Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Verne Harnish, Founder of The Gazelles, a leading business coach, bestselling author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Growing Firm, and most recently, Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t, as well as Founder of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Among the many topics that Verne and I discuss are the challenges blocking startups from scaling up and his advice for accelerating your growth.
[4:27] Verne cites research by Bill Gross at IdeaLab, on five factors that contribute to successful scaling: People, Strategy, Execution, Cash, and Timing, with Timing, the most critical.
[8:14] Competition grew by magnitudes with the global Internet. The best defense is offense, so go global in a narrow product line.
[10:58] Jim Collins, in Good to Great, addresses sales automation. (1) Have disciplined people, (2) engaged in disciplined thought, (3) with disciplined action. Once you have your strategy, then (4) add automation. Too early is messy.
[15:16] Marketing is critical. Lean startups need to say yes to everything. But, “What got you here won’t get you there.” Agile scale-ups need a different approach — a well-functioning marketing department, separate from sales.
[19:47] 76% of companies remain home-based, because they haven’t crossed the barrier to finding the first hire, a great salesperson. 3% of companies scale. How do you know you should? Scalers are voracious learners, who don’t know it all.
[21:11] Mark Cuban said his biggest failures came when he thought “he was the smartest person in the room.” Have conviction, but be humble enough to go seek help.
[23:10] Companies may have a book club. Andy has clients do this. To 10X a company, don’t 10X just your own knowledge, but every employee’s knowledge. Don’t outgrow your team.
[24:22] Verne put in his “Trends” column for 2016, “This is the year we get rid of the word, ‘manager.’” Nobody needs a sales manager, they need a sales coach.
[26:45] Sales should call in each day and report “what they’ve heard,” for Quick Market Intelligence. Verne says, “There are two kinds of salespeople — winners and whiners.” Winners report what works and what doesn’t, to remove barriers.