Unexpected Tips for Business Growth: Part 2

Following on from 'Unexpected Tips for Business Growth: Part 1', here are three more tips taken from successful entrepreneurs, founders and CEOs who know what it takes to not only survive tough times, but to thrive in them.

Business growth tip #4: Make lots of mistakes

“Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.” - Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook  

An infamous Mark Zuckerberg-ism that is still circulating around startups everywhere.

And quite rightly too.

Mistakes provide valuable learning. Without them, companies can’t grow. They can’t try new things, expand into new areas and develop. 

 “The best companies are those that encourage failure, embrace out-of-the-box thinking, and allow employees to make mistakes and see what happens.” - Business Collective

Look at Elon Musk for example. Love him or loathe him, the Co-founder of PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla and is worth around $79.4bn. So, you can’t deny his success as an entrepreneur.

But, having brought two companies to the brink of bankruptcy, his journey to success has been fraught with mistakes.

For instance, remember the first Tesla car - the Roadster. Described by Jeremy Clarkson as a 'poorly-run science project', Musk’s first steps into the automotive industry were disastrous. The technology wasn’t good enough and the company made a huge loss for two years in a row. But look at where Tesla is now!

Business growth tip #5: Treat your company like a family

Who do you trust most in the world?

Your family.

They’re with you through thick and thin. They will always tell you the truth, and they’ll support your goals and bend over backwards to help you reach them.

Which is exactly what you need around you when you’re running your business.

“So many people focus on growth in terms of sales, but in actual fact, it’s about having a happy, talented team that like to innovate…It’s the people within the business that makes it a success. It’s as simple as that.” - Barrie Dowsett, CEO of Myriad Associates

If you treat your team as a family, you’ll naturally create a nurturing and trusting environment where employees feel at home. They’ll be able to talk honestly, they’ll feel respected and valued and above all else, they’ll want to work hard to help you make your business a success.

Be honest and open. Share your vision for the company, listen to what they say, ask for their input on key decisions and, most importantly, trust them.  

“The key, I think, is something that’s easy to say and hard to do: I trust them. That means I give people a lot of freedom and flexibility and authority.” -  Kevin Sharer, CEO of Amgen

Business growth tip #6: Leave it to others

Ahhhh, remember the good old days when you were just starting out? The blood, sweat and tears? Working morning, noon and night, tackling every task from marketing and sales to customer service and product development, single-handedly?

Although you might look back on those times ‘fondly’, it wasn’t sustainable, was it?

But many CEO’s find it difficult to let go and leave tasks to others. This is understandable. You’ve carefully cultivated your business from the seed of an idea into what it is now and the thought of leaving even a small part of it in the hands of someone else is terrifying.

But you’re not Superman, Batman or Captain America. You can’t do everything to the best of your ability by yourself.

Think of it this way: you have 10 tasks to complete in one day. Which would you rather do:

  1. Work all day and night to complete all 10 tasks yourself, but to an average standard, or
  2. Pick the three tasks you know you can do incredibly well, delegate the other seven tasks (knowing they’ll get completed to an equally high standard), and make it home in time for dinner

The trick is to keep hold of the responsibilities only you can do and leave the rest to people you trust. Delegation is the art of business growth. 

“Yes, sometimes your people are going to make different decisions than you will. Yes, sometimes your people are not going to do as well as you will. But the key is to let your managers grow because your company will fail if you don’t” - Sam Zemurray, CEO of United Fruit Company

Growing a business from the ground up is hard work. But the whole concept behind growth is that you hire people with the right skills to take on the smaller tasks. This then frees you up to focus on what you do best: Establishing where the business is going and what it needs to do to expand, develop and grow.

And there you have it. With part 1 and part 2 combined, you now have six solid-gold tips from top CEOs who have been where you are now and have lived to tell the tale!