessarily comfortable with the idea of companies growing at the speed of light, so you cannot rely on them as your only source.
On the other hand, if you’ve established a good relationship with your bank, and have played by the rules as a responsible borrower, you’ll have a greater potential for success with your banker. Remember the perspective of bankers: They’re looking for assurances that the loan advanced to your company will be paid back. In any case, the patchwork approach will be critical to your success in rapidly growing your business. You’ll rely on everything from bootstrapping to creative financing to get to your goal.
The best employees.
Excellence is virtually always a prerequisite for phenomenal growth. Think about it–how can you expect to achieve your goals if, for example, your attention to detail is sloppy or your investment in your people is minimal? In committing to hypergrowth, you’re committing to excellence. You’re sending the message that you’re going to be the best, and this will be reflected in all aspects of your business.
In a hypergrowth company, there’s no room for laggards. All of your employees need to be top performers who “get it” about your vision. One of the challenges facing small business is attracting the right people. Oftentimes, small business owners compromise, thinking that they will not be able to find anyone better. That perspective alone could stunt your growth. Objectively assess the skill levels of your staff, and make adjustments where necessary.
To develop the best employees, Rickey Price, the Small Business Administration’s Welfare to Work Small Business Owner of the Year Winner, advises: “Develop a culture for your company then train your employees and train them well into that culture. Training is the number one factor affecting the morale of your employees. It is only human nature for everyone to want to be the best they can possibly be at their job and to receive the reward and recognition for being the best. A well-trained employee who feel good about his job and is confident in the execution of his job is more motivated and more loyal to you and the company.”
A word about family.
Most business owners are already wrapped up in their businesses. When you want to propel your business to the next level, your involvement will become even more intense. Do your family a favor by sharing the dream with them, and explaining what you’ll need for support during this exciting time. As Magdalena Torrez, Owner of Ranchito Restaurant and Wyoming Small Business Person of the Year said,
“Be consistent in your product and in your hours. Know that it will take long hours of your own personal time and that if you have a spouse, they too must share the same dream. Because it is hard enough doing it alone.”
To increase your efficiency, take time to relax with your family —even if it is only Sunday brunch–so that you keep those relationships intact.
The decision to skyrocket your way to success is entirely yours. You’ll need an unwavering, strong desire that translates into action. Talk it over with your trusted advisors and business confidants before you start. Clearly assess all the risks, as well as the rewards. Then once the rocket takes off, hang on. You’re business will never be the same.
Recommended Books on How to Grow Your Small Business:
- 15 Ways to Grow Your Business in Every Economy
- Small Business Management: Launching and Growing Entrepreneurial Ventures
- Conquer the Chaos: How to Grow a Successful Small Business Without Going Crazy
- Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Entrepreneurial Businesses
- Growing a Business
- How to Grow Your Business Without Spending a Single Cent