From a measly $200 in 2009, I have built a company that turnsover more than $10m a year. While it has not always been easy, many of the strategies I’ve used could be applied successfully in almost any business.
1. Bring out the Jazz Hands.
I’m a natural introvert who has traditionally shunned the spotlight, but when I started the business, I made the conscious decision to stick my head above the parapet and put myself out there. The best or most established business is not necessarily the one that wins out. Often, it’s the loudest.
By aiming high and taking chances, I’ve had the opportunity to do some amazing things:
- I spent a week with Richard Branson on his private island. I got a great picture of the two of us during a round of costume roulette. The picture and story featured in every major newspaper in New Zealand, and we even signed six clients directly from the articles!
- I convinced the biggest publisher in the world to publish my physical book about SEO. I always like to do things differently (zig when everyone else is zagging), so I pitched the idea of a book to Penguin Random House. They agreed and it has yielded the best ROI of any marketing we’ve done.
- I speak at every event, podcast, and interview that asks. It may be out of your comfort zone but speaking when your peers are willing to listen is a great brand building and lead generating exercise.
2. Know When to Fire Yourself
Know your limits and what you’re good at. I knew I could only take the business so far, so when the time was right, I stepped aside from running the day-to-day operations of my business and I brought in a team that proved to be more capable than I thought possible.
3. Build Momentum
Nothing happens in this life without deliberate action and momentum. Big things don’t happen overnight, but if you take a small step forward every single day, you can achieve big things.
4. Be Thick-Skinned
Sh*t happens… a lot. Often, the difference between success and failure is how you deal with and overcome adversity.
In my first year of business, my wife and I had three miscarriages (we’re both English, so we had no support network here). My wife was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer in 2012. The same week, my key staff member handed in his notice to work for a competitor. My friend and business partner in Australia passed away in a freak accident.
I could go on and on, but the important thing is to get up and face the world when you just want to stay in bed and hide. Find the positives, grit your teeth and move forward every day.
5. Cultivate a Community
Surround yourself with a community of like-minded, successful people. Find mentors and advisors and make a point to give back to the community. My business would not be what it is today without the support, guidance, and advice of the entrepreneurial community in New Zealand. Period.
6. Genuinely Care
Culture is a key driver in differentiation and success. I’ve had some appalling bosses in my past. If you genuinely care about and want the best for your team, they will repay that kindness and respect in spades.
Certainly, there are many more strategies that I have used and that others have used to build successful businesses. The strategies I’ve chosen may seem simple, but that doesn’t make them easy. I push myself every day to stay true to these strategies and I feel, of all the things I could suggest, that they will have the biggest impact on your business today.