If your company is experiencing a period of rapid growth, it can be somewhat daunting. It’s an exciting time because it means business is doing well. Very well. But managing that growth is an entirely different matter. You are confronted with a lot of different tasks, and figuring it all out can be a job in itself.
However, there are a few key pieces of advice I can offer anyone who is going through growth with their company. I grew two businesses quickly, very quickly, turning them into million-dollar enterprises. And during those times when we were moving up in the world, many different things factored into how I was able to handle it.
First and foremost, it’s about culture. Company culture is key to maintaining a great business, and sometimes when you grow quickly, it can be difficult to do that. A lot of the new people might feel as if they aren’t grasping the essence of what the company was built on. You’re caught up in the emotion of a growing company, so you might be more focused on numbers, math, profit and things of that nature. You, as the leader, need to focus on what got you there in the first place.
However, you also can’t rest on your laurels. The product or service that got you there is going to be disrupted in 24 months. So, just as things are starting to really go well, get uncomfortable. Try to innovate against your own product. Try to put yourself out of business. You need to have the evolution of the product in mind. Too many people find something that works and then squeeze that orange until there is nothing left. They don’t innovate or change to create upside in other opportunities as the environment around them continues to change.
Really, it comes down to being balanced between what can seem like two opposing views: you need to be grounded in what got you there and remember your roots, but you also need to disrupt yourself to continue to innovate.
Disrupting your own product will cause friction, which is why I also advise fast-growing companies to eliminate romance. What I mean by that is this: any ties or nostalgic feelings you have toward how a product “used to be” need to be left behind. I’ve seen many founders get nostalgic and romantic about how great their product is. It’s like how every parent thinks their kid is the cutest kid in the world, which I think we can all agree isn’t true, but they are able to calibrate that because it’s their kid. It’s their baby. And people do that with businesses also. They overvalue their own product and place it on a pedestal.
Don’t let yourself fall into that. Keep an audit system in place. Be wary of having your success trump the negative feedback consumers or other people may be giving you.
Right now I’m actively running a business that has gone from 30 to 600 people in four years, yet I still take negative feedback very seriously, even from the most junior people. You can never get too far away from the criticism. You can’t read your own headlines, focus on your own success, and only say good things to yourself. That will become a proxy for losing.
And lastly, you need to overvalue speed. Always. When you’re riding that wave, you need to maximize the opportunity. There will always be a million little things that are broken. And things will undoubtedly continue to break along the way. But the bottom line is this: if you can maintain control, you win. Things might fall off and it may not all be smooth, but if you can stay on the horse, you’re going to make it.
About Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary Vaynerchuk builds businesses. Fresh out of college he took his family wine business and grew it from a $3M to a $60M business in just five years. Now he runs VaynerMedia, one of the world's hottest digital agencies. Along the way he became a prolific angel investor and venture capitalist, investing in companies like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Uber and Birchbox before eventually co-founding VaynerRSE, a $25M angel fund.
Gary also currently hosts The #AskGaryVee Show, a way of providing as much value as possible by taking questions about social media, entrepreneurship, startups and family businesses, and giving his answers based on a lifetime of building successful, multimillion dollar companies. The show is also available as a podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and SoundCloud.
Gary is also a prolific public speaker, delivering keynotes at events like Le Web and SXSW, which you can watch on his YouTube channel. He was named to both Fortune and Crain's 40 under 40 lists in consecutive years, and has been profiled in the New York Times, Fortune and Inc.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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