You may not be the type that gets into New Year’s Resolutions, but to seriously scale a business, you have to develop your planning and measurement muscles. On the occasion not only of a New Year but a new decade, here are three resolutions you can make that will contribute to your success in building a $10 Million venture.
Resolution 1: Build a $10M-minded Team
When you operate a business with $1M to $5M in revenue, the CEO is often the mastermind of the operation. Even if you’re no mastermind, you are likely the chief motivational officer, and it was due to your direction, priority framing, and often relationships that your early growth came to be.
As you make the push to $10 Million in revenue, you are far more reliant on the daily direction and priority framing of the managers in your business. And there isn’t time for them to take direction from you, they have to have a plan and the ability to see their progress in it.
Resolve to assess your managers honestly. Do they know how to manage people? If not, develop them. Mentor them or encourage them to get a mentor minded in the way you want to grow. Send them to management training. SkillPath training is a few hundred bucks and covers a tremendous amount of the fundamentals you don’t have time to teach.
Do they know how to manage operations—like assessing the HR and financial resources needed to meet the plan? Do they understand the consequences of not making targets? Do they understand the trade-offs when you are off-plan? If your team hasn’t managed an operation, thinking in this way is a new experience. Take time to answer their questions and have them present their understanding to you. If they can’t present it to you, they can’t explain and manage toward the plan with their team either.
While industries differ in terms of the number of people needed to deliver $10M in revenue, none of them reach that scale without clarity within line functions and developed leaders overseeing them. Otherwise, you’re just a solopreneur with a really big team of subject matter experts and helpers.
Resolve now to build the team that will build a $10 Million business.
Resolution 2: Build A $10M Sales & Marketing Pipeline
Many companies can reach $1M or even $5M in revenue on a few key accounts. These accounts are often won and continually nurtured from the hard work of founders. To reach $10M in revenue, it is necessary to have a predictable pipeline that is continually being replenished.
On the marketing side, you need a strong business, a good product or service, a good reputation, and a brand that connects with customers. But all the marketing in the world won’t help you if you haven’t developed a scalable sales model.
The building blocks of a predictable sale pipeline likely include sales automation software, so management has a view into the number, size, and velocity of inbound opportunities. Don’t waste money overengineering software you won’t use. Find something simple enough to update and continuously evaluate your opportunities. I have used Copper and PipeDrive because they are easy to start using cheaply, and they immediately pay for themselves.
But don’t delude yourself into thinking that software solves all challenges. A great piece of sales automation software doesn’t do anything without a steady flow of quality leads going into it.
If you are a natural networker and opportunity creator, spend your time there. If you are not, hire a partner or a business development person. I know everyone always says these people never work out, but if new business isn’t someone’s primary job at this stage of your scale, you will never reach or sustain $10 Million.
Remember that the people charged with taking care of and growing your current accounts already do that for a living. If you have the right people managing that operation and managing your client’s day-to-day, they are farmers. On the way to $10 Million, you have to add hunters to the mix.
Resolve now to build a team of hunters and opportunists, and arm them with the tools to plot the path to $10 Million business.
Resolution 3: Visualize and act like a $10M CEO
When beginning to scale a business, we all fall victim to the emergency du jour. This deliverable, this HR performance concern, this referral opportunity, this new executive coach reaching out to me on LinkedIn, and the list goes on.
When in the initial startup phase, founders do a tremendous amount of vision work and put their energy into visualizing the business to be. It is absolutely critical at this stage of your growth to go back to the exercise of envisioning your future business.
Napoleon Hill said, “Thoughts are things, and powerful things at that, when they are mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence, and a burning desire…” When we allow ourselves to get drawn into activity to the exclusion of thought and vision work, we stop creating.
Scaling a business is a long-term proposition, and it requires you to look out into the long-term. It requires you to make moves today that will begin to bear fruit six months and one year from now, rather than tomorrow. It can be excruciating for those with an instant gratification mindset to do this kind of work, but plotting out what you’ll look like next year and the year after that is essential to getting there.
Be in the moment, but think in the future. See the future, believe it, and start moving things around until you can see it better. I found a great software called LivePlan that helps you lay in the pieces of your future business. I view it as a sort of Minecraft for founders.
One of the reasons this exercise is so critical is that you can operate with more forethought into who you need on your team, who you want on your client roster, and, most importantly, how you need to conduct yourself to get there.
Founders that make it to $10 Million in revenue, only about 2% of U.S. businesses, spend more time in their pipeline and planning software than they do on social media. Social media doesn’t pay you back like the investment in planning does.
This New Year’s Eve isn’t just the start of a new year; it’s the start of a new decade. Can you see where you’ll be at the end of it? Move the goalposts on your plan. Be a futurist. Be the kind of CEO that your customers know is producing value and that people want to emulate and follow. Be the kind of CEO that you want to read about in Forbes.
Resolve now to be a respected CEO of a great company with revenue over $10 Million in business.
Now go get your champagne flute, get in front of a looking glass and say it out loud:
I am building the team that will build a $10 Million business.
I am building a $10-million-dollar sales and marketing pipeline.
I am becoming a respected CEO of a great company with revenue over $10 Million in business.