In order to take the leap from entrepreneur to enterprise, you must be willing to tear the pieces of your business apart and reconstruct them at a higher level that drives your growth. You must be willing to get out of your comfort zone and jump. Sure, it is scary, but these strategies will help you separate real fears from imagined ones, assess them carefully, and ultimately choose growth over staying still.
The Five Components of the SCALEit Method®
There are five components that are central in scaling your company: strategic vision, cash flow, alliance of the team, leadership, and execution.
S – Strategic Vision: Knowing where you are headed is crucial in order to figure out how to get there, yet most business owners don't have a clear destination in mind and — as you might imagine — this is a big reason why they flail about instead of remaining steadily on course. Your strategic vision — or “Big Picture Vision," as I call it — is your personal Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City. It is the inspiration that keeps you determined and moving forward, regardless of the obligatory rejections and brick walls you will face. Creating the right Big Picture Vision is the key to being able to successfully scale your business.
C – Cash Flow: Think of cash flow as the life force of your company. It ensures you are breathing and pumping blood to the core systems of your business so that they will thrive and grow. You must build a revenue-driven process that creates cash for your business on a daily basis.
A – Alliance of the Team: You, as the leader, are the visionary. It is up to you to attract and surround yourself with creative talent and how-to experts who can transform your vision into reality. That includes taking the lead to build a culture that aligns your team with your Big Picture Vision and feeds off your passion and energy.
L – Leadership: Guiding your team along with you on your Big Picture Vision journey means you must become the best possible version of yourself. If you want to expand your business by fifty percent, then you must grow personally by at least sixty percent to be able to attain that station, carry the weight, and then have the emotional, physical, and intellectual reserves to lead. Your own personal growth fuels the courage necessary to lead this mission.
E – Execution: Action is where all of your magic comes to life. Action is where you apply and perfect your Big Picture Vision so you can leap higher and higher in both profits and impact. Action, not perfection, is the true measure of how well you executed your best-laid plans. Contrary to what most entrepreneurs believe, miscalculations, mistakes, and course corrections are among the largest assets in your business. Failures are never really failures; they are doorways into much better things, if you react properly to them.
In building ten companies — four of which I sold — I know the high-highs and the low-lows quite well. I have weathered many breakdowns and dead ends on my way to the breakthroughs and the big wins. I would not trade one moment of those experiences — even the painful ones — because so many of my smartest pivots came from my darkest times.
Here's the deal. To get out of nowhere land, you must upsize your strategic practices, implement new marketing strategies, find new ways to build your team, and expand your mindset to break through whatever is keeping you stuck at the same level. You must believe in the deepest part of your being that you can build your enterprise, regardless of whether or not you know exactly how to get there at this moment. Then, you must be willing to take the leap into the giant unknown — to make your impossible possible.
Yes, it is a risk. But isn't anything you truly want worth such a risk? If your answer is no — if you are too afraid, too shy, too this, or too that — the alternative is that the dream you carry in your head will never be realized. To me, that is the saddest story of all.
So, ask yourself: Which is really the greater risk: going for it, or living with the regret of not having gone for it for the rest of your life? Even if you don't choose to take the risk, there is no guarantee the status quo will remain the status quo.
Things change. Markets change. You change. If you think sitting tight will “keep you safe," I suggest you spend some time thinking that through. If you don't make the commitment to build a new structure for your company, one of three things will most likely happen:
-You will squander opportunities to leap from entrepreneur to enterprise.
-You will be a sinkhole in your own growth and maybe even get swallowed by it.
-You will find your company disrupted by the latest innovation that you didn't see coming.
I don't want to see any of this happen to you — and it does not need to. All “can'ts" must be tossed out the window. You can achieve your dreams — and you will.
Scaling a business, like performing on a trapeze, requires a balance of will and skill. You become an expert at learning the right steps, tools, and principles — the central principle being that it all starts with you as the business owner, founder, and CEO. Everything starts with your decisions and actions.
I commend you for all of the accomplishments that have led you to this place. Business is definitely not for the faint of heart. Many give up before they even reach this point, and I'm sure you've had many moments of doubt. We all have! But your tenacity and spirit have gotten you here. Now, it's time for you to develop the structure, systems, roadmap, and mindset you need to propel you to the next level of growth. Once you let go of what is no longer working and what's holding your organization back, you will be able to enter into a whole new world of remarkable opportunities.
If you are a woman, a person of color or LGBTIA+ identified and are a part of a start-up company, this is the competition for you. The SoGal Global Pitch Competition is being hosted in over 25 cities and will culminate in a final contest in Silicon Valley as well as a "3-day immersive educational bootcamp." This could be an unprecedented opportunity for you, your business and for the future of entrepreneurial diversification.
We all know how important diversity is for the world and for any business entity. But the statistics need to catch up with these ideals, because diversity isn't just a moral imperative it can also have an impact on the success and efficiency of a business. So if the ethics isn't enough to get you interested, maybe these statistics will.
- Companies in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity are 35% more likely to have above-average financial returns
- Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have above-average financial returns
- Bottom quartile companies (in both gender and racial diversity) are less likely to achieve even average returns
- In senior executive teams in the US for every 10% increase in racial and ethnic diversity EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) rose 0.8%
Despite the fact that diversity is good for business, funding as a woman or a minority is incredibly challenging, but this competition could be someone's game-changing opportunity.
SoGal is a global education and empowerment platform focused on diverse investors and entrepreneurs. Their mission is "to close the diversity gap in entrepreneurship and venture capital." A tall order, given that 2.2% of VC funding went to women in 2018. Compounding the gender gap with race shows an even poorer picture: in the past decade only 0.1% (yes, that is a decimal) of funding was allocated to black women.
It is a straight up fact that companies with higher levels of diversity perform better, so why is it so hard for diverse start-ups to get funded? Oh right, racism, sexism, homophobia, implicit biases, inequality, classism... the list goes on, but thankfully that's where SoGal comes in! According to Kelley Elizabeth Henry, director of SoGal, "We're done waiting for these statistics to change; we're taking action to point investment capital toward these diverse-led startups. [...] We will change the future of entrepreneurship."
To enter this competition all you have to do is be a part of a pre-Series A startup (raised less than $3M) and have at least one "woman or diverse" founder. After you apply to pitch, you'll have to be able to make it to one of the "regional round location," which range from the more typical options of New York and Los Angeles to global locations such as Nairobi or Bangalore. And, if you're really playing to win, you better earmark February 28 to March 1 of next year, because that's when the top teams will be in San Francisco duking it out to the very end. And by "duking it out," I mean participating in "curated educational programming," talking to press and getting "facetime in front of top-tier investors." Though not everyone can win, the experience in itself looks to be well-worth the time it takes to fill out an application form and huff it to the nearest large city for the first round.