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Here’s How To Build A $10 Million Business

Here are five tips to help take your small business to the next level and help you build a $10 million enterprise.

Originally published Dec. 23, 2015

Getting past $1 million in revenues is a goal that most entrepreneurs would love to achieve, and one that frequently remains as elusive as it is attractive. But if your business can make it to $1 million and reach a level of sustainability, it will have a much higher chance of survival.

Better still, you can grow your business to reach the $10 million revenue mark.

“Getting over the $10 million hump in our business has taken some time and has not been an overnight process, as some might think,” says Nicole Smartt Serres, the former vice president and co-owner of Star Staffing. “We worked tirelessly on repositioning ourselves in the market and becoming known as an industry leader. In two short years (during the recession), we broke our companies’ sales and profit record. We had finally exceeded the $10 million hump that seemed so hard to get past years before and have continued to increase our profit each year since.”

Smartt Serres, who received the 2015 North Bay Business Journal Forty Under 40 award recognizing business leaders under the age of 40, offers five tips to help steer business owners in the right direction and, with time, over the $10 million hump.

Hire Talented, Driven People

It may seem like a no-brainer, but the quality of your staff reflects your company. Aim for people who are more talented at what they do than you are at what you do, and you’ll be on the right track. Spend time hiring candidates who add to both your business and your company culture. Focus on hiring people with a can-do attitude over flawless experience. Candidates who are engaged and willing and able to tackle any challenge can be more teachable and bring valuable energy.

Find Your Uniqueness

Think about what will set you apart from your competition. For Smart Serres, it was personalization. “I spent a lot of time closing every deal that I had the opportunity to, and for each deal I put together a unique proposal for that client. I researched each business inside and out to truly understand their needs. I focused on providing a personalized approach to everything we did; it really set us apart from other agencies,” she says. “There is no ‘one size fits all’ for clients.”

Remember Marketing and Networking Go Hand in Hand

“My goal has always been to be like Starbucks: on every corner. While we can’t have an office in every location, we can use mobile signs, flyers, and so on,” says Smartt Serres. Spend at least one hour a day on social media, growing your network and strategically connecting with leaders. Your target audience should dictate where you spend your time, and there’s ample research out there to help you determine which social media tools to focus on.

Listen to Feedback

Your employees, clients, and community members are your single biggest asset. Your staff will have some good ideas. Listen to their input, ask questions, and consider any angles you have missed. “We use a suggestions form on our website that we ask all staff and employees to fill out. You can make yours anonymous for more candid suggestions,” says Smartt Serres. “Some of the most innovative solutions have come from surprising market pressures, and when you’re open to feedback, you will be better prepared to act before anyone else can.”

Stay True to Your Vision

While feedback is invaluable, don’t let naysayers sway your ultimate vision. While we would ideally like for everyone to be in agreement, we don’t make decisions based on consensus. Instead, we want to disrupt our industry, and that means breaking the change barrier. Your clarity of vision will guide your hard work right on past the $10 million mark. Write down your goals and put them where you will see them every day. Make sure your entire staff knows the direction in which you are heading. This way, everyone is working toward the same goal.

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