Promising start-ups often stagnate after a couple of years, so how can you sustain business growth? Good leadership means investing in your people and yourself to help the business thrive, writes Sabri Suby founder of King Kong, Australia’s fastest growing digital agency.
Invest in your people
No single person has ever achieved much on their own and the sooner you recognise this and invest in good people, the better. I started King Kong with one laptop and one phone, working from home. When I quickly came to the realisation that I couldn’t grow it alone beyond a certain point, I focused on building my team and the business infrastructure. Good people help you scale because they allow you to pursue every opportunity presented.
I hire for attitude. Skills on a CV only go so far, and businesses miss a lot of talent because they hire on skills that can be developed with further training or experience. It’s better to find someone with a can-do attitude who’s not afraid of hard work and train them up.
Training is not the only investment you should make in your team. If your staff are going to be working for you and with each other for 40+ hours per week, you’d better make it a good time. Hire good talent, treat them well and give them a reason to be happy when they step into the workplace.
Many businesses subscribe to the rule ‘put your customers first’. When you go beyond the start-up phase that should be ‘put your team first’ because it’s the element you can control at scale. Your team is the most important thing to get right because they will look after the customers for you.
When you start a business you get used to doing everything yourself. You need to shed this mindset so your business can scale and you can grow as a leader. Get comfortable identifying your strengths and weaknesses and skill gaps, as being aware of your shortcomings means you can work to eliminate them. Letting go and hiring a world-class management team to manage the day-to-day has been key to King Kong’s sustainable growth.
As part of this, learn to defend your time. Block out a couple of hours a day for your team to meet with you so you’re accessible, but won’t be interrupted while you’re in your flow. If you have an executive assistant or a calendar app, have your team request a chat via those methods rather than (metaphorically) leaving the door open.
Strive for productivity
You’ve probably heard of the Pareto principle or ‘80/20 rule’, where 20% of activities generate 80% of revenue. After analysing King Kong’s, I found that 64% of our entire revenue could be created by just 4% of my activities. I focus on that and delegate the rest to my capable team.
On a personal level, I invest in planning: every minute spent planning saves time down the track. Split your end goal into monthly, weekly and daily goals so you have a plan of attack. Starting each day with a plan gives you productive momentum.
Business moves quickly, so if you wait for 100 per cent of the facts, you’ll never do anything. Great leaders are effective risk-takers who can quickly weigh up upsides and downsides on 30-40 per cent of the facts to make calculated risks. Being decisive helps you seize opportunities so you can stay ahead.
Business growth is only sustainable if you’ve laid a good foundation. Scaling from a solo entrepreneur to a leader of a much larger team means you need to get your hiring right so you’re backed by the skills and culture that enable you to grow. This gives you the space to become a productive and effective leader so you have the ability to grab opportunities when they arise and advance your business.