Sports provides great metaphors and analogies for entrepreneurs. As a former athlete and coach, there have been 4 critical lessons that I've learned through my sports experiences that have been important in all the companies I've started or advised.
Too many small businesses, don't realize that change is inevitable if a company wants to grow. And that change, often, involves making hard business decisions that, just as often, impact customers. But how that change is communicated to them is critical.
Almost every entrepreneur, at one time or another, proclaims that their service and support is what separates them from their competition; what makes them special. But, too often, help desks don't help and customer support, doesn't.
Where you're going can't just be driven by where you've been, if you want to grow. What got you here, won't necessarily get you there. You can't manage today's (or tomorrow's) business through yesterday's eyes. For companies to grow they have to change.
Malcolm Gladwell published a book that should be required reading for all entrepreneurs - "David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants." In it are critical lessons for how you can leverage your size to achieve your own success.
First impressions count! They form the basis for opinions and feelings that can be difficult to change. First impressions are the foundation of reputations, whether for individuals or companies. And there are no "do-overs" for that first impressions!
An advisory relationship is critical for an entrepreneur during every stage of their business growth. An advisor should be somebody who holds you accountable, when nobody else can or will or tells you the unvarnished truth when you need to hear it.
When you're ramping your business, there's almost nowhere you wouldn't look for revenue. Even if you're very successful, you always have limited resources that need to be judiciously deployed. That means sales and marketing require careful planning.
"Going the extra mile" for a customer, often, is what defines the culture in many small businesses. But like in any relationship, the "love" has to go both ways...as does the respect and the responsibilities for the relationship to succeed and grow.
Launching a start-up is no small task.But how do you really get your young company ready for sustained growth, that is growth that is both dramatic and consistent over a significant period of time, and how do you maximize the potential for that growth?