We’ve all seen the dramatic tales of college kids chugging Red Bull, coding a site, and becoming billionaires, and we’ve heard myths about companies that went from idea to fame in mere weeks, but the truth is that those are exceptions to the normal business rules. We’re all familiar with the success stories of entrepreneurs that were perfectionists and filled with passion.
These exciting stories often become the basis of comparison for many professionals and entrepreneurs, and risks are taken and avoided based on the success journeys of predecessors. So what are the most common myths surrounding how to grow a company?
We asked Himanshu Sareen, CEO at global technology consulting firm, Icreon Tech, Inc. to dispel these myths. Below, in his own words are the 5 most common myths about growing a company:
Myth #1: take every project that comes your way
Although ambition is crucial for growth, it can also be a downfall. For a great deal of up-and-coming businesses, it is fairly easy to bite off more than one can chew. Landing an international Fortune 500 client may seem like the turn-key solution to grow a business, but use caution. The same goes for contracts with monetary value that is below a certain threshold.
While small in size, such projects can quickly take up valuable time and resources.
Remain practical and focus on what is feasible in terms of the organization’s bandwidth. If a business dives in too deep, they may very well find themselves out of their league. My best advice would be to choose projects with a sustainable long-term vision in mind.
Myth #2: ignore culture, it can wait
Holding off on establishing a solidified company culture can equate to significant obstacles down the road. As a company grows and adds on members there is less and less time to focus on establishing a company culture. By focusing on culture, meaning the attitudes, expectations, and environment of a company, a business can better position itself for growth down the road.
And don’t just think about ping-pong tables and trendy branded T-shirts.
As a business grows, founding members are the arbiters of culture. Such critical players are the ones in place that are in charge of approving new hires, and they should live and breathe the essence of the team.
When a business places culture on the back-burner, the major impediment that results rests in the hiring area. Without a team that melds and collaborates effectively, growth is guaranteed to be stymied.
Myth #3: don’t sell until the product is perfect
Maintaining the delicate balance between expanding the sales pipeline while simultaneously building the logistical capacity to deliver, is a constant struggle. There is a pervasive mindset to refine until perfection before heading to market. Although such caution is warranted, focus on a parallel approach to aggressive growth and delivery. Rather than holding off on sales and revenue growth while a product or service is refined, a business should drive forward and build as much as possible.
Although growing and simultaneously expanding to compensate is a challenge, it is preferable to go through the cyclical phases of focusing solely on sales and re-adjusting to attend to growth. The temptation to yo-yo between the two can severely hamper expansion. Such an approach can easily kill positive momentum. There needs to be a constant and vigilant parallel focus on gaining new business and building the resources to deliver.
Myth #4: there is no room for bad decisions
Experimentation is the key to innovating. And with any experiment, there is a chance of failure. But do not fear failure. Although it is a played-out quote, failure is one of the greatest teachers in life. Facebook famously centers their operations on the mantra of ‘Move Fast and Break Things’. Making mistakes is a vital part of the process needed for growth.
Businesses can only expand by stepping outside of the comfort zone.
Expansion requires delving into emerging markets, executing new marketing campaigns, or taking a chance on ‘outside the box’ hiring prospects. Although failure may occur, it should not prevent valuable experimentation.
Myth #5: credentials are everything
While top-tier graduates and stellar resumes may seem like the secret weapon for success, credentials are not the only qualifier for greatness. Often times the qualities of a high-performance rockstar cannot be properly communicated through a resume or cover letter. In-person communication and personality are critical. Flexibility, communication, and work ethic are what you need as a smaller company pursuing growth.
In some instances, focusing too heavily on credentials can end up turning you into the 2008 New York Yankees. This also ties back to the importance of establishing culture from the outset. With an established culture, a business will be able to attract the valuable team members needed to truly meld with the team.