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How A Unique Company Culture Can Lay The Foundations For Fast Growth
By Guy Remond and Ian Brookes
When it comes to achieving fast growth, many entrepreneurs tend to jump the gun and head straight for external investment. But while external funding can help you scale faster, it’s not always the right answer.
Recently, I was joined by Ian Brookes on the Fast Growth Stories podcast, where we looked back on our time at Cake Solutions – my first company – and how we managed to achieve growth across the board. You can listen to the full conversation here.
My decision to start Cake Solutions came at the worst possible time for launching a tech company. It was during the aftermath of the dotcom bubble burst, and investors were running for the hills. As a result, we had to run the company on a shoestring budget for years.
But despite my naivety (at the time) and the fact that we had no external investments whatsoever, we still succeeded in transforming Cake Solutions from a lifestyle business to a high-growth company.
Much of that growth stemmed from having the right structures and operational foundations in place.
Why performance culture can drive you to success
As everyone at EHE Group knows, my Unique Ability® is building talented teams to help drive up standards and efficiency across the board. This skill set enabled me to build a strong performance culture and an aligned leadership team – two core foundations for fast growth, as Ian explained:
Ian: “The foundations of a high-growth company are around performance culture and having an aligned leadership team. I’ll always admire Guy for bringing in a team, building that same team, and also sharing the reward. Plus, he didn’t compromise on technical excellence. So, people felt rewarded, engaged, and like they had authority and responsibility.
From a founder’s point of view, that is a tremendous action. While he didn’t have a lot of financial expertise, the internal culture and the leadership processes he started were the foundations for high growth.”
Generating brand awareness
In tandem with building an aligned leadership team and culture, brand awareness should always be at the centre of your thinking. Not only does it stand you in good stead for investment opportunities, but it’s also an essential part of the sales funnel.
During our time at Cake Solutions, we started generating thought leadership content as a team which resulted in increased sales, and of course, strengthened brand presence. That was our first indication that expert content generation could serve as a viable alternative to traditional sales tactics like cold-calling or direct selling.
A culture of self-respect
One of the things Ian taught me – and which I’d like to pass on to other founders – is the importance of self-respect. Not only for yourself but for the company as well. By cultivating and fostering a culture of self-respect, you’ll pave the way for faster and more organic growth.
That’s one of the ways we were able to transform Cake Solutions from a lifestyle business to a high-growth one. As our notoriety grew and we started being recognised for our expertise, we learned how to value ourselves and the company. This mindset shift enabled us to raise our day rates, and ultimately, reinvest all of that cash into the business and grow organically.
Building a community
Ian: “A salutary lesson for small, ambitious companies is: if you excel at what you do, talk about it, build a community, and then aim high. Cake Solutions was part of – if not the leader of – the Scala community [the technology we used]. It was this community ethos/culture that helped us win six-figure projects with some household names. More importantly, we inspired people to do their own things and pursue technical excellence.”
A proper team framework
As always, I think building the right management team is the single most important element of the high-growth formula. Do your team members have the drive and vision to steer the company in the right direction? Even more importantly, are they filling the right shoes?
One defining trait of successful leaders is their ability to recognise their own weaknesses and identify the right people to bridge those gaps. I’ll be the first to admit that numbers and I don’t exactly see eye to eye. That’s why I’ve always made it a top priority to hire the right people who can effectively present me with the information I need to assess risks and make strategic decisions.
And, as Ian explains, it’s all down to taking a step back as the founder and letting your team do their jobs:
Ian: “Letting go is one of the hardest things a founder can do. But it’s highly important to let your team members take responsibility and risks. All of this, in addition to the other elements discussed above, lay the foundation for fast growth.”
Joining a tribe of like-minded entrepreneurs, like the ones in our EHE Community, is a great place to start your growth journey. And if you’d like to learn more about the specific support we offer at EHE Group, let’s talk.
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