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.
Women have come a long way in redefining beauty to be more inclusive of different body types, skin colors and hair styles, but society's beauty standards still remain as high as we have always known them to be. In the workplace, professionalism is directly linked to the appearance of both men and women, but for women, the expectations and requirements needed to fit the part are far stricter. Unlike men, there exists a direct correlation between beauty and respect that women are forced to acknowledge, and in turn comply with, in order to succeed.
Before stepping foot into the workforce, women who choose to opt out of conventional beauty and grooming regiments are immediately at a disadvantage. A recent Forbes article analyzing the attractiveness bias at work cited a comprehensive academic review for its study on the benefits attractive adults receive in the labor market. A summary of the review stated, "'Physically attractive individuals are more likely to be interviewed for jobs and hired, they are more likely to advance rapidly in their careers through frequent promotions, and they earn higher wages than unattractive individuals.'" With attractiveness and success so tightly woven together, women often find themselves adhering to beauty standards they don't agree with in order to secure their careers.
Complying with modern beauty standards may be what gets your foot in the door in the corporate world, but once you're in, you are expected to maintain your appearance or risk being perceived as unprofessional. While it may not seem like a big deal, this double standard has become a hurdle for businesswomen who are forced to fit this mold in order to earn respect that men receive regardless of their grooming habits. Liz Elting, Founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation, is all too familiar with conforming to the beauty culture in order to command respect, and has fought throughout the course of her entrepreneurial journey to override this gender bias.
As an internationally-recognized women's advocate, Elting has made it her mission to help women succeed on their own, but she admits that little progress can be made until women reclaim their power and change the narrative surrounding beauty and success. In 2016, sociologists Jaclyn Wong and Andrew Penner conducted a study on the positive association between physical attractiveness and income. Their results concluded that "attractive individuals earn roughly 20 percent more than people of average attractiveness," not including controlling for grooming. The data also proves that grooming accounts entirely for the attractiveness premium for women as opposed to only half for men. With empirical proof that financial success in directly linked to women's' appearance, Elting's desire to have women regain control and put an end to beauty standards in the workplace is necessary now more than ever.
Although the concepts of beauty and attractiveness are subjective, the consensus as to what is deemed beautiful, for women, is heavily dependent upon how much effort she makes towards looking her best. According to Elting, men do not need to strive to maintain their appearance in order to earn respect like women do, because while we appreciate a sharp-dressed man in an Armani suit who exudes power and influence, that same man can show up to at a casual office in a t-shirt and jeans and still be perceived in the same light, whereas women will not. "Men don't have to demonstrate that they're allowed to be in public the way women do. It's a running joke; show up to work without makeup, and everyone asks if you're sick or have insomnia," says Elting. The pressure to look our best in order to be treated better has also seeped into other areas of women's lives in which we sometimes feel pressured to make ourselves up in situations where it isn't required such as running out to the supermarket.
So, how do women begin the process of overriding this bias? Based on personal experience, Elting believes that women must step up and be forceful. With sexism so rampant in workplace, respect for women is sometimes hard to come across and even harder to earn. "I was frequently assumed to be my co-founder's secretary or assistant instead of the person who owned the other half of the company. And even in business meetings where everyone knew that, I would still be asked to be the one to take notes or get coffee," she recalls. In effort to change this dynamic, Elting was left to claim her authority through self-assertion and powering over her peers when her contributions were being ignored. What she was then faced with was the alternate stereotype of the bitchy executive. She admits that teetering between the caregiver role or the bitch boss on a power trip is frustrating and offensive that these are the two options businesswomen are left with.
Despite the challenges that come with standing your ground, women need to reclaim their power for themselves and each other. "I decided early on that I wanted to focus on being respected rather than being liked. As a boss, as a CEO, and in my personal life, I stuck my feet in the ground, said what I wanted to say, and demanded what I needed – to hell with what people think," said Elting. In order for women to opt out of ridiculous beauty standards, we have to own all the negative responses that come with it and let it make us stronger– and we don't have to do it alone. For men who support our fight, much can be achieved by pushing back and policing themselves and each other when women are being disrespected. It isn't about chivalry, but respecting women's right to advocate for ourselves and take up space.
For Elting, her hope is to see makeup and grooming standards become an optional choice each individual makes rather than a rule imposed on us as a form of control. While she states she would never tell anyone to stop wearing makeup or dressing in a way that makes them feel confident, the slumping shoulders of a woman resigned to being belittled looks far worse than going without under-eye concealer. Her advice to women is, "If you want to navigate beauty culture as an entrepreneur, the best thing you can be is strong in the face of it. It's exactly the thing they don't want you to do. That means not being afraid to be a bossy, bitchy, abrasive, difficult woman – because that's what a leader is."