I founded Point It almost 10 years ago as a consultant. After a year, I hired my first employee. We’ve been growing steady over the years and have had a great run the last three years (nearly 100% growth). We now have over 20 employees. Here are some tips to entrepreneurs looking to learn from the lessons of others.
- Hire great people that can work together – This will make your life immensely more enjoyable, if not boring. But boring is good when it comes to HR, believe me.
- Work on the business not in it – It’s a cliché but it has certainly become a mantra for me. You can’t grow your business while spending the majority of your time on client issues.
- Delegate – I’m almost to the point where I’ve basically put myself out of a job by hiring the right people to operate the business. Of course, one needs to gravitate towards this as revenue allows; but the end result is ideal. Last year I took 3 months off and there were no business disruptions that pulled me away. Priceless!
- Find a good advisor – We were lucky to gain a great advisor early on. More accurately Tim found us (Tim Riley @ Goalmakers) and he’s helped get us through the good, bad and ugly; in style.
- Watch the money – It’s all too easy to get carried away with expenses. We keep an extraordinarily tight control on budget and forecasting which has put the company on an increasingly profitable path.
- Stay focused – But don’t be so inflexible that you can’t grow your service offerings. I think there’s a time and a place to be a specialist, particularly at the beginning of your growth cycle, and a time to expand.
- Be very careful hiring consultants – We’ve sunk money more than once on consultants that have provided little or no value; so take a hard look at what your consultant(s) can provide before hiring.
- Choose if you want to be the company persona or not – I chose not to. Others are and their companies are their personas. If they leave, or get hit by a truck, there goes the company.
- Find an understanding spouse or partner – Business headaches don’t stay in the business; they come home too. Make sure your partner can ride the ups and downs with you.
- Spread the news – As the founder, there’s great value in being the company evangelist. Make that extra effort to meet and greet. It’s well worth the time and can also be well rewarding.
These tips are just the tip of the iceberg; but at a high level I think they can save you some headaches and help your business grow.