After 30 years of learning how to scale a company, I've learned most entrepreneurs and business owners are the same.
When I talk to other entrepreneurs for the first time, I like to start with the same question: Why did you start this company? The answers are as different as the people themselves. So, I drill deeper: Why is that important to you? Why this business and not another?
Eventually, after a few rounds of digging, everyone ends at the same conclusion: Freedom.
Ultimately, entrepreneurs' greatest motivation to start their business is freedom, be it financial, the ability to live wherever they want, own their time or the autonomy to influence the world in a way that matters to them.
My experience has taught me these three simple things you can do to gain more freedom.
1. Scale to Increase Impact
This could mean improving people's lives and financial wealth, generating new jobs and opportunities, or reaching a wider market. However you define impact, you learn that accomplishing these goals leads to satisfaction and freedom.
Start by defining your company and individual priorities as a team. Then, keep everyone aligned and focused by following up quarter after quarter. This is the easiest and most efficient way to reach your goals, and start scaling with discipline.
The fact is that you need methodologies and procedures as much as any other part of the business. A CEO needs to learn to prioritise, measure everything the company is doing and communicate, especially when an organisation is scaling.
2. Reduce Drama in Your Business and Life
With over 30 years of experience in business, I know drama when I see it. And how quickly it can spread from your company to your entire life. If you work until 2 am every night stressed over sales, you will likely wake up too tired to exercise or spend time doing the things you enjoy.
Here’s what I found works best. Focus on yourself first, then your team, then your company - in that order. You cannot help other people (let alone grow a company) if you are not well or in a position to do so. As soon as you find your work/life balance, you can focus on assembling the right team, equipping them to do their best, and letting them get to it.
Finally, once you and your people are on the right path, you will be in a stronger position to focus on your company and define your strategy as a team.
3. Design a Predictable Sales System
Too many entrepreneurs tell me they grew their business last year but cannot quantify it. They have not determined the company's valuation or even attempted to measure its impact.
While it may be apparent that they are making money, most don't even know it for sure, they are burned out, overweight, their family life is falling apart, or all of the above.
You need to develop a predictable sales system that produces the necessary cash to cover all fixed expenses. And as the company scales, so will your costs, making it essential to scale the sales system faster to continue to finance growth.
Sales need to become like a machine – run on their own, without your direct involvement, efficient enough to predict their output consistently and reliable enough that you can keep it going with just a little monitoring and maintenance.
Remember, you do not have to carry the company's entire weight alone. I have seen many talented entrepreneurs lose their confidence and give up. Know that others like you are looking to connect and help each other. Organisations like Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) and Young Presidents Organization (YPO) can help you meet other remarkable entrepreneurs, CEOs and thought leaders. Reach out and learn the dynamics of leading and scaling companies together.
Nobody said it's an easy path. There are no shortcuts in executing with discipline to gain freedom. To scale and enjoy the ride, you must create routines that deliver results and set you free.
The first step is to figure out your why. Why are you in this business? Why do you do what you do, and what do you want your impact to be? The answers will show you what you need to do and how to get there.