Growing 10x is easier than growing 2x
How much do you want to grow your business? Whether you measure growth in terms of revenue, free time, or any other metric – how big do you want to get? How about 2x? How about 10x? Which of those seems to be a more attainable goal?
A surprising truth
Think about this: if you could increase your income by a factor of 10, or you could increase your free time by a factor of 10, how would that change your life? I think that you would not only work less, but you would also have less stress, would have more free time, you would make more money, and you would have a bigger impact on the world around you.
Does that sound good? Then let me throw out and idea that might surprise you: I am convinced that growing your business 10x is actually easier than growing it 2x. That might sound a little counterintuitive, but bear with me. In fact, let me share a little of my story so you can understand where I am coming from.
A little background about me
I’m originally from Germany and my wife Michelle is originally from Honduras. We’re business partners and best friends, and we’ve built multiple seven and eight figure businesses together.
Being immigrants to the US, we came to the US with nothing. All we had was two suitcases, a bunch of student debt, and our dreams. Both of us attended business school here and after graduation both of us got jobs so that we could stay as permanent residents.
It was only then that we started our entrepreneurial journey.
The first stop on our way to financial freedom was setting up a real estate investment company that focused on flipping cheap land in the outskirts of town. We did 60 deals in our first year, and while that was great, we realized we couldn’t handle any more deals than that. As long as the company was made up of just her and me working full time, our limit would be 60 deals per year.
How we grew our business 2x
The most logical step seemed to be hiring some employees so we could scale up our investing. So we hired a couple of people and with their help were able to do over 100 deals the second year. And yes, we had grown our company about 2x, but at the same time (because of the way we were selling our properties one at a time), we hit yet another ceiling or bottleneck and felt limited in our business.
No matter what we tried, we just couldn’t grow any more. And it wasn’t simply a question of putting in more effort – we were working almost seven days a week, 12 hours a day, and (as you can imagine) we were exhausted.
I heard someone say once that starting a business in order to have more free time is like having a baby in order to have more free time. Yeah, you might have some help mowing the lawn someday, but at first it’s going to be a lot of work.
For us, every day was like the movie Groundhog Day. We just got up and went to our living room to work. The two employees would arrive and see us already seated at our desks, and when they left for the day we were still there. The next morning they would arrive, and guess where we were? That’s right: working hard, already seated at our desks.
After spending over a year feeling exhausted and with our backs against the wall, we realized that if we wanted to grow our business any more, then working harder wasn’t the way to do it. We simply couldn’t stretch any more than we already had.
If that situation sounds familiar or resonates with you, then keep reading. Because we were at a crossroads back then and had to decide which way to go. If you are at that same crossroads, then learn from our mistakes and successes.
This is how we broke out of our vicious cycle.
Here comes the important part…
At about 9:30 one night, we were eating nachos and beer at a local brewery. Now, 9:30pm meant that we had just stopped working about 30 minutes before. So there we were, exhausted, stressed out, and feeling the temptation to just shrink back to our comfort zone. And maybe we would have been justified in doing so: we were struggling with our employees and that the best solution might be to just let them go and do deals on our own, making decent money but not really going big.
As appealing as that idea may have been, we knew that there was another option: we could challenge ourselves and throw our fears to one side. We could impact the world in a positive way and really live up to our potential as managers, as leaders and individuals.
But to do so, we needed to have a clear plan to overcome the hurdles that were holding us back. The first step was to improve ourselves as leaders and to create an enterprise that attracts the right talent. From there we needed to identify the one limiting factor that – if resolved – could help us grow 10x.
But right at that moment, we still didn’t recognize the one factor (selling properties one at a time instead of in bulk) that was holding us back. All we knew was that what we were doing wasn’t working. And even though we knew that the growth was going to be uncomfortable and even painful, we were committed to making it happen.
The takeaway and your challenge
Once we decided to grow big and we identified the limiting factor, we learned the surprising truth that I mentioned at the beginning of this article – that growing a business to 10x is WAY easier than growing it 2x.
What about your business? Have you hit a ceiling that is limiting what you can do? What is the one factor, bottleneck in your company, in your process, or in your industry that, if removed, would allow you to grow 10x?
Think about it, and then do something about it.
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