What Do You Need to Successfully Scale Your Business?

Jun 24, 2019

Over sixty guests met at Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs for the latest AWE event.

Danielle Cohn, Head of Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs, welcomed everyone to the space and noted that its purpose is to help Philadelphia thrive as a startup community.

When choosing the companies with whom they will work, Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs looks for an established team, a developed product, and visible financial traction.

A founder panel comprised of moderator Michele Burkholder (1847 Financial), Myriam Siftar (MRM LinguaSoft), and Heather Steiger (2120 Creative), continued to explore the topic of the evening – What do you need to successfully scale your business?

Below are some of the questions asked and a summary of the responses:

How did you get where you are? What are the keys to your success?

  • It is important to have expertise for the successful execution of the product.
  • It is important to sell people on the idea.
  • It is important to diversity and not rely on a few clients for revenue.

What was your biggest obstacle?

  • MONEY!
  • It took many years for the income to match the time commitment.

Most businesses fail. Why didn’t your businesses fail?

  • You need to be committed and recognize that you are in it for the long haul.
  • It is important to mentor the people on the team.
  • It is important to invest in operations. It will allow the company to do more with the same level of resources.
  • It is important to be unified. While obstacles can be disheartening, one must find a way…go under, go over, go around, go through…but have the tenacity and ambition to achieve.
  • Recognize that if your business is not scalable from day one, it will never be scalable.

How did you make decisions regarding expansion?

  • The first hire was the scariest.
  • There is a benefit to using contractors with different skill sets. It will help you meet the needs of your clients.
  • Recognize that employees are not just getting work done; they are a critical part of your business.
  • It is important to cross train and cross pollinate within the team.
  • Recognize that growth will enable the company to expand the types of services that can be offered.

Vanessa Chan has said, “Failure is like farting, everyone does it, but no one wants to admit it.” What were some of your failures?

  • Realizing that the wrong people were on the bus. It was hard to clean house, but important to retake the culture.
  • Holding on too long after recognizing that the wrong person was in the wrong seat.
  • Not asking for help.

What advice would you give?

  • Recognize that this is a long-term commitment. There are very few (true) stories of overnight success.
  • Have passion and commitment.
  • Take time off and step away. It will have a positive impact.
  • The way you begin is the way you will end.
  • Operationalize your business so you can be efficient. It will be worth it in the long run to spend the money to exploit technology.
  • Don’t avoid the things you feel “icky” about.

We were especially pleased to have Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses alumni join us for this event. Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is an investment to help entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing access to education, capital and business support services. We would like to offer a special thank you to Joan Chrestay and Marsha Levell for introducing AWE to Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses. More information about the program can be found here.