I asked a few fast growth businesses how they did it. This is what they told me.
Although not truly meeting the definition of “exponential”, we did pick three companies that had achieved massive growth and convinced their leaders to talk about what was going on.
I thought it was worthwhile to share the main points.
The companies were:
- Red Bubble. An online art store that launched just over 12 months ago and now has 38,000 members and over 600,000 pieces of art online.
- REA Group. Seven years ago the operators of Realestate.com.au had revenue of $4 million with losses of $6 million. Today it has revenue of $110 million and profits of $15 million.
- Roo Online Video Network. From three men in a garage in Caulfield in 2001, this online video company, now headquartered in New York and listed on the NASDAQ, streams its content to more than 60 countries via 10,000 servers.
According to my notes, the main points from each of our speakers on the triggers for them to achieve exponential growth were:
Peter Styles – CEO, Red Bubble
- You need to bring on board people who are passionate about what you do, as achieving exponential growth isn’t a 9-to-5 job.
- Delivering a “remarkable experience” in every area of the company will make the growth sustainable.
Simon Baker – CEO, Realestate.com.au
- Focus. Get rid of distracting/unprofitable business lines and concentrate energy on your strategy.
- Hire well. And be prepared to stand people aside if you need to.
- Have an infrastructure that will support your growth.
(For more from Simon Baker see our feature on Realestate.com.au’s international growth strategy.)
Tristan Place – vice president of sales/strategic partnerships for ROO Online Video Network.
- Make sure you have the right people in place.
- Stay disciplined. When growing there are millions of potential distractions.
Each speaker also mentioned that in the early days each company had the right to experiment with markets, business models and products. However the mistakes were quickly (or sometimes slowly) identified and the business tightened up into the growth machine that now exists.
Once again there was no “secret to success” or magic button that was pressed. Massive growth came down to focus on strategy and hiring the right people.
Brendan Lewis is a serial technology entrepreneur having founded : Ideas Lighting, Carradale Media, Edion, Verve IT, The Churchill Club, Flinders Pacific and L2i Technology Advisory. He has set up businesses for others in Romania, Indonesia and Vietnam. Qualified in IT and Accounting, he has also spent time running an Advertising agency and as a Cavalry Officer with the Australian Army Reserve.
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