Key Multipliers for Startup Growth

This essay was originally written for Under30CEO.

On day one of your new business, you have a hundred job functions. Try to fit “CEO, President, CFO, Technical Director, Web Developer, Accountant, Sales Representative, Receptionist, Janitor” onto your business cards. To millions of experienced entrepreneurs, this feels like what a small business is always supposed to be.

Wrong. The problem is you. There is currently a 1:1 relationship between your work output and business operations. That’s your Growth Multiplier.

Think back to second grade, an age of lemonade stands and multiplication tables. That’s when we learned that you couldn’t change anything by multiplying by one, either in the classroom or selling sugar water by yourself on the corner.

An entrepreneur’s passion, drive, and intelligence can be a startup’s greatest asset, but for a company to grow, it must expand beyond its founders. The best leaders develop key systems and personnel and trust them to succeed, freeing up time for innovation and vision and multiplying their businesses’ growth potential.

So What Are The Key Multipliers?

1. Add a Super Assistant. Find someone you trust with your schedule, your customers, your money, and your life. Make them the hub between your business and the outside work and give them the power to tell you what to do, where to go, and when to be there.

2. Create a hierarchy of business functions in your job description, from lowest to highest impact on growth and profitability. Start at the bottom, and delegate like it’s your job. Because it is.

3. Forget the old corporate cliché of boring, slow HR departments. Hiring and developing A+ talent is a powerful engine for company growth. Hire and train well early, and you’ve built your future leadership team. Hire poorly or ignore training, and you’ll lose valuable time, customers, and profits.

4. Plan for explosive growth. The best businesses will grow too large for an entrepreneur to manage alone and linear growth brings exponential complexity. Mastering business growth requires an early focus on key operational systems. Consistently gather customer feedback for inputs into the product development process. Track key business metrics and attach them to an employee compensation plan.

5. Give away your corner office. Find someone you trust to run daily operations, and let them. Then go start your second business. Or sit on a beach. (Full Disclosure: I’m not here yet, but it does sound nice.)

It’s hard to scale a business using Growth Multipliers.

Only 21% of businesses in America will grow to 10+ employees and only 4% ever make $1 million in revenues. The average entrepreneur is most comfortable while manning their own little ‘lemonade stand’, living and dying with every sale. Fight this false sense of security, build your way out of daily operations, and become the leader and visionary your business needs. The payoff is immense, both for your life and the bottom line.

Published by Neil Thanedar

Neil Thanedar is a scientist, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and activist. He is the founder & CEO of Air to All, a nonprofit medical device startup designing low-cost respirators and ventilators for COVID-19 and beyond. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Labdoor, a consumer watchdog that independently tests and ranks supplements and other health products for its 20M+ users. He was previously co-founder and President of Avomeen Analytical Services, a product development and testing lab acquired for $30M+ in 2016. He has also served as Executive Director of The Detroit Partnership and Senior Advisor to his father Shri Thanedar in his campaigns for Governor and State Representative in Michigan. He received his BBA (Entrepreneurship) and BS (Cellular & Molecular Biology) from the University of Michigan in 2010. Neil lives in Michigan with his wife Shoua, sons Kai (3) and Ajay (1), and dogs Zeus (12) and Pluto (11). He is also a (very) amateur hockey player and drummer.