Learn key strategies and insights on how to take your business from zero to $10 million in revenue. From finding the right team and balancing work-life to building a successful brand and scaling your business, this article offers valuable tips and advice from experienced entrepreneurs.
The video discusses the challenges of generating a successful business that generates millions in revenue. It emphasizes the importance of targeting a large market and avoiding small niches. The video also explores the key skills and team building required for scaling a business from 1 to 10 million, 10 to 100 million, and beyond. Additionally, it highlights the qualities to look for in hiring great people, such as loyalty, industry experience, leadership abilities, and a strong work ethic. The speaker also shares personal insights on work-life balance and the daily schedule of building a multi-billion dollar business.
- But people tend to go
after these really, really small niches
which causes them to struggle to generate,
create a business that generates a million
2 million, 5 million, 10 million.
- You know, a lot of the guests listening
to the show are eager to get their business from, you know,
5 million to 10 million
and eventually one day $100 million revenue a year.
You're someone that's already surpassed
that 100 million revenue per year goal.
You've done that for years now.
I'm curious like how do you see the difference
between a CEO and a founder and the role they need to play
from getting to kind of 1 to $10 million revenue
then 10 to 100 and then 100 to a billion.
How do you kind of see the core skills they need to have,
the systems and the team they need
to be building around them?
- So we're going to skip the hundred to a billion part
because I've never gone to a billion so I don't, you know,
whatever I tell you would just be a bunch of bull.
- I've done the others and zero to like 10 million.
A lot of it is going out there
wheeling and dealing, being scrappy.
You set up some operations,
you're just trying to go and capture money.
The reason most people struggle from zero to 10
isn't the processes or systems,
it's actually usually that they're in a niche.
So I like looking at something called TAM,
total addressable market.
The bigger the market you're in,
the easier it is to go after like get to 5 or 10 million
because people spend so much.
For example, if you sold cars,
I understand it costs a lot of money to make a car
but if you sold cars, cars will sell for a decent amount.
It doesn't take long to generate 10 million in revenue
when you're selling a car for $50,000, right?
It's actually really fast.
There's so many people that buy cars, everyone needs it.
But on the flip side, I had a buddy because it's like,
oh I'm going to end up selling croissant toast.
Yes, a lot of people buy croissants,
but the amount of people that want croissant toast,
like think of like a loaf of bread
but made of croissant bread or, you know,
however you want to describe it.
And you slice it up and you put it in the toaster
and they're like, yeah, that's what we want to sell.
It's such a small niche.
People are going out there every day and being like, man,
I need that loaf of bread that tastes like croissant.
It's more like a novelty item.
It's not something that you buy every single day.
Like you were just buying a normal loaf of bread
from the grocery store
and then their cost to make it was through the root.
So when you think about that, it's too small of a niche.
If you're just going to go after selling bread.
Sure, bread is a massive market.
Rice is a massive market.
There's money to be made there, but people tend to go
after these really, really small niches
which causes them to struggle to generate,
create a business that generates a million
2 million, 5 million, 10 million.
That's the biggest mistake that I see people making.
So if you can create a business in a big enough market,
it's not that hard to get to 10 million.
Now going from 10 to 100
which was the next part of your question,
a lot of it's systems and processes and people.
And the key is you go on LinkedIn,
look for people who work for your competitors,
gone multiple promotions
because then getting multiple promotions means
that the competitor found them valuable
and they did a good job in most cases
for them to get multiple promotions.
And those are the people you want to hire to help you scale
from 10 to 100 because they've already done it before
in your space for your competition.
And they've gotten multiple promotions
which means they've done a good job
or else no one would keep promoting them
unless that business is crazy.
And so beyond just people that have maybe worked
for a couple of your competitors been promoted showing that
like they were legit there, they're the real deal.
What other side kind of, you know,
traits are you looking for in great people?
You know, you've obviously been building businesses now
for 20 years and, you know, you've hired I'm sure
unbelievable people given, you know,
where your company's at and, you know, like all founders,
we've hired some duds.
- Look for people who are loyal
people will stick around at a company for a while
because they're willing to put in the time and energy
that's needed and willing to make their commitment.
No one's going to fix your problems overnight
or even in a year or two.
It takes a long time.
The second thing that I look for is people who have,
what is it called?
I look for people who don't want to be entrepreneurs.
So people who are entrepreneurs aren't meant
to go work out of business for the rest of their lives.
It's very hard to commit them to.
I look for people who have been in a vertical
for a long time and have relationships,
whether it's relationships with banks
or relationships with potential customers
or relationships with other key employees.
I look for people who can bring people the moment they move
they switch companies
because that means they're a great leader
and people really value their opinion
and they'll go wherever they are going.
The other thing I look for is amazing managers,
people who understand systems and processes
and know how to lead.
I look for people who are willing to be player coaches.
That's really super important.
We tell people that on our interviews.
We don't want people just to manage others
we want people to help bring up others and manage
but at the same time they got to get their hands dirty
and go out there and go get bloody.
And if they're not willing to do that, they're not a fit.
We also look for people who believe work is life.
Yes, you know, having a good balance is important in life
but if people love what they're doing and they're willing
to put in more than 50, 60 hours a week,
you're more likely to succeed.
If someone believes that, oh,
the work week should be nine to five and that's it
and it ends there, you're not going to be your competition.
- Yeah, I think that's a real controversial take
too these days, you know,
you have a lot of people that are looking
for that sort of work-life balance and, you know,
want to be able to check into the company nine to five
and then be able to bounce and do their other things.
You know, how do you kind of attract people that for them,
you know, work is life, you know, obviously, you know,
there's a lot of talk these days like kind of
like anti hussle culture and, you know, finding balance
and, you know, I think when you're building a company though
and when you're trying to achieve, you know,
the company that you're trying to build here
a multi-billion dollar, you know,
generational type branding company, you know,
how do you kind of, throughout the interview process,
kind of fueled out the people that are not about that?
- Yeah, so for me, I do think a work-life balance
to some extent is still valuable.
You don't want someone working 70 hours a week, you know,
every single week of the year not taking Christmas
or spending time with their family.
There needs to be some sort of a balance.
Some weeks you may only put in 40 hours or 50 hours.
Some weeks you may have to put in 80 hours
and just tough it out.
You want people who are flexible
and the way you usually find them is just being
A, honest in the interview process
but B, culturally it starts with the top.
If the owners of a business or the leaders in a business
aren't willing to put in the hours and the time,
don't expect other people to.
You lead by example.
- In terms of, you know, grow.
You know, you're at this level now, you're, you know,
growing a business now to $100 million plus revenue.
Imagine you're pulling out of the business, you know,
50 to 80 million yourself.
Like how has this like process now
that you're building a business
that's making that much money?
Like, you know, how's your life changed?
You know, and what does your kind of like daily schedule
look like now that you're
at this kind of level of business building?
- So I always joke with my team
and I tell them I barely work.
I tell them all, you need to work a few hours a day.
But as my wife says, for someone who works few hours a day,
I tend to start at six in the morning
and I tend to finish somewhere around nine at night.
So my wife doesn't understand
how I only work a few hours a day
and I do that almost seven days a week.
And I also am traveling every single week for work as well.
So I joke that I don't work too many hours
but in reality I work a lot of hours, I just love what I do.
So it doesn't seem like work.
Like I'm doing a dinner meeting with someone today
and trying to close a business deal.
I don't see that as work.
I don't count that as work.
I just look at it as like, I'm going to dinner with a buddy.
That'll happen to hopefully we'll sign a deal
right then and there.
So for me, if it's fun, you know, you'll keep doing it
and you won't worry about how many hours
you put in, you'll just love it.
But my schedule is flexible.
For example, my daughter has this thing at her school
every other Friday where they go to like this auditorium
and they do some ceremony thing and, you know,
kids do like little dancing
with their hands and stuff like that.
If I'm in town, I go to them, right?
That's what money provides.
It provides flexibility on those kind of things.
But from a time perspective, I do whatever it takes to win.
Now in terms of, you know,
you seem to be really clear on your values
and also clear on, you know, you're enjoying what you do.
I think that's an important thing
when anyone's doing business, right?
If you love what you do,
you're genuinely passionate about it.
What feels like work for others feels like play for you.
That's a competitive advantage,
that's going to help you stand out.
When others are getting burnt out or need a break, you know,
you're just having fun and I think you're a shining example
of someone that's really embodying that, you know,
you're having fun, it's proven through the results,
you've built an amazing culture
and you're making a real impact for your customers.
I'm curious, like what are your values
when it comes to business and, you know,
why are you in the game still?
Like what kind of keeps you in the game?
How do you cultivate that play, that fun on a daily basis?
- Yeah, so the values that just keep me in there
and there's a lot of them, right?
Like for me at our company, we believe in being transparent.
We believe in continually becoming a better person
and learning more.
We continually believe in challenging ourselves
and trying things that aren't always obtainable.
But for us it all comes down to
in reality it's just like what stimulates you mentally.
And for me it usually is a goal or a objective
or a challenge and that's what I tend to focus on.
So then that way I want to wake up every day and do something.
It's just like I think business is the greatest sport ever.
It's never ending.
The scoreboard is always getting harder and harder
to score on because there's always other people out there
like the Elon Musk of the world
that are just so much further ahead and props to him.
I'm not trying to hate, props to him for getting there.
It's not like he was handed a silver spoon,
he literally did it without growing up
with millions and millions of dollars and, you know,
he's still pushing the boundaries, but it's like
for me it's the scoreboard and can you just win?
My scoreboard is much different.
I'm in the marketing vertical
so the companies are much smaller
than what some of the other players are going after.
They're still big, you know,
a lot of them have 10 plus billion dollar market caps
but I just love what I'm doing.
- What does that kind of big challenging goal that you have
for yourself right now?
Like what does that scoreboard look like for you
over the next three years?
- I don't think I'll achieve it in three years.
I think I can achieve it within 10
which is to be the largest ad agency in the world.
That's my goal from a digital side.
So not traditional.
We're not really focusing too much time on, hey,
we're going to help you make television commercials
when everything is shifting towards digital.
- And so when we were talking over the weekend,
one of the strategies you brought up was this idea of going
and either building or buying software and making it free,
giving it away to go and attract, you know,
hot leads and basically be able to build your business
on the services side of things.
I'm curious for founders that are looking to get
from, you know, 2 million to 10 million revenue a year.
How do you think about kind of executing that strategy
on like a step-by-step basis?
- Yeah, if you're looking to get to 2 million to 10 million,
think of the market you're in and what software you can give
for free that will get you more leads or customers
for the main thing you're selling.
So I'll give you an example
and I gave this in person at the event.
If you're selling health insurance,
a lot of people who pay for health insurance are companies.
So think about a free payroll software
instead of charging for payroll software
which is what most people do, give it away for free
and then sell a portion of those people on health insurance.
That's an example of giving away something for free
and then selling them something else.
So where in the marketing space?
We have an ad agency called NP Digital.
We sell marketing services.
A lot of people who need marketing services
also use marketing software to help them with their paid ads
and SEO, but a portion of them rather just hire people
to do it for them.
So we give away a lot of free marketing tools
like Ubersuggest and AnswerThePublic
captures a lot of leads.
And then from there, sales teams sell them on services.
And if you look at how much money people are spending
on services versus software,
I'll give you an example of this.
You know, HubSpot may do around 1.2, 1.3
maybe 1.4 billion in revenue a year.
I'm rounding, I know the number is more than 1 billion,
it's less than 2 million.
Chances are as we're recording this interview
less than 1.5.
And I'm not trying to knock HubSpot, that's a lot of revenue
and they've done an amazing job and built a great product.
If you look at how much money is spent
in the ad agency world, a lot of the Omnicoms, WPPs,
a lot of those guys do 10 plus billion in revenue.
Some of them do over 15 billion in revenue.
That's a lot of cash.
So give away the software for free
where people spend less on software,
they're spending more on services and in exchange,
it doesn't cost that much on the software end
but in exchange you're getting a lot of users,
you're getting a lot of leads
and a portion of them will buy your services.
And so how do you kind of think about the decision
between build versus buy there?
You know, like does someone go
and look at a bunch of competitors or
and look at a competitive space in the software tools
that are in that and look to acquire a company for,
you know, a million dollars cash?
Or how do you kind of look at that or, you know,
at what point do they just like, you know,
I have this great idea,
I've seen other software tools in this space
that are doing it well or charging 100 bucks a month
but I could just go pay a firm 100, 150K to go
and develop and design this for me
and I'll just undercut them and offer it for free.
How do you kind of think about that?
- Yeah, so I look at it as if you can end up going out there
and buying someone who already has an audience
and they're not making much money,
that's an easier solution.
If you can't do that, go and build it.
You can use things like ChatGPT to build you tools.
They can build you like a body mass index calculator
if you're into health and fitness.
They built the game Pong in less than 60 seconds.
Someone was testing it out, I forgot who,
and they had ChatGPT build a working version of Pong
in less than 60 seconds.
You can hire developers as well, but start off with ChatGPT
and then plug in the developers to help fix it
and fine-tune it and make it the way you need.
In order to build a successful business that generates millions of dollars in revenue, it is crucial to choose the right niche. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of targeting small, niche markets, which can lead to struggles in generating substantial income. To avoid this, it is important to consider the total addressable market (TAM) of the chosen niche. The larger the market, the easier it is to reach high revenue levels.
For example, selling cars can be a profitable business due to the high demand and the significant revenue potential associated with each sale. On the other hand, targeting a niche market such as selling croissant toast might have limited profit potential. It is essential to evaluate the market size and potential demand before entering a niche.
Once a business reaches the $10 million revenue mark, the focus shifts from simply capturing money to implementing systems, processes, and building a strong team. To achieve this level of growth, it is important to hire experienced individuals who have been successful in your industry. Seeking out professionals who have held multiple promotions in competing companies is a good indicator of their value and expertise.
Additionally, great leaders and managers who understand systems and processes are essential for scaling a business. Identifying individuals who possess strong relationship networks, such as connections with banks, potential customers, and key employees, can greatly contribute to growth and success.
While building a multi-billion dollar company requires dedication and hard work, it is still important to acknowledge the value of work-life balance to some extent. Hiring individuals who are willing to put in the necessary time and effort, yet also prioritize personal and family commitments, is crucial for long-term success. Finding the right balance between work and personal life is important to maintain motivated and fulfilled employees.
During the interview process, it is essential to identify candidates who align with the company culture and are willing to go the extra mile when needed. Being honest about the expectations and leading by example as a business owner can attract individuals who share the same commitment and drive for success.
As the founder of a multi-million dollar business, life changes considerably. Despite claiming to work only a few hours a day, successful entrepreneurs often find themselves working long hours, including evenings and weekends. However, the passion and enjoyment derived from their work make it feel less like work and more like a fulfilling endeavor.
While the routine varies for each entrepreneur, maintaining flexibility is key. Embracing opportunities for business meetings and negotiations without viewing them as burdensome tasks is crucial. This level of dedication and enthusiasm drives entrepreneurs to invest additional hours and maintain a highly productive daily schedule.
To succeed in e-commerce, develop a solid growth strategy, promote across channels, be patient, and test different strategies to increase sales.
Effective knowledge management practices in ITSM include deploying a robust SKMS, documenting incident resolutions, integrating user feedback, and conducting regular knowledge audits. The components of knowledge management are knowledge creation, storage, sharing, and periodic review. Motivating employees to share knowledge involves recognizing contributions, fostering a collaborative culture, and providing user-friendly tools.
Business Intelligence (BI) tools combine data analysis, visualization, and reporting to provide actionable insights for decision making. They help improve operational efficiency, marketing strategies, and revenue generation. BI software has evolved to include self-service capabilities and augmented analytics based on AI and machine learning. However, challenges such as data integration, quality, and user adoption need to be addressed for successful BI deployment. Implementing a viable BI program involves management approval, strategy development, team setup, architecture design, software selection, user training, and system testing. Ultimately, BI tools and expertise can elevate business performance to a higher level.
Having consistent marketing and sales strategies is crucial for a successful business. Financial management, project management, and SOP creation are also important.
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