How to build a $10M business

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We often hear about the high percentage of new businesses that fail, but imagine a world in which it’s easier to grow your business than you thought. Imagine a world in which just 10 easy steps could help you learn how to begin building a multi million-dollar business – starting today.

Thanks to Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Local and Cofounder & Chairman of Likeable Media, you don’t have to imagine. Dave is a serial entrepreneur who has written four books and is one of the most-read contributors on His work revolves around listening to customers and prospects in order to deliver what they need and drive word-of-mouth marketing. He also advocates that the power of relationship-building is stronger today than ever and that those who succeed at building a business and disrupt their competitors are those who have the best people skills. With Kerpen’s unique ideas, you can learn how to build your business today. He has 10 proven business strategies that have brought him massive success over the last seven years, and he recently shared these insights with Chad Cooper in a Tony Robbins webinar.

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Take a look at Kerpen’s 10 key strategies and learn how to build a 10-million-dollar business.

1. Find trustworthy partners

Whether it’s a close friend or family member, partner with people you know you can trust as you begin researching how to build a business. Kerpen himself has partnered with both his spouse and one of his good friends of over 30 years. Most of the time, we focus on the character and virtues of those we are legally partnered with. But vetting other people and entities that you are associated with – including your vendors and advisors – is equally critical. You have the freedom to select whom you want to work with, so take the time to do your research. Check references, talk to others who have worked with them and perform background checks if your partnership will involve the handling of private information or large amounts of money. Remember, you eventually become like those you spend the most time with, so make sure you surround yourself with good people when building a business.

2. Create a strategy and focus

One of the biggest mistakes young businesses make is over-committing. In their pursuit of building a business, they end up saying yes to almost everything because they’re excited to get the word out about their company, but they often hurt their chances of success by lacking a clear focus and not being selective enough. If you try to be all things to all people, chances are you will fail. Start with making a one-page strategic plan that forces you to focus on creating and doing one thing for one target audience. What do you want to do that will add value to the lives of your customers? Verne Harnish’s one-pager provides an ideal framework to help structure this thought process.

As Tony often says, where focus goes, energy flows. With a singular focus, you can harness all of your energy and effort and direct it toward the specific outcome of building a business that succeeds.

3. Say no to what’s off focus

Saying no to anything that isn’t in your direct line of fire may be difficult to do at first when learning how to build a business, but can actually be one of the smartest decisions you make in the long run – even if it means firing your own customers. Why? Because it frees you up to focus on your target, it allows for more space and bandwidth to grow and it makes you available for the yesses.

How does learning to set limits help you excel in building a business? The answer is twofold, hinging on the equation of time management coupled with the emotional toll of over-committing yourself (and your team) in the pursuit of business success. The former needs little explanation; there are only 24 hours in a day, and you and your team can only accomplish so much during the eight or so hours in the workday. If you overload your team, they are forced to multitask. It’s a myth that multitasking is productive – it’s actually overwhelming and leads to mistakes and lower quality work in the long run.

Meanwhile, to understand the role of emotional boundaries in building a multi-million dollar business, let’s look at the research. Studies demonstrate that as much as 80% of workplace difficulties boil down to strained workplace relationships. Leadership consultants observed that even the most talented and driven business owners and employees tend to become derailed by poorly-managed workplace dynamics.Consultants recommend several practical strategies for putting parameters around your time and interactions as you work on building a business. In addition to practicing effective time management, be sure to express your professional boundaries clearly (i.e. what you and your team can and will do in any given day or week); stay clear on what your role actually is (instead of taking on other people’s jobs) and learn to recognize and address workplace toxicity when it happens (don’t let poor boundaries linger in the workplace). As you practice these skills and make them a known part of your organizational culture, your staff, partners and customers will all benefit, thus helping you create the multi-million dollar business you set out to create when you launched your business.

4. Find peer support

If you’re a business owner, you know what’s at stake and how much risk is involved in running a company. But how do you handle the fear of failure? Where do you go for advice and guidance in learning how to build a business? You want to uphold your position as a leader and don’t want to talk about these things with your team, and you might not want to discuss these heavy topics with your family.

Kerpen states that it’s lonely at the top, and many people in your life will not understand the pressures involved in building a business. That’s why finding a peer community is so important. Not only can this provide a confidential atmosphere where you can find support and valuable insight, but it can be instrumental in the process of learning the most efficient and effective ways of taking your business to the next level. Seek out peers at networking events or industry get-togethers and try to find a good mix of those who are also learning how to build a company and those who have already succeeded in creating a multi-million dollar business.

5. Form a board of advisors

A critical component in learning how to build a business is coordinating a group of trusted mentors to counsel you on key issues in growing your business. Many of these people know how to make a multi-million dollar business and can advise you on your financial plan. Kerpen recruited longtime friends and mentors with a wide range of business experience and areas of focus (law, sales, marketing, brand management, finance, etc.) to be on his board of advisors.

While an advisory board may not seem like a critical component of business success, it can actually become one of your most important assets in business development – providing the strategic advice and complementary skills to take your company to the next level.

6. Hire slow and fire fast

When building a business, you’ll quickly learn that the sooner you part ways with employees who aren’t the right fit or who are toxic, the better. Most of us, however, do the opposite. We hire quickly to fill the position when we really need to be taking our time to determine if the candidate has the right nature, the right personality and whether or not their core values align with the company’s mission. Then we are slow to let the person go, even though we know in our gut that it isn’t working. By hiring slow and firing fast, you will find that it is more efficient and effective for you, your business and for that person. This approach makes it more likely that you’ll bring valuable team players on who will become raving fans of your business and help your company grow. Additionally, when you hire the right people, you don’t face as much turnover and have to hire and fire less frequently.

7. Build great values and culture

Learning how to build a business requires creating a welcoming company culture. Take the time to create a space where your employees want to spend their time and where innovation is always encouraged. Think about it – you spend more of your waking hours at work and with fellow employees than anywhere or with anyone else. So isn’t it worth taking the time and money to create a place that people enjoy working? What is the culture at your company? Do you have a strong set of core values and do your employees value these standards? Building a company where people want to go to work is one of the most pivotal ways of building a business that grows and is sustainable.

What’s more, you want your employees to feel valued at the office. Foster a culture that celebrates your team’s wins, big and small, where everyone feels they have a second home. You may also consider putting a profit-sharing plan or other incentive program in place to build loyalty and encourage your employees to treat the company as their own.

8. Build your brand

With social media and a global audience at your fingertips, this is the single best time for building a business via building a brand online. It wasn’t that long ago that you needed to hire a PR agency to create brand identity and awareness. But now, if you are determined and diligent enough, you can build a brand by creating quality content every single day and leveraging social media outlets to attract and engage your target audience.

Keep in mind that, in this day and age, you are what you publish. Make sure your online content is consistent with your tone and values and that you are providing value to your readers and sharing with them instead of trying to sell them something or bragging about your successes. Kerpen states that one of the best decisions he made was to start publishing a daily blog. In only two years, they had the most-read blog in social media marketing and their brand was set.

9. Ask for referrals

In deciding how to build a business, you’ll find that the best form of marketing is through your current customers. While this may seem obvious, most businesses just don’t utilize this resource. We may feel uncomfortable asking existing customers for referrals or we may not realize how powerful a marketing asset this can be. But if you don’t try you won’t reap the benefits. And it’s actually quite easy to do if you know how to present your products or services with certainty, and can go a long way toward building a business. If you’ve succeeded in creating raving fans of your customers and clients, they will be much more likely to give you referrals. Treat them right, focus on giving them the ultimate customer experience and know when to make the ask.

How does this help you build your business? Look at the statistics. Selling to new customers costs about three times more money (and potentially more than that) than it costs to sell to existing customers. While acquiring new customers is certainly essential for building a business and securing customer loyalty for the long-term, it would be foolish not to cash in on the resources you already have in your existing customer base. Business strategists, therefore, recommend doing everything you possibly can to retain existing customers who are likely to market your product to their friends. As you focus on building your business, create a product that sells itself and show your customers love by finding out what they want and focusing on their needs.

10. It’s the people

The single most important factor in your success is your people – your partner, your advisors, your staff and your peers. All of these individuals will help you do the work and continually find new ideas for how to build a business.

Kerpen emphasizes that your people are your future success and will make the difference between success and failure. That means you don’t have to do it alone, but you do have to find the right people and empower them so you can harness the power and potential of their talent, skill and drive. Learn how to make instant connections with those you want to work with, hone your ability to recognize their patterns and attempt to treat others the way they would like to be treated. When you attract good people and show them you truly care about them on both a personal and professional level, how to build a business becomes 10 times easier.

Additional strategies for building a business

  • Educate yourself. Successful business owners are lifelong learners. You don’t have to possess an advanced degree to build a multi million-dollar business, but you do have to learn the basics of business ownership. Enhance that education by reading books, attending seminars and listening to audio programs like Tony Robbins’ Mastering Influence.
  • Get a business coach. Working with a business coach helps you jump-start your plan to build a multi-million dollar business. By providing accountability, resources and a sounding board for ideas, a business coach is your partner in success.
  • Find your passion. You don’t have to choose between passion and profitability when it comes to building a business. In fact, the more passionate you are about your chosen endeavor, the likelier you are to succeed. Choose a venture that excites you, that you can’t wait to get out of bed for, and you’ll be ahead of the game.
  • Develop successful recruiting practices. Once your company is established, taking it to the multi-million dollar business level is all about bringing the right people on board. Create effective recruiting practices that attract the right talent and incentivize them to stay.

Looking for additional business strategies to help you as you learn how to build a business? Attend Business Mastery. The incredible five-day event features world-class speakers that will leave you feeling empowered and ready to take on any business challenges. After leaving the event, you’ll be armed with the knowledge you need to create a mult-million dollar business.

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