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Want to Build a Million-Dollar Business? This Founder Has Some Important Advice for You

“Build your business as if you were building a $100 million dollar company, not as a one person start up.”

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BY Brian Roberts - 06 Sep 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Most business owners can only dream of hitting the million-dollar sales mark. Then there are those who blow right past it, as if the elusive number was never even in their sights.

Allen Brouwer, co-founder of Best Self Co. and one of the eight winners of Shopify's recent Build a Bigger Business contest, did exactly that, winning mentoring from the likes of Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss, Daymond John and other business luminaries.

To even qualify for the contest, his company had to have a business selling between $1 million to $50 million; an achievement in itself. Yet Allen and his co-founder Cathryn Lavery--along with the other contest winners--managed to grow their gross merchandise volume by an additional 500 percent throughout the contest.

Given this remarkable trajectory, I asked Brouwer what advice he would give to first-time founders. What follows is the advice he shared and how you can apply it. Enter Brouwer:

"Build your business as if you were building a $100 million dollar company, not as if you were building a one person start up. Once you start gaining momentum, you'll wish you had the systems, processes, and hiring practices of the big companies and not the piecemeal processes of a start up."

What does this advice mean? Here are three takeaways I took from it:

1. Document your procedures.

In the beginning, you'll likely be doing everything yourself or shouldering the responsibilities with a co-founder. As your business grows, document all the daily, weekly and monthly procedures you follow--whether it's setting up a Facebook ad campaign, scheduling a call or closing a sale--in a way that someone else can replicate.

These processes will become your SOP, or standard operating procedures.

As your business evolves, so will these procedures. Once it's time to hire, this will make the transition easier, keep you organized and prevent you from scrambling to figure out what works all over again while in the middle of boarding on someone new.

2. Divide up your company.

How can you expect to grow your business if you're busy scheduling calls or checking email all day? That, or, buried in the books, subtracting and adding cells into a spreadsheet for half the week? Running your business shouldn't be like running in a hamster wheel.

This is why it's so important to divide up your company into sections.

Much like the first point, once the time is right this process will help you to decentralize control and make handing over the reigns easier (so you can focus on growth). Sales and marketing, finance, HR and administration are all separate sectors to be cognizant of.

3. Don't just plan for success-prepare for it.

By building your business as if you were, let's say, a publicly-traded company, you're not just planning for success-you're preparing for it. What publicly-traded company do you know has just one employee? Now I know what you're thinking.

You likely don't have the budget to hire a CEO, CFO, or maybe even an assistant. That's okay. The key here is to position your company in such a way that, so when the time comes, you can hand off the controls to people more skilled in the sectors you aren't.

What was the best business advice you ever received?