If you were to pick your number one secret to fast growth, what would your secret be? Would you choose something like
- Marketing automation
- Hiring a superstar sales team
- Systematizing your entire business
- Finding an outside source of capital to accelerate growth
- Building a top-notch executive team
- Developing a consistent and predictable marketing machine
- Building a well-known brand
- Engaging in more paid advertising
- Moving toward recurring revenue
- Finding an urgent need that wants to be solved
- Or something else …
For me, I think the number one secret to fast growth should be related to the number one problem that hinders the growth of every single business on the planet … the person at the top of that business (in this case, you).
Now, that’s not meant to be personal. If you’ve heard me talk about this before you know I always say that being the person at the top of a business or organization is always a good news/bad news story. On the good news side, you are the primary driver of your business’ success, but on the bad news side, you are also its primary bottleneck.
It doesn’t matter what size your business is. This is always true. Your business could be $500K, $5M, $50M, $500M or $5B … the reality is it could be larger, except for you.
Why is this always true?
“Because no business or organization can consistently perform at a level beyond the capacity of its senior leader.”
If you current capacity is that you can lead a $2M/year business, that’s where you’ll stay stuck, until you grow your capacity to lead, let’s say a $5M/year company. Because you now know how to lead a $5M/year business, you’ll make the kinds of decisions necessary for your business to grow to $5M and then you’ll get stuck there until you develop the capacity to lead a $6 or $7 or $10M/year business.
This is why every year, businesses that aren’t growing, let their CEOs go. It’s also why, every year, sports teams that aren’t winning, let their head coaches go. Why? Because they know that to get to the next level, they need a leader who’s able to lead to that next level. Someone who has to capacity to function at that level before the rest of the organization.
If this is true (and it is), then it just seems to make sense that the number one secret to scaling any business fast should be solving the capacity problem of the person at the top (i.e. you), who’s the primary bottleneck for growth.
So, what can you do to change you so you can break through your current growth limitations? What can you do to increase your capacity in order that your business can scale faster this year? To help you get there, here are three ideas worth considering.
I. Put Learning Time On Your Calendar Every Day
Rick Warren is the pastor of one of the largest churches in the US, Saddleback Community Church (they average over 26,000 people per week. To put this in perspective, the average NBA game draws a little over 17,000). The church started with him and his wife, Kay. So, how does someone go from a “one man show” to leading a massive church using multiple sites and hundreds of staff? I heard him give the answer back in the early 90’s. He said,
“Years ago I stopped worrying about growing my church and instead focused on growing me. The more I grew me, the more our church grew.”
That’s the key. And it’s true for all great leaders of great companies. As Marshall Goldsmith said in his classic book, entitled, “What Got You Here Won’t Get Your There,” you can’t rely on what you know today to get you to the next level.
Basically, if you had the capacity to lead a larger company, your business would be larger now. But it can’t because you’re still leading the way you led before. You’re still thinking the way you thought before. You’re still working the same way you did before, etc. If you want to get to the next level, you have to grow your capacity to lead at that level.
Think about it. How did you think a college dropout and druggie (Steve Jobs) ended up growing the most profitable company on the planet? It wasn’t because he knew how to lead a multi-billion dollar a year company when he was a 20 year old college dropout. It’s because he committed himself to continuous learning.
The practical way any small business leader can do this is by putting their learning time on their calendar. Years ago, I remember hearing Tom Peters say, “You = Your Calendar.” As soon as he said that I thought, “He’s right.” What’s on your calendar reflects your priorities and what you do most will determine who you’ll become.
In other words, if you want to scale your business, you have to get bigger. And the way you get bigger is by calendarizing your learning. In essence, you have to make a commitment to continual learning—to forcing yourself to change how you think, act and feel so you can move from one set of limitations to the next (just at a higher level).
My top recommendation for doing this is to block out your learning time at the beginning of the week. Look at your calendar every Sunday evening (or first thing on Monday morning) and block in at least ONE HOUR PER DAY for learning (and one hour is a minimum, not a maximum).
You could pick the same time every day (e.g. 10:00 a.m. or 3:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. at night at home). Or if your schedule doesn’t allow a consistent time every day, block in at least one hour every day for learning. Plus, feel free to add more time on the weekends.
So, the key question for you right now is, when will you block out your one hour per day for the rest of this week?
Note: If you think this is outrageous standard or practice, here are a few reference points
- Warren Buffett reads 500 pages per day
- Mark Cuban reads 3 hours per day
- Mark Zuckerberg reads 2 books per week
- Bill Gates reads 50 books per year
- The typical CEO of a Fortune 500 company reads 4-5 books per month
Looking at that list, it seems like there might be something to this practice of continual learning …
II. Shore Up Your Weaknesses
I know this cuts against the grain of a lot of leadership and management thinking these days but stick with me for a moment. If you want to sell a lot of books or get a lot of views on YouTube or TEDx, tell people what they already want to hear (i.e. run with your strengths). Who would want to argue with that? Do more of the stuff you love and don’t do the stuff you hate. That’s a great recipe for clicks and sales.
However, that is not how winning is done. You can’t just focus on strengths. Why? Because it’s not strengths that normally take businesses and leaders down, it’s weaknesses. For example,
- The business leader who can sell all day long … but doesn’t understand cash flow
- The business leader who knows every penny that’s spent … but doesn’t understand how to market well
- The business leader who loves to cast vision and motivate people … but can’t execute on time and under budget
- The business leader who knows how to build a great product … but doesn’t understand supply chain management
- The business leader who can get stuff done … but leaves a trail of relational wreckage everywhere he walks
You see, it’s not strengths that usually hinder growth, it’s weaknesses. The best visual I can come up with for you is a wooden bucket with twelve slats of wood of varying heights in a circle latched together. Let’s say one slat is 6 inches tall and the remainder are at least 8-12 inches tall. What’s the capacity for how high the water can go in that bucket?
Despite the fact that 11 of the 12 slats are at least 8 inches high, the water will come gushing out of that bucket as soon as it reaches 6 inches. Why? Because capacity is limited not by strengths, but by weaknesses.
This is why every year when football teams go to the draft, they don’t say, “Hey, we’ve got a great quarterback and several receivers, let’s draft more of them.” No, they say, “Since we already have a great quarterback and receiving core, where we’re in trouble is our linebacker and defensive back crew.. Let’s draft some of them.” In other words, they draft to their weaknesses, not to their strengths, because that’s how winning is done.
Winning is done when you run with your strength but you shore up your weaknesses.
The reason I’m focusing this point on shoring up weaknesses is because, by default, most of us will focus on our strengths. That’s a given. If you love leadership, you’re going to study more leadership. If you love marketing, you’re going to study more marketing. If you love finance, you’re going to study more finance … by default.
Which is why I always encourage business owners and entrepreneurs to be intentional about shoring up their weaknesses. Why? Because by nature, most of us will avoid dealing with what we’re not as good at and spend more time doing what we’re naturally good at.
However, as a business owner/entrepreneur, you can’t afford to do that if you want to build a great company. People on your team can be specialists. But as the person at the top of your business, you can’t do that. You have to be good at a lot of things. If you’re not, those things (those weaknesses) will hinder you and your company.
So, what areas do you have to be good at as the person at the top of your company? Well, here at Wired To Grow, we use a scale model to remind us of those areas
In essense, you need to be great at twelve different areas.
- Customer Service
- You (in terms of your growth and productivity)
- Cash/money management
As you look at that list (or diagram), what do you think are your biggest weaknesses? And what can you do to shore them up?
Whatever you answers are, make sure that shoring up your weaknesses is a part of your learning plan for this coming year. Personally, I recommend focusing on shoring up one weakness per quarter. This way, by the end of a year, you should make significant progress on shoring up four areas that were weaknesses that now aren’t. When you add that to your natural desire to run with your strengths, you’ll be in a much better position to scale your business to the next level.
Note: please don’t mishear me. I’m not advocating that you focus all your attention on your weaknesses. That would not be a recipe for winning. Winning is done by running with your strengths while shoring up your weaknesses.
III. Join BizScalers
This may sound self-serving, but hang with me for a moment. If it’s true that your business is held back by your capacity and if it’s true that it’s your weaknesses that limit your capacity, then it would seem to make sense that the solution to scaling your business faster would be to find an educational resource that could help you increase your capacity by shoring up your weaknesses, while encouraging you to run with your strengths. If. that is true (and it is), then you should check out the new BizScalers Club
Having coached business owners and entrepreneurs for over a decade now, I’ve noticed some inherent problems with the current options for getting help in solving this capacity problem.
- Courses are helpful but they only focus on one sliver of your job (let’s say, leadership or marketing or sales or a subset of one of those, like using LinkedIn to generate sales).
- Most courses are usually 6-8 modules long and that’s it. They’re not updated. And there’s no way to interact with the creator or other course takers so if you have a problem six months or three years from now, you’re on your own.
- When it comes to coaching, the inherent problem with coaching is that it’s a reactive relationship. Your coach asks you, “What do you want to work on today?” And then you work on that. Few coaches have an intentional program that they’re leading you through to help you get to the next level. It’s reactive, not proactive.
- It’s rare to find a business coach who’s really good at all the different hats you have to wear. A sales coach tends to see everything as a sales problem. A leadership coach thinks everything is a leadership problem. A productivity coach thinks everything is a time management problem. A marketing coach thinks everything is a marketing problem. Etc. The problem with this scenario is that your job isn’t one dimensional.
- Finally, all of the above tends to get very expensive. Decent courses for business owners and entrepreneurs tend to cost between $997 and $1,997 per course and decent business coaches run between $500 to $2,500 per month (also known as $6,000 to $30,000 per year)
So to solve all of these problems, along with your primary growth problem (i.e. your capacity) and to do so at a very reasonable price point, I decided to create the BizScalers Club, a membership community which solves all of the above and then some. No longer will you have to try to find a new course every time you want to solve a problem or increase your capacity. You’ll just go to the BizScalers Club where you’ll be able to find the answer. I’ve already pre-loaded it with over 50 hours of video content (plus audio versions of that content) and I’m adding more every week.
Now, if you’re wondering, “What do I get if I become a member of BizScalers?” you’re going to love all that you get.
- Access to every core course currently available (over 50+ hours at launch). Plus, it’s not modulated so you can access anything and everything all on day one.
- A new training course every month with detailed, step-by-step instructions and frameworks
- A monthly live Q&A call (along with a vault of past Q&A calls, starting with my beta group) to ask questions, share wins, get material reviewed, etc.
- A private member’s only forum (that’s not on Facebook) to ask me and other members questions
- A huge vault of documents and templates (over 150 at launch) that you can download and use immediately
- Expert interviews on key business owner and entrepreneur topics
- Shorts – quick videos in response to member questions that I think everyone can benefit from
- Leadership Lessons from the Trenches – weekly inspiration for becoming a better leader
- Access to our campaigns and tests so you can learn from them and model them
- Accountability quads
- Member only discounts to future eventsPlus, you know we have some bonuses …
- Bonus #1: The Becoming Scalable Implementation Program (yes, the same one that currently retails for $1,997 comes included with your membership … and yes, that’s an outright bribe to get you to try the BizScalers Club)
- Bonus #2: Delegation Mastery
- Bonus #3: Personality Type Leadership
- Limited Bonus #4: For the next 50 members, I’ll gift two, one-on-one, 30-minute help calls with me.
How cool is that? And all at a very reasonable price point.
So, if you want to scale your business faster this year, why don’t you check out the brand new BizScalers Club and then join me and other business owners and entrepreneurs as we scale our businesses together!
You will not regret it. I guarantee it.
To your accelerated success!
P.S. Remember, the sooner you increase your capacity, the faster your business will scale. So, don’t wait or waste time. Check out the new BizScalers Club right now and then join us today! You literally have nothing to lose and everything to gain.