As an executive coach, I get the opportunity to meet so many different types of entrepreneurs, and one of the many differences I get to see is level of ambition, drive and determination to achieve particular outcomes and meet growth objectives.
Every entrepreneur has their own definition of successful growth
Contrasting two business owners I’ve had conversations within the last 5-6 weeks, I think of one who is absolutely ecstatic that he will do about $8M-$9M in business this year. He is quite proud and delighted with that possibility, and I am happy for him. Yet, I am aware that it has taken him over 15 years to get there and I know several other business owners in the same industry that hit that mark in 4-5 years. In this particular industry, good business people who are using good growth strategies are growing at +50% year after year right now. This entrepreneur is quite happy with his slow and steady growth, cause from his perspective he is a very successful businessman.
In contrast, I think about another business owner who has been in business for only about 4-5 years total, and for whom I proposed a set of proposed minimum, mid-range and bold growth goals for next fiscal year as part of my business planning with the company. This business owner came back and challenged me, saying that the bold goal I initially proposed was his minimum and that from his perspective, anything less would be a failure for his executive team. This entrepreneur has every intent on dominating his industry, and there is no question in my mind that he will.
Key differences between rapid growth and slow growth for entrepreneurs
Now, growing a business is not as simple as selecting some large growth target and digging into your belief and watching it happen. Yet, belief, confidence and a willingness to go for it do make a big difference. I often get asked by entrepreneurs what the key differences are between those who grow rapidly and those who take the slow road. Keep in mind, there is nothing wrong with slow, steady growth, if that is what you choose. However, there are ways to become an industry leader and to dominate a market. So, what are the key differences I notice? Here are several:
- Entrepreneurs who lead rapid growth are coachable and curious, and always want to learn more. Others keep to themselves – they don’t ask and don’t share.
- Entrepreneurs who lead rapid growth put clear growth strategies in place with clear quarterly, annual and longer term measurable targets. Others fly by the seat of their pants.
- Entrepreneurs who lead rapid growth surround themselves by people who can run circles around them. Others need to be the smartest on the team.
- Entrepreneurs who lead rapid growth, while wanting to dominate their industry, also want to see others around them be successful. Others are overly competitive and only care about their own success and are even envious when others have success.
- Entrepreneurs who lead rapid growth utilize best practice growth tools that have been proven to lead to growth. Others think their own way is best.
- Entrepreneurs who lead rapid growth invite their team around them to hold them accountable for follow-through. Others are unwilling to be held accountable.
What kind of business leader are you?
Cameron’s call to action for entrepreneurial growth
- Evaluate yourself according to the differences above. Where might you benefit from some transformation?
- What are your growth plans? If you are frustrated at your year after year 10% to 15% growth trajectory and want to dominate a market, what are you willing to do about it?
- Reflect on what is holding you back from taking on an aggressive growth strategy. Are you too proud, not coachable, unwilling to become organized, unwilling to have those around you hold you accountable?
- From your reflections, choose one area to grow in this year and focus on it!