BY ERIC HOLTZCLAW @EHOLTZCLAW
One of the greatest secrets I have learned about entrepreneurs and their companies–it’s not about getting to the top anyway, it’s about the journey.
It is tempting to find a shortcut to success, but approaching your company growth slowly is the smarter way to climb.The aspect of my podcast I love the most is the knowledge my guests share. The stories of their journey remind me of what it takes to be successful.
A recent guest, Natasha Bolden from Phenomenal Events, a full service event company, shared the mistake she made founding her company. She said she “hired too quickly, bought too many supplies and engaged too many outside consultants too soon”.
Natasha said she tried to “take the elevator to success” and the “tumble down the stairs” was rough and unnecessary.
As a result, she is an advocate of slow company growth and her advice to other small business owners: take the stairs.
In my own experience, companies that take the stairs are more successful in the long run for the following reasons:
They Don’t Run Out of Steam
Just like running up several flights of stairs exhausts you, I often see investors pass on deals because the founders have spent too much money in too short a period of time. These companies are used to burning through cash at an alarming rate and end up gasping for air before reaching their full potential.
Ask yourself, what do I absolutely need to get my company to the next level? What can I delay, borrow or rent until I need to make a more significant investment? Once your company’s mindset is one of “spend”, it is hard to reverse that trend.
They Build Better Culture
The secret to baking a delicious pound cake is adding the eggs one at a time. If you try to put all of them in at once, your batter is runny and the resulting cake is dense and dry.
The same is true in building your team. You want to add new members at a nice, steady pace. In the beginning, each new person significantly impacts your company culture and future success. Getting new team members onboard and making sure they are a good fit takes time and should not be rushed.
They Put Out a Better Product
As a company founder, you need to be intimately involved in the development of a product or service to make sure it is of quality and it meets your customers’ needs. You short circuit necessary learning to future company growth when you hire others or outsource important parts of your business too soon.
Even large companies–Waffle House and Home Depot, for example–require their new hires to spend time on the front lines so they have an appreciation for direct customer interaction and can understand the business from the ground up.
They Appreciate the View
Earlier this year, I visited the Empire State building. To get to the top, you must take two sets of elevators. The line for the second set was long and I was offered the opportunity to walk the remaining flights off steps to the top. When I emerged from the stairwell, the view of Manhattan was just a little sweeter and I lingered longer because of the effort it took to get there.
Your business is just the same.
Putting the work in to get to the top helps you appreciate the view even more. One of the greatest secrets I have learned about entrepreneurs and their companies–it’s not about getting to the top anyway, it’s about the journey.