There is much for young entrepreneurs to learn as they strive to scale their businesses. It helps to have great mentors – like I had in my partners Radni Davoodi and Raymond Y. Davoodi here at Sharestates. Here are some of the lessons I learned from these mentors and other sources during my own scaling journey:
Executing Your Plan
It is much easier to formulate a business plan on paper and map its growth at the drawing board than it is to actually stand at the helm of the ship. Our initial concept at Sharestates was simple, but as the business grew, it naturally became more complex. As time goes on, any business will evolve, and entrepreneurs must be nimble and flexible in planning for these changes. They must also have the courage to make big investments in people, processes, and systems at critical growth curves. Often, this calls for more creativity in how you structure deals, bring on investors, service clients, and conduct other crucial parts of your business.
Identifying Your Core Team
One of the keys to growing and scaling a business quickly is identifying exactly what roles need to be filled within your startup. You may start off with just a few core team members doing everything from developing the product and servicing clients to designing the user experience and carrying out business development tasks. These core team members must be ready to learn as they go and prepared to go the extra mile for the business. Trust your core team to help determine the types of new talent you'll need to sustain your business.
Making Great Hires
When searching for a new hire, you're probably looking for certain attributes like some level of experience or familiarity with the industry. It is important, however, to note that personality is also key. An easy transition into the company culture is important, as are flexibility, adaptability, and a willingness to learn. Being in a growth stage means every day is different from the next. A person who can adjust to the office environment and goes above and beyond set expectations is someone you want on your team.
Learning to Fire Yourself
In the early days, you'll want to meet up once a day with your key employees to discuss projects they're working on, to identify pain points, and to determine which processes could be automated. This will allow you to pinpoint exactly which roles are needed and to create divisions and departments based on demand.
Once the company begins to experience success, you'll know just what types of talent you need in order to help the company scale quickly. At this time, founding members will have to fire themselves from administrative and time-consuming tasks so they can spend more time on higher-level strategic planning like scaling, processing, compliance, licensing, and business development.
Identifying the Business Driver
A smart entrepreneur will realize that their product, regardless of what it is, will never be "perfect." If a business owner solely focuses their energy on the product, they will be constantly innovating and building while possibly hindering their ability to enter the market effectively.
Instead, focus on the bottom line – driving revenue. Invest in new hires, including talent who can help with product development. As the product improves, it will contribute to more sales and to the bottom line, thus creating a virtuous cycle of growth, revenue, and reinvestment into the business.
Developing Your Product
At Sharestates, we needed to be sure we had the technology capable of handling our lofty goal of opening real estate investing up to crowdfunding. Regardless of their product or goal, business owners must approach the development process very logically and keep in mind that the company will go through many changes over time. A great idea is to rely on user feedback and internal testing to scale the company and its products to higher levels.
There are many ways to start and scale a business, but the above is how we grew Sharestates from 4 to 40 employees in two short years. Maybe it will work for you, too!
Allen Shayanfekr, Esq., is the CEO and founder of Sharestates.