As entrepreneurs, we want to take our businesses to the next level and make a huge difference. But many of us are caught in a pattern of "incrementalism." Instead of big gains, we experience a frustrating and seemingly endless cycle of single-digit growth.
The good news: You can break that cycle and start generating 10x growth -- exponential results that catapult your business to a level of success you may never have thought possible.
10x growth is a concept pioneered by Dan Sullivan, one of the world's top coaches to entrepreneurs (and someone I've worked with for many years). The co-founder of The Strategic Coach, Sullivan told AES Nation that by aiming for a future that is 10 times bigger than your current reality instead of focusing on small gains, you'll actually find it easier to run your company.
Even better, it's not as difficult to generate 10x growth as you might think. Here are four essential, easy-to-implement strategies that Dan recently shared with me.
1. Adopt the 10x mindset. The single most important step is to have the clear intention of generating exponential growth in your company. Dan calls this the "10X mindset." It means seeking and being open to every opportunity that can help you grow by 10x, and avoiding those things that don't contribute to that growth. Without this 10x mindset to guide and motivate you, none of the other tools or tactics will matter.
I can tell you from my experience that the shift from a slower growth mindset -- say, 2x, or trying to double your success -- to 10x is both liberating and energizing. That's because in 2x growth mode, says Dan, you essentially get stuck in the immediate past and try to improve incrementally without really changing anything. In contrast, a 10x mindset focuses your thinking squarely on what your ideal future looks like, and how you can best pull your present situation toward that ideal vision. With a 10x mindset, you begin to examine everything in your entrepreneurial life -- your clients, customers, support team, technology, even your lifestyle -- and question which parts of the past should coming along on the journey forward, and which need to be jettisoned.
2. Turn mindset into action. Of course, the right intentions will only get you so far. You also must act. Every 90 days, identify three things around you (or three actions you are taking) that are blocking your progress toward 10x growth -- and get rid of them. Likewise, look to add three things or take three actions that will help fuel your exponential growth goals. By regularly cutting out those activities that sap your energy and adding to those things that boost your energy, you will make tremendous progress consistently. Soon you'll find yourself operating at a 10x level of performance and results in many areas of your life.
3. Take full advantage of technology. Technology is the rocket fuel that's helping more entrepreneurs generate 10x growth than ever. In the past -- meaning the pre-personal computer/software application/Internet days many of us came up in -- most business owners thought only in terms of incremental growth because it was so much harder to reach their audience. Modest growth was all the world seemed to allow. But thanks to Moore's Law and the power of the microchip, we now have technologies such as webinars and podcasts to reach huge numbers of people easily and cost effectively. These tools allow entrepreneurs to get massively bigger results with very low investments.
If you think you're too old to make these and other technologies work for you, think again. It's actually the most seasoned entrepreneurs among us who tend to benefit most from technology -- not the upstarts. The reason: Veteran entrepreneurs demonstrate a purposefulness when using tech that their younger peers lack. Instead of getting distracted by a technology's bells and whistles, experienced entrepreneurs hone right in on using the technology to achieve exactly what they want. That powerful combination of strategic purpose and today's connection-building technology can drive huge results for so-called "old guard" entrepreneurs.
4. Strengthen your strengths -- not your weaknesses. 10x growth tends to occur after entrepreneurs start focusing more on what they do best and stop worrying about their weaknesses. This might seem counterintuitive. After all, you're told throughout your life that working on improving your weaknesses will make you a more well-rounded person. Maybe -- but it also will make you a less strategic, less purposeful and ultimately less successful entrepreneur. By betting on what you're really good at and raising that bet throughout your life, you'll gain the confidence, capabilities and clarity of purpose that are the essence of entrepreneurship. As Dan puts it: The people who focus on their strengths own the world, while the people who focus on their weaknesses work for them.
The upshot: Focus on doing even better at those things you're already good at, and surround yourself with people who can handle the areas where you're weak. You can even take this concept a step further and "trade strengths" -- for example, by partnering or teaming up with another entrepreneur who possess skills or abilities you lack while also bringing your own unique offerings to that relationship.
For more insights and advice from Dan Sullivan about achieving 10x growth, as well as his take on the best technologies and other resources for entrepreneurs, check out our interview at AES Nation.