Scaling in (a) WhirlWind

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The Vision and Quest
Two years ago, we embarked on a WhirlWind journey to achieve our Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs). Our Painted Vision, facilitated by Dan Lionello of Painted Picture, includes reaching the 12 million dollar landmark by end of 2017 and by 2021 successfully transitioning from CEO to Chairman of Board of Directors of WhirlWind Ventures.

Our vision encompasses WhirlWind Ventures as a holdings and investment firm with ownership and investments in multiple companies within an umbrella. WhirlWind Ventures would give emerging CEOs and entrepreneurs the tools and resources to run successful companies using our best practices. Our mission is to help deserving and talented but overlooked people, providing them an opportunity to live out their lofty dreams of running their own business.

The first thing we needed to have on hand for such an arduous journey is a detailed map, and through a series of fortuitous events, we have come to choose “Scaling up: How a Few Companies Make it…and the Rest Don’t” by Verne Harnish and his team at Gazelles.

Why this map?
Harnish is the writer of the bestselling book “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” and a consultant who helped more than 40,000 business leaders in scaling up their companies.

Harnish also founded the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) that I joined in 2015, and I have since been selected to become the DC Board Member chair of the forum. The EO has been instrumental in providing me with tools, numerous learning opportunities and mentoring by seasoned and like-minded entrepreneurs. I heard Harnish speak recently at the Entrepreneurial Masters Program (EMP), an EO Executive program at MIT, and I was inspired by his insights and grasp of business. In my travels and connections with other CEOs, Harnish’s work comes up again and again as a tool for growing their companies.

The Tools and Road ahead
There’s a whole industry of books and gurus with advice on how to successfully run and grow a business, but what struck me about Harnish is his work delivers actionable plans and concrete outcomes. The end goal is to create a company where the team is engaged; the clients are doing our marketing; and everyone is aligned in contributing to the growth of a firm. And the key is for the whole company to move in sync to create something significant and enjoy the ride.

Harnish focuses on the fundamentals, quoting Einstein: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.”

  • People: Attracting and retaining the right people
  • Strategy: Creating a truly differentiated strategy
  • Execution: Driving flawless execution
  • Cash: Having plenty of cash to weather the storm

We will be creating a series of blogs based on each of the sections, and sharing our insights as we implement the tools. This will be the first of a series of blogs that gives our take from the WhirlWind trenches, and we invite you to join us.

Have you read “Scaling Up” or a similar book? Share your thoughts on the tools, growth, the journey ahead and anything else that comes to mind.