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April 13, 2021

The difference between a small startup and a successful, profitable company typically boils down to time and experience. However, there are certain factors that play a big part in how those companies grew to be successful — things like timing, developing the right team, a clear focus, and unflinching hard work.

Every large corporation was once a startup at some point; every Fortune 500 company started as an idea that had to be built and guided by a visionary and a dedicated team of pioneers.

Although statistics, researchers, and the media may attempt to convince you that the odds are stacked against your business and that the probability of failure is very high, there are plenty of opportunities to succeed. One of the best ways to steel yourself against the hard times and tough decisions is to study successful entrepreneurs and CEOs who have already blazed those trails.

They’ve learned the hard lessons and are willing to share knowledge that you can apply to fuel sustainable growth. Here are some insights from a few of them who learned how to overcome the odds and successfully scale their businesses.



Hire the right people

 "Surround yourself with the best people you can and give them an opportunity to do what they love to do best,” says John Stonecipher, CEO of Guidance Aviation. “Each one of my staff and faculty are leaders themselves. I cannot succeed without them."

 When people are financially invested, they’re looking for a return on that investment. When your employees feel valued, they become emotionally invested and they want to contribute. Peter Collins, CEO of A2B Tracking, talks about a time when his company was going through a significant growth phase.

 “We didn’t have stated company values at the time and it was hurting us, especially as we hired on new employees. To make the conversation meaningful, I invited one or two employees from every division of A2B. We wanted to make sure we included everyone. Soon we had left-brainers working with right-brainers during a brainstorming session and they provided great results! We ended up with five core values that are short and simple to understand.”

Today, we recognize team members quarterly for their achievement of these standards. The values adorn the hallways, live in our proposals, and on our website. They are the star by which we navigate.”

 Investment also goes beyond perks and benefits. Meet with key people throughout your company. Talk to employees and find out what resources they feel are needed to work better and more efficiently. Invest in the resources that will help them today and scale with operations as your business grows.


Plan for the long term

 During the lifecycle of your business, you’ve probably heard the word “plan” numerous times. There’s a reason for that, it’s imperative to your business, no matter what stage you’re at. To plan ahead, set realistic goals for growth. These can be quarterly or yearly goals.

This gives you time to prepare for upcoming growth. As you near these goals, research what resources or features you will need in your next stage.

To do this and do it well, we recommend linking your capital with each phase of your company’s growth. Begin by identifying when you’ll run out of cash. Then, work backward to define milestones and goals you need to hit and a timeline for when you need to hit them. This should give you a fully budgeted roadmap for moving forward and allow you to plan enough time for fundraising.


Determining your resources

As you grow, you’ll need to add resources to your toolkit, as you won’t be able to manage a large business entirely on your own. Resources for your business refer to both human resources and technical resources.

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples of when you might want to invest in human resource; If you are looking to ramp up your content marketing with a blog or website, you may want to consider hiring a competent content and/or SEO manager or freelancers who can scale your content and ensure you rank on leading search engines like Google.

Or perhaps you want to quickly build your community on social media. Consider hiring a social media manager who can curate posts, create captions, and drive engagement for your target audience across platforms like Instagram or LinkedIn.

For technical resources, let’s consider another example. With more customers, your customer support line has been receiving an overwhelming amount of calls. Implementing a chatbot on your website can help you attend to customer needs on the go.

Taking the time to see where you need help or where you can be more productive will help you prioritize what resources to invest in. Once you do invest in these resources, be sure to evaluate their performance to ensure you are getting value for your spend.

Image Source: Getty Images