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December 1, 2015
Why do Small Businesses fail?
Why do Small Businesses fail?
January 11, 2018

“10X” the secret business growth mantra!!

10X Growth

10X GrowthSatish was shocked. He thought Mahesh was either teasing him or didn’t wanted to reveal his secret. Recently Mahesh got the Business Person of the year award as first generation entrepreneur of one of the fastest growing company in India. Satish wondered how Mahesh had achieved it without any business background while he himself was struggling to grow his business coming from a business family that gave a head start with a running business. Curious to know he asked Mahesh the secret of his success.  “Foreign trip with family” was the reply.

Today the childhood friends had met accidently, at a function of one common friend. Satish couldn’t believe what he just heard. Looking at his blank face, Mahesh said, let’s step out for a coffee and I will tell you everything.

Once settled at Starbucks Mahesh stared sharing his story. For initial five years my business was like any other business and I struggled to grow. I was barely meeting both ends as I could manage to get just about enough money that was always falling short of growing family needs. I became extremely busy as I had to look after almost all aspects of business operations and had no time left for the family. The same situation continued year after year and it started taking toll on not just my health but also on family relationships.

It was my uncle who became the saviour. Having heard about my struggle one day he came to see me and after asking lot of questions about how I was running my business he asked me to take a break and go for a family trip abroad. My state wasn’t different than yours when I heard this. I was barely able to manage enough money so thinking of even spending few lakhs on a foreign trip sent shock waves through my spine. Moreover forget about two weeks, there was no way my business would have sustained me being even for few days. He however insisted, almost forced me into it and pursued till I announced it at my house.

All along since I started my business, me, my wife and kids were just living in one house, rarely having moments of fun and joy. I was always engrossed in my business and off late as I became lot irritated, they started avoiding me, making regular healthy interactions almost impossible. So when I announced it at first my family couldn’t believe. They thought I was kidding but once they knew I was serious & that too was firm to travel overseas, all of a sudden the mood changed completely.

It was a memorable trip. I saw everyone full of energy, so many different ideas emerged while selecting the destination. I was worried about the cost as ideas of different destinations & travel agents offerings started pouring in. But I never thought my family understood my situation so well that I was taken aback when my wife and kids declared we will go on our own and they will plan it out. I was surprised to see the creative ideas form my daughter & son and underestimated their qualities as both of them managed to gather all information from internet & did meticulous planning fitting within limited budget I had.

Looking back I know how this one incident changed my life. I realised it was the bold & big decision that changed everything. The family got united, got tremendous energy, lot of ideas came in but at the same time everyone was cost conscious. Not only the trip was memorable but everyone started looking forward to the next trip and by then I too had decided that every year we will have family outing to different destination across the world. What followed subsequently is now a history, I grew my business 10 times with multiple factories within India & overseas. Mahesh stopped his story.

Satish wasn’t clear yet. What Mahesh told him was about his foreign trip with family. What It had to do with business growth, he asked.

Smilingly Mahesh said well I just applied the same principles to my business. By the time I returned back from the trip I realised it was me, my mind set, my thinking that was becoming bottleneck in my own growth. I realised it was me who had not seen a big dream, had failed to create a big picture of my business for my employees. I realised that I had not empowered my managers. Neither allowed them to present their ideas nor trusted their ability to take independent decisions and manage the business.

The first thing I did was to announce “10X”. What is 10X exclaimed Satish. It was my strong intent and commitment to grow my business 10 times within a shortest possible timeframe. It made a huge difference;

  • It forced me to “Think Differently”. Having announced the bold decision of 10X growth, I knew what we were doing till now wasn’t going to make us achieve it. I had to think of different alternatives and more smarter ways of doing business. This lead me to complete overhaul my business and operating model. Within 8-10 months in stabilized my business and went on to increasing sales gradually. This led me to bring in latest machinery & automate many processes that increased production, efficiency & quality. We also implemented latest IT systems increasing collaboration, productivity & decision making at minimal incremental cost to the company.
  • It created a sense of urgency. I knew I was a technocrat good at producing but had never spent time in acquiring business acumen. I failed to be a good leader and had no knowledge of finance and marketing. I realised it was time for me to step out of day to day operations and concentrate on acquiring new skills, meeting customers, establishing new relationships through networking, finding out about the advancements in machinery, automation & latest information technologies that can benefit my business. It allowed me to sense opportunities available in the market that till now I wasn’t sensing at all. This sense of urgency lead us to subsequently acquire a company that doubled our production capacity.
  • It created abundant energy in the company. The team transitioned quickly from scepticism to abundant energy and lot of new ideas started coming in. 10X soon become the mantra as everyone started questioning everything whether what we are doing today is going to make us achieve 10X growth. Everyone started becoming cost conscious. Everyone was motivated as they realised me being firm and operating with conviction they either change or be ready to leave. People got self-motivated, started supporting each other and took complete ownership of their functions. This directly reflected on the customer service and satisfaction.
  • People’s mind set changed. Earlier whenever I had tried to bring in experienced employees, the old loyal employees resisted and created trouble. The outsiders never settled and left in succession. Any new initiative seldom succeeded as everyone including me had become complacent. Infested with 10X mantra my old loyal managers not only realised they need to change but also questioned their own ability and skills to achieve 10X growth in shortest time frame. New professional employees joined in, existing employees started learning new skills on their own as they could see their own professional and financial growth with the company. Today each of my old & few new managers are independently handling business lines worth more than 100cr each.
  • Finance became easily available. Earlier I used to struggle to get even a small temporary overdraft from my bank. As we started focusing on accelerated growth, the first thing we did was not allowing any outstanding beyond credit limits. Earlier we used to have huge outstanding as invoices were either not raised on time or never followed up for payments and at times some or other work remained pending allowing customers to hold our payments. This had it’s impact on the working capital and we were always short on cash. Changing most of these practices even going to an extent of stopping work with some clients who failed to pay on time, we started generating funds for investing in increasing the capacity, developing new capabilities and investing in branding & marketing. This not only led the bankers to open their purse but investment bankers too started chasing us with right acquisition targets with funding offers. The 10X growth and the reason you see resulting into the award is a story of lot of sweat but also smart and prudent timely decisions.

Satish got the answer, while Family foreign trip was the turning point, a point of realization, the real secret was having a big dream, creating right strategies and relentless pursuit effective execution- the “10X”Mantra. He realised If he has to catch-up fast & exponentially grow his business “10X growth” was the answer.

Seema was surprised to see her husband Satish entering home whistling with a smile on his face. It was quite some time she had seen Satish in such a cheerful mood.