Growing

The Secret to Growing Your Company Faster and Easier

by Lisa Nicole Bell, Executive Producer, The American Dream Revised

Entrepreneurs relish the idea of the hockey stick growth curve – exponential revenue increases with all the trappings of success to match. We usually think of things like marketing and sales as the secrets to achieving the magical growth curve, but I’ve observed a secret of massive growth that’s constantly overlooked: leaders.

 

Think about it: a company and its team can only be as good as its leaders. You need to be able to identify, attract, and retain talent if you’re going to build a successful company. On top of that, you need to be able to develop that talent into leaders who can guide people under them to achieve the company’s vision and perform at their best.

 

So what does it mean to be a growth-inducing leader?

 

1. You are clear about your vision and objectives.

Poor leadership is often the result of a foggy vision. So, what’s your goal? Why are you in business? What’s the big idea behind what you’re doing? The more you can articulate this for yourself, the easier is it to identify opportunities to fully exemplify these things through company policies and your decisions.

 

2.  You know what’s important in a team.

Is it more important for you team to be creative or organized? Is it more important to be fast or perfect? The more you know what your values are, you can identify people who are the right fit for your company’s culture. When there is a values match between your company and your team, you’ll find everyone more engaged and more productive.

 

3. You lead by example.

Good leaders can articulate the vision and motivate people. Great leaders can embody what they teach and lead by example. As a leader, you have to constantly ask yourself if you’re setting the right example for your team. Your team will subconsciously follow your lead through your actions.

 

4. You delegate effectively.

I know this can be tough. As founders, we tend to think that nobody can do it quite like we can. But the reality is that there is probably someone who can do it better. Improper delegation leads to all kinds of problems like bottlenecks in internal processes and resentment from team members who are micromanaged. Make it a habit to constantly identify things you should be passing off to the team and empower them with the tools to do the job well. Then let them do it. You’ll be surprised what happens when you allow your leadership to do the managing for you.

 

This week, I encourage you to take inventory on yourself and your team. Are you doing the best possible job as a leader? Are you grooming leadership qualities in your team? Think about it and set some leadership-based performance goals for the next few weeks.

Tim Ferris on Getting Your Work Noticed

This post originally appeared on 99u.com.

It’s not an easy feat to stay on the New York Times Bestsellers List for four-and-a-half years straight, but Tim Ferriss is used to pushing limits.

In 2007, Ferriss transformed the world of book marketing with a grassroots campaign that gave his first book, The 4-Hour Work Week, mass appeal — all while detailing his adventures as a champion kickboxer, world record holder, entrepreneur, and more.

But there was one mountain that Ferriss still hadn’t climbed: how to find his way around a kitchen. The author couldn’t tell his basil from his parsley when he began writing his latest book, The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life.  But in typical Ferriss fashion, he traversed the globe interviewing top chefs. In the process he found a new model for efficient learning: pinpointing the best, copying their craft, and skipping all the unnecessary filler lessons that most courses begin with.

Your first book was about escaping the workaholic lifestyle to “find your muse.” Do you think it’s better making a living doing what you love, or to make a living that allows you to spend time doing what you love?

If you wake up on Saturday morning and go surfing to decompress for the week, that is different from having to wake up at six every morning Monday to Friday and take investment bankers out to surf. One is elective and one is mandatory.  Adults and three-years-olds are very similar, in that as soon as we have to do something, we start to resent it.

For instance with me, I don’t like to do a lot of speaking engagements like a lot of authors do. I just find it really boring.  I now only do two types: it’s either top price or free. If you realize that income is intended to ultimately improve your quality of life in some fashion, then it makes it easier to forgo some the fleeting, high-maintenance opportunities.

Adults and three-years-olds are very similar, in that as soon as we have to do something, we start to resent it.

 

How much real world experience do you need before you kind of go off on your own and create your own lifestyle?

I don’t think you need any real world experience. It’s a question of whether you want to learn the trial and error lessons on someone else’s dime or on your own dime. If you get used to a cushy corporate job and automatic money, it’s pretty tough to say: “I have to sell the car and get a smaller apartment because I’m going off on my own.”

How would you describe your writing process?

I do my best writing between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.. Almost every friend I have who is a consistently productive writer, does their best writing between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. My quota is two crappy pages per day. I keep it really low so I’m not so intimidated that I never get started. I will do the gathering of interviews and research throughout the day. I’ll get all my notes and materials together and then I’ll do the synthesis between 10 p.m. to bed, which is usually 4 or 5 a.m.

I will have a station on Pandora, and I will put a movie on and mute it in the background so I don’t feel like I’m in isolation. Then I jam. It takes me an hour and a half to get my brain into the flow of doing anything writing related. So once I’m in that flow, I will bleed the stone for as long as I can. If things are going well, I’m not going to stop until I nose dive. But if it goes for an hour-and-a-half and it’s like pulling teeth, then it might be time to go to bed.

My quota is two crappy pages per day.

 

It’s easy to say “don’t read a million blogs, don’t do this don’t do that” but it’s often really difficult to shut off and focus. What have you found that actually works?

Use RescueTime and trial it for a week, and try a low-information diet. Get a really cheap laptop that doesn’t have Internet connectivity and do as much work on that as possible. As odd as it sounds, go back to pen and paper. Because once you’re on the computer and distraction is a click away, you’re just like a rat with a cocaine dispenser. You’re going to get toasted.

You’re known for your grassroots marketing style. Do artists today have a responsibility to market themselves?

It’s 100% their responsibility. If you want to be a tremendous artist, and then expect people to beat a path to your door, you can try that. The fact of the matter is, it’s not going to happen unless you meet someone who makes that happen.

So you can make it accidental or you can grease the wheels of the universe and try to encourage those things to happen. In that case, guess what? You’re marketing. When people think marketing, they think of a cheesy sales guy. Marketing is knowing exactly who your customers are, and trying to get your product, your art to them. If you are creating art for yourself, well great, go live in a cave and do it. But if you’re doing it commercially and you have bills to pay, it’s not selling out to get your work to the people who most appreciate it.


Ariston Anderson is a writer and strategist based in Berlin, Germany. Follow her on Twitter @Aristonian.

When Outsourcing Is Not the Answer

There is no possible way to be prepared for every aspect of running your own business. It’s impossible, and recognizing that fact alone will probably be one of the biggest stepping stones to growing your business. For example, though I feel my education in psychology has helped to prepare me for running a business, dealing with people and marketing like a champion, I still didn’t know anything about packaging engineering three years ago.

That’s when I hired a marketing consultant. And while outside consultants can be irreplaceable to a business, they can also be a disaster waiting to happen — not to mention a big waste of money, which you hardly have to waste. Continue reading “When Outsourcing Is Not the Answer”

How to Build a Strong Company Culture, from the Inside Out

While there are a few companies that come out with revolutionary products or services, the majority of non-technical businesses rely on branding and customer service to excel. The brand that provides the best client service and elicits the best emotional experience is often the one clients will choose, at least in the long term.

The question is, how can you offer the best possible client service even if, in reality, you’re offering the same product or service as your competitors? Continue reading “How to Build a Strong Company Culture, from the Inside Out”

3 Steps to Reinvent Yourself After a Business Disaster

From 2001 to 2007, I worked as a message architect and storytelling consultant. This was my brainchild and labor of love. I worked with big brands on high-stakes innovation initiatives. A few years in, the business was growing.

When I added my wife to the company as a business partner, I envisioned we’d become a dynamic duo — living together, working side by side, and traveling the world. One day, perhaps, it would evolve into a family business, with our future kids sharing in the legacy. Continue reading “3 Steps to Reinvent Yourself After a Business Disaster”

13 Overlooked Tax Write-Offs for Entrepreneurs

QUESTION: DOING MY BUSINESS TAXES, WHAT’S ONE THING THAT ENTREPRENEURS OFTEN OVERLOOK THAT CAN BE INCLUDED AS A WRITE OFF?

Continue reading “13 Overlooked Tax Write-Offs for Entrepreneurs”

The 3 Things Your Friends Should Know About Your Business

When it comes to business and career advancement, we often discount one of ourgreatest resources: our friends. Our friends and peers may know our general profession, but they rarely know the specifics of what we do. They don’t need to shadow you on the job, but your social network should at least know who you serve, how you serve and how well you serve. Continue reading “The 3 Things Your Friends Should Know About Your Business”

What Do You Look For in a Bank Before Setting Up a Business Account?

ASK YOUR TRUSTED ADVISORS

“Your business attorney or CPA should have a bank recommendation that is a great fit for your business. Invest the time to find the bank that provides the services that are most important to your business; that has a business banker who is knowledgeable, cares about your business, and is responsive to your requests; and that provides great service at reasonable, market rates.”

– Doug Bend | Founder/Small Business & Startup Attorney, Bend Law Group, PC

13 Marketing Strategies to Get You Out of that “Famine” Cycle

 

Many new business fall into the common cycle where they have a lot of business and then it dies down; a lot of business and then it dies down. You get the point. This is referred to as the feast or famine cycle. The major cause of this is that owners tend to stop marketing during the time period where there is a lot of “business”. When things have died down, they start to market again and quite honestly, it’s actually the worst time to market.

Continue reading “13 Marketing Strategies to Get You Out of that “Famine” Cycle”