Managing Your Business
5 High Growth CEOs Share Management Secrets
The annual Inc. 5000 conference is an event sponsored by Chase For BusinessSM . The conference honors entrepreneurs who made the list of America's fastest growing private companies, and is a place where they can come together to share lessons and tips they've learned along the way.
Chase For BusinessSM asked some of this year's honorees to share some of that insight, focusing on what they wished they had known when they started their businesses. Here are some of their responses.
Ask for Help
Jessica Mah, co-founder and CEO of inDinero (#146 on the list, with a growth rate of 2,686 percent), a software-as-a-service company that enables businesses to automate accounting tax and payroll functions, said she raised an impressive $1.2 million for her business at just 20 years old. She burned through that money quickly to support such perks as a hot tub in her office and a private chef to prepare every meal. After spending most of the money she raised, however, she was able to take a step back, get creative, and rebuild.
She said that she wished she knew "to get support from CEOs further ahead of me." Had she done so in the early days, she expects she would have received advice on being more conservative with her financials and spending more time with her customers getting critical feedback.
Growing Isn't Easy
Maryann Woods, president and founder of Work Space Solutions (#4299, 63% growth) said she wishes she knew "how hard it would be to sustain the growth." While her company has experienced success, she spoke of growing pains in getting the right mix of people on board and joked that she even has "the battle scars to prove it." She says, "people are everything" and believes she now finally has the right mix, which helped her company generate $5.4 million in revenue last year.
Kristi Wilder, co-owner of Davis Defense (#840, 542%), which provides analytical services for the federal government, wishes she knew "not to have been so timid and to have stood up more for my own skill set." As a young woman in the defense industry, she said, she would often walk into a meeting and be mistaken for the secretary. Now, she shows up feeling empowered and ready to own her worth, knowing she brings value and experience to the table. It was a skin she had to grow into, but this newfound confidence and way of being is something she says she intends to pass on to her daughter.
Learn Along the Way
Mona Patel, Founder & CEO of Motivate Design (#1099, 393% growth), a boutique experience research and design agency, used to strive towards a place of ,"Finally, I know it all!" Now, she realizes it is perfectly okay to "figure it out as you go." Likewise, Robert Herjavec, of Shark Tank fame, said later in the conference, "business is a never-ending cycle of evolution." As a business owner, you will continue to evolve and grow ... just like the business itself. And, that is totally okay.
Know How to Manage Your Money, Or Find Someone Who Can
April Foster, co-founder and CEO of Studio Calico (#1475, 279%), a membership-based scrapbooking center, says she attributes much of her company's growth to the late Ken Marshall, who joined her team after working for well-known entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis at Camping World. "Working with an experienced financial leader resulted in smarter, more scalable IT, finance and operational decisions." said Foster. "He challenged me to look at opportunities with a different lens, connected me with smart people, set guidelines for operational challenges and was a whiz at taxes which saved us money and fueled growth ." She encourages other companies looking to make the leap from small to large to find and invest in their own financial guru.
Read more from the "What I Wish I Knew" series.
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Dawn Gluskin is a freelance writer and former tech entrepreneur turned coach and consultant. She is the author of forthcoming "Type-A Zen: Ambition, Meet Purpose."