Now that I have been in business for nearly seven years, I am convinced that companies both grow and fall fast. Getting rich quickly doesn’t exist. And if you somehow make fast capital, your background and experiences put you in a place to make sure you don’t blow it and you can properly feed that money back into your company.
Entrepreneurs were born to compete. We look around and we get jealous when we see other companies doing so well; but then we look at time-proven brands and people and we realized all the hard work that has gone behind their successful standings. Fast growth from competition is rarely sustainable; but if they follow the right path of planning, people, and places, then profits will come.
You can climb fast, but you won’t grow fast — and data will prove it.
When listening to a brand’s growth strategies, I frequently hear lofty goals. It usually comes in the form of a few hundred units to be added over the next three to five years, or a few million dollars in incremental revenue. In theory, this sounds great: Your brand jumps from 50 to 100 to 200 to 300 to 500 locations, and you are instantly considered an explosive, hot brand. But the odds of this happening are slim, even with a superior product, territory availability, profit potential and leadership. It will require something that you cannot own, but rather must inspire: people.
That one secret ingredient is vital to the success of growth, but it’s often missing from brands. Executives of companies skimp on the investment in people, which ultimately places limitations on their growth projections, visions or dreams. It is not processes, products or market availability that stunt this dream growth, it is people. And, most importantly, the wrong people.
When you look at companies that grew fast and maintained that growth structure for a consistent basis for many years, you will notice that although there may have been a visionary at the center of the idea, he or she was paired with a great wing man — someone to implement — and then an army of supporters. That army of supporters is the separator of good and great. Those believers are how you truly grow your organization.
Think about Facebook. The social network was simply an idea that needed all the right moving pieces of a strong organizational chart in order to take off: someone to ideate, someone to build, someone to market, someone to operate and someone to sell. As the users continued to improve, the leadership team had to constantly reinvent the org chart to build the next team of people who could step one position up in a moment’s notice.
Many companies, as they are preparing for rapid growth, may invest heavily in product or service, which is fine. But that isn’t necessarily the top investment need. Think about this: If you invest in customer service process first, rather than the right people to support it, what happens? You become budget-strapped for the people, which ultimately forces you to hire the wrong people, which ultimately makes you provide subpar service, which ultimately makes you lose customers. It wasn’t your process that screwed you up, it was the wrong people in the wrong seats.
While planning is the first critical ingredient to building ultimate profits, it can only work when you have the right team to implement that process.
With No Limit Agency, we have had many periods of sustained growth, nothing out of control and nothing too slow. Our ramp-up of people has come as we have digested our historical data and used it as the baseline for predicting our growth moments. When we are projecting to have an increase in revenue, we then start recruiting in the right people. Right people, as I have said before, are always a crap shoot, as you don’t know 100 percent if someone is going to be the right fit based on a paper resume and an interview process. But, if you can find a way to expand and improve your internal team before adding external business, you ultimately end up investing in your people process before investing in your service execution and end up providing great service with the right people in the right seats.
It certainly is not an easy process, though. Finding the right people is challenging, because they are sought after by every other company that is on a path to hire great people. But, if you carefully construct your puzzle and constantly think about growing as if you were a startup with a sound leadership team, the changes you make will impact your business in a waterfall sort of way: Great people equals great work which equals strong profits which equals great validation which equals great people — and on and on.
When preparing your business plans or personal goals, think about people first and profits later. Your business plan’s focal point should be on the people you will need for you to help tell your story. Your personal plan’s focal point should be focused on adding more personal supporters. People are who make the world go round.
See how Sylvan seeks to find the right people as future franchisees.