Would you like to be in a place where you could grow your business to be able to sell it? Here to outline a blueprint to do just that is serial entrepreneur, visionary, and CEO of Zero Limits Ventures, Steve Little. In this episode, Steve generously offers great insights on how you can drive your business forward by building value. He will challenge you to consider your focus within your business (brand building or revenue generation), and how to turn your ideas into income. He also shares the importance of positioning your product and your business around your capability, and how to develop a customer acquisition sales system, along with some deeper aspects of social media marketing.
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10X Growth Drivers And Building An Exit Strategy with Steve Little [Podcast 199]
Would you like to be in a place where you could actually grow and scale your business to be able to sell? Potentially grow and scale it two times, three times, five times, ten times with less stress or perhaps less drama? Our guest expert is uniquely qualified to show you exactly how to do that. Steve Little is the CEO and Managing Partner of Zero Limits Ventures, an M&A, merger and acquisition adviser, investment banking, and consulting firm. Steve has led six successful startups to private acquisitions averaging $100 million each. Do you think he can show you how to get started to build value to grow? Steve and I have known each other for over a decade. Welcome to the show. It’s good to have you with us.
I’m glad to be here. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it very much.
You have so much wisdom. I want to dive right into that wisdom. You’ve built all of this amazing success over time. You’ve helped companies grow and scale. I want to back up to an area where you weren’t doing so well to have people see the human side. Can you think of your lowest point of business or your biggest failure? Maybe your biggest mistake when it wasn’t working? What that was and what did you learn from it that our audience can learn from it too?
It’s fundamental, a premise for success. You’ve got to love what you’re doing. You’ve got to be oriented to what you’re doing in the context of a purpose that’s bigger than yourself. You have to be committed to accomplishing things that are significant in the world. I know that sounds like pontification there. I did have a period of time where I’m in six consecutive wins that’s unusual in any game. I’ve earned an enormous amount of money. I had a lot of success. I had accolades. I had a great reputation in the Bay Area. I had no problems, but I have to admit to you that I was miserably unhappy. I would literally sob in my car on the way to the office. I get emotional just repeating the story.Mistakes are fundamental; they are a premise for success. - Steve Little Click To Tweet
I got so involved in the hamster wheel. I was wrapped up and pressing to the next thing. Pushing harder and growing faster and never paying attention to the rest of my life. I had this attitude as many entrepreneurs do that I live my life in compartments. We actually have it in our language. I have my work life, my family life, my love life, and my fitness life. Psychologically, we do that because we actually deceive ourselves into thinking that we can borrow from one life and invest in another life, that somehow that’s going to pay a dividend back. I could borrow from my family life. Invest all my time, miss my daughter’s childhood, not spend time with my wife and not spend time with my extended family. I could invest it all in work and travel.
I was 92% travel. I was never home. I could do that with the expectation that it was going to be successful that it was going to pay a big dividend back to my family. Financially, we’d be secure. We’d be happy. We’d have stuff, whatever you want to say. It’s a big fat lie. It doesn’t matter. None of that stuff matters and all it ends up costing you are the people you love and the life you love. You end up not living in your own truth. That is a very sad place to be. I didn’t understand that that’s what was happening to me. All I knew was I was miserably unhappy. Although I’m making ridiculous sums of money, I couldn’t hold it together. I eventually quit. I sat on an airplane coming back from Japan. I swore and be damned when I got on that plane in Tokyo, I was going to figure this out by the time I landed in San Francisco. I got a spiral notebook. I was going to write until the answer came on that airplane.
The funny thing is I only wrote one page and it said across it and big diagonal letters, “Just quit.” I got off the plane. I sent the board my resignation. They sued me. I got out. I was out and I was out for good. I’ve changed my life at that moment. What I learned from that personal experience is you have to get focused on what’s important to you, both in terms of having a mission or a purpose. Something you mean to accomplish in life and you need to focus your energy on doing the things you love to do. Spending time with your family and spending time with your friends. Really living a whole life, an integrated life, not a compartmentalized life. Put it all together. There’s plenty of time to exercise, work, play and have fun. Go to the movies and have dinner. Take your wife out. There’s plenty of time for all that stuff right. That’s the biggest life lesson I can share with you.
There are many similarities that you and I have. A lot of entrepreneurs ultimately have their version of this. How would you say that you show up different now Steve, running your businesses? As an M&A specialist and in some ways as an investor, how do you have that play out for you on a day-to-day basis now?
Understand that I wasn’t quite as deep a soul then as I am now. All I knew was I was unhappy and I had to make a change. I made it. It was the scariest thing. Your lifestyle grows up around that income, if you’re going to walk away from that income and get sued at the same time, you don’t know how you’re going to pay your bills and they’re big bills. That was a nervous time for me. It also forced me into a journey of growth, where I had to get deep on myself and understand who is Steve Little? Why is he here? What is going on with this five-finger walker? I got on a bit of a spiritual journey. It’s not so much a religious journey, but I dug in deep on understanding what was going on in my subconscious? How I’m motivated? What are the things that are truly important to me? How can I connect more effectively, efficiently, and lovingly to my fellow men and women in the community at large?
It took years to actually develop a set of habits that worked for me. I started with the basics. I started with affirmations, intentions and gratitude journaling and meditation. I let myself go deep into that exploration of self. Ultimately, I came out to a place where very little disturbs me now. As a matter of fact, people like working with me because they know that I’m going to put a smile on their face, bring joy to their lives and keep things moving forward. I don’t get upset about a lot of things. I accept the fact that the world is the world and to converse women in, and so we get to deal with that. It has given me a place, a view of the world that allows me to go forward without worrying about whether or not things work exactly the way I thought they’re going to work. They don’t have to work the way I want them to work, they’re going to work out their way. The universe is going to provide whatever needs to be provided if you are clear about your intentions, if you’re driven by purpose, if you’re focused on that passionate pursuit. Things are going to get out of your way and the right stuff is going to happen. The right people are going to show up. It’s difficult for self-made entrepreneurs, people who are in the front end of that journey to accept that that’s actually the way it works. It feels that it should be hard work. That’s what we’re taught in school. It should require sacrifice. It should require frustration and fears, but none of that helps. None of that’s going to get you anywhere.
The sooner you can get settled, the sooner you can get clear about your intentions, clear about who you are and what you’re up to in the world and how you show up in the world. Success in anything you do in life is not about what you do, it’s about who you be. If you want a big house, then be a person who would have a big house. How’s that person going to be? How are they going to show up in the world? They’re not going to show up greedy. They’re not going to show up bombastic and pounding away on their co-workers. They’re going to show up collaborative. They’re going to show up loving people. They’re going to show up being kind and being friendly because that’s the person who would have that house. It twists the way you think about things.
I developed some habits and some skills. I start every day with a simple meditation. I’m not transcendental. I don’t sit in the Lotus position because it hurts my back. I sit in a chair with my feet on the ground. I ask a simple question. I say to the universe that, “You know that I know that I can’t do this without you. Guide me.” I step into my meditation. I’m in there for ten to twenty minutes, sometimes longer if I’m dealing with a complex situation. The answers come. An inspiration will come like, “Try this or go here or do that.” I was telling a group of entrepreneurs, “Sometimes it’s a strange thing.” Sometimes what I get is, “Go to the mall.” Everybody’s like, “What are talking about?” I said, “Sometimes it says, “Go to the mall or go to the car dealer.” I was like, “What are you talking about? Why would I do that?” It turns out if I go to the mall, then the guy that has the information I need is at Starbucks waiting for me to walk in. If I don’t go to the mall, he’s still there waiting for me, but I don’t show up. It sounds strange and I know a lot of your audience may be going, “This guy’s completely wacky.” It’s the God-honest truth. I can encourage people to give it a go.Success is not about what you do. It's about who you be. - Steve Little Click To Tweet
Give it a go is what we want to challenge you. You get a glimpse. You get a tip of the iceberg from Steve and his wisdom and the way he views the world. This is coming from someone who’s had a lot of success helping people like you and me build, grow and scale and exit companies. Sell companies for exponential numbers. It’s not what you do, it’s who you be. When you talk about the idea of asking the question, help guide me. One of the questions we hear regularly from our audience and our tribe is, “How do you turn ideas into income?” You’ve built courses around this. You work with this on a regular basis with some of the companies that you choose to work with. What advice would you give to someone who’s looking to turn their idea or that purpose into a business that produces income, value in the marketplace and ideally high profits?
There are two aspects of this of creating an entrepreneurial endeavor, a business of some sort. One of them is the income. There’s also the asset value of that thing you’re building. This is the number one thing I see people miss is they have an idea, “I want to sell a course on how to scale a business.” You put together all the material and you push it out there. You immediately jump on that hamster wheel and it’s faster and more marketing and sales. Are we growing? Whatever it is, everybody’s been there. Everybody in our audience I’m sure has been there. What we never do is stop and say, “Where is this thing going?”
What’s the end game? When I’m tired of this or when I’m old and gray or when I want to give it to my kids, what’s next? What am I doing here? It’s critically important that when you get started, you evaluate what your exit strategy is going to be. Before everybody reacts and says, “I’m starting. I’m not thinking about my exit. I’m thinking about starting and growing.” You are thinking about starting and growing. What I want to remind you of is that no matter how you cut it, there is going to be an exit. Whether you take it public, whether you sell it or whether you keel over dead at your desk, there’s going to be an exit. You want that asset to be worth something when that exit event occurs.
It needs to be part of your plan right from the start. As you think about your product, whatever it might be, everybody understands the basic premise of product success. You identify a problem in the market. You design a solution to the problem. You bring it to the market and say, “Here’s a potential solution to this problem. What do you think? Would you pay money for it? How much money would you pay for it? What would you need to see in order to make a decision to invest in this product? How do you want the product to act over time? How will it wear well?” You do that conversation before you lay the first bit of code or lay the first widget down and now you know what to go build because you’ve had people tell you, “I would buy that and I’d pay $2,000 for it if you build that for me.”
You can do simple math on, “How many people do I need to talk to sell enough $2,000 to pay my mortgage or whatever it might be.” You can bootstrap it from there by understanding who would buy it and why they would buy it? What I’m suggesting is that in parallel with that, at the same time I want you to look at your business the same way, not your product. We just talked about your product. Now we’re talking about your business. Who would buy it and why? There are going to be multiple potential buyers for your business. What you don’t understand, typically business owners, is they don’t understand that every buyer is going to value their business differently, very much like every consumer of your product is going to value that product differently.
It’s going to be valued in relationship to the value it contributes to their business. If I’m interested in buying your business because I want access to your customers. You have good customers. You have good relationships with your customers. You have good retention practices. You have good customer acquisition practices. What I’m saying to you as a potential acquirer of your business is I have a product. I want to buy a market and you have the market I want to buy. I’m willing to buy your company in order to get your market. Let’s say hypothetically that I’m willing to value that ownership of your market for my product sales is going to be worth eight times your earnings. I’m going to pay you an amount that’s roughly equivalent to eight times the earnings because that’s what you’re worth to me.
It doesn’t matter what the valuation says. What matters is what you’re worth to me, the business owner that’s acquiring you. There might be another business down the way. Maybe what they want is your intellectual property or they want your brand. One that people forget about is they want your people. That happens a lot too. Whatever reason that exists for you, it’s a different reason than from customers. The same rule applies. They’re going to value you based on the value gained they’re going to realize by owning you. If owning your intellectual property, owning your brand, or having your employees increases the value of their business by some amount, that’s what they’re going to pay or be willing to pay.
Let’s say hypothetically that that’s six times earnings. You’ve got one company that’s looking at you through one lens. They’re willing to pay six times earnings. You got another company looking at you through a different lens. They’re willing to pay you eight times earnings. You’re an investor in your own company. Let’s say something happens and you get $100,000. Where should you put the money? If you’re in that situation and you’re an investor in your business, you better put the money into customer acquisition. You’re going to get eight times return there. If you put it into intellectual property or some of these other things, you can do it but you’re not going to generate as great a return. Pull that back to when you get started. If you do all this work before you start, you’ll be in a position to understand what are the key value drivers for my business? What are the things you are going to make my business worth the most money? In the example I’ve given you, which was the bigger value driver? Customer acquisition or brand intellectual property?No matter how you cut, there is going to be an exit. - Steve Little Click To Tweet
I should invest every dollar I got in customer and customer acquisition because that’s a key value driver. It doesn’t mean I can’t invest in intellectual property. It doesn’t mean I can’t invest in the brand. It means that those things are not going to generate as big a return. You see how easy that makes my decision? Business owners are faced with these decisions every single day. Do I do this or do I do that? At the end of the day, you’d be hard-pressed to get him to admit this but most of them lick their finger, put it in the air and guess, “I feel like doing that now, so I’m going to do that,” whether it builds value or not. All I’m saying is that just like you are going to position your product and build a business around a product capability, you want to position your company and position that for value growth as well.
If you are reading now and you want to position your company for maximum growth, what would happen if you were to develop your customer acquisition sales system? Create a steady flow of new clients like clockwork, day in and day out. How much more of an impact would that have for your bottom line? There are a lot of these pseudo marketing firms that are educating people. They call themselves a marketing firm but they focus on the idea of branding, not generating a new client. How do you deal with that when someone who is not educated on it thinks, “Let me spin this odometer of how many likes I get or how many fans I get?” They don’t move the dial. They don’t mean anything except fandom. You can’t cash fans, but you can certainly build a following with real potential customers. Maybe speak to that a little bit because I don’t know if you see that as one of the biggest mistakes. It’s certainly one we hear about often.
It can be a mistake, that’s true. In the context of a larger business strategy, it might be the right thing to do. Every case is different. In general terms, the question you’re asking is, “In the early days, do you focus on brand building or do you focus on revenue-generation?” As an investor of over 200 businesses, you better be focused on revenue generation. I don’t care how big your brand is until you can generate a return. I’m being a cold-hearted investor when I say that, but that’s the fact of it. That’s the way you’re going to generate a return for yourself. While brand is great, likes are great and followers are great, they don’t translate the income, to revenue and to growth and value for me, the investor or if you’re a business, you. You’re an investor. Where that might make sense is if there’s a longer-term strategy to utilize social brand or social media as a value driver itself, which does exist. It’s not day one because you’ve got to generate revenue to even have a business. Let’s say you’re a couple of years in and you’ve got revenue. You’ve got a positive cashflow. It might be breakeven, but things are going.
I agree that it is important to begin to leverage the relationships you can develop with social. Not likes and follows, that’s not what you want to count. What you want to count are the deep relationships you can generate and establish with clients and customers, potential clients and customers, a community of like-minded people, a tribe if you will. People who may not have bought your stuff yet, but are interested in knowing more about you and what you do. Dan, you and I have known each other for a long time and it used to be before the internet, salesman got on the phone. He made an appointment. He went and visited the guy. He got past the secretary, he got to the guy’s office. He sat there, talked to him and got to know him. He talked about the model Ford on his credenza and got to know the man. He took him to lunch or they ate dinner, whatever it was.
That formed the basis of a relationship on which you built the trust, the confidence and the caring to justify him spending money with you. That’s what sales was. They called it schmoozing. That has a negative connotation. It’s legitimate relationship-building. If I get to know you and you know, like and trust me, there’s a high probability you’re going to buy from me whenever the time comes. It may not be now but sometime in the future, you’re going to say, “That guy treated me right. I’m going to go buy from him.” The same thing applies online. You can do that with social media, but you have to focus on the relationship. If somebody sends you a comment, you don’t just push a like button. Send him a reply saying, “What did you mean by that? It’s an interesting comment. I’ve never heard that comment before. What were you thinking about when you said that or asked that question? How else can I help you?”
Engage that community as if you’re sitting there across the room at the desk. You’ll build the same deep relationships, which number one, will generate revenue. You can actually measure the association with that investment and brand awareness, social media, and revenue. More important than anything else, that establishes a key value driver for your business. If you can show a prospective buyer that you’ve got 30,000 five-star ratings and that these comments are deeply individual comments or communications from John to Steve or Steve to Dan and Dan’s replying. If you can show that to a buyer, the value of your business goes up dramatically. It’s a simple formula. The simple overriding formula to all value drivers is increased risk means decreased price. The greater the perceived risk of ownership of your business, the less a buyer’s willing to pay for. The lower the perceived risk of ownership for your business, the higher the price he’s willing to pay. If you have a large network of people that are communicating with you or your customer support team in a deep relationship, the risk of ownership is much lower. The value of your business is much higher.
For our audience out there, I doubt you’ve ever heard this approach to building your social media following. To build your brand, to building your client base, to building relationships the way that Steve laid it out. The higher the risk, the lower the price. The lower the risk the higher the price. What would that be worth for you to be able to implement that in an authentic genuine way in your business? Steve, you’ve worked with hundreds of companies investing over the years. In the last months as you’ve worked with some of your clients or maybe even in your own businesses, what would you say would be one to three critical breakthroughs you’ve discovered? Either for you and/or your client’s companies that would have an immediate impact on our audience?You can't cash fans, but you can certainly build a following with real potential customers. - Host Click To Tweet
In my business, we focus principally on identifying and leveraging key value drivers for our clients. That’s our big differentiator. We’re not your average broker. We’re not your average banker. What we do is get involved with a business. Help the business owner understand where the value drivers are because most business owners don’t know that. Where are his or her value drivers specific to their business? How do we leverage them and grow the value of the business that way? We focus on value growth, not gross. That’s the first premise. There are some things that we uncovered that I don’t know that there’s any other broker or any other banker anywhere that use these as fulcrums for leveraging value up.
I’m going to share these three. There are others but these are the big ones. An obvious one and one I’m sure that you recommend to your clients and your associates is you have to establish some form of reliable recurring revenue. It doesn’t have to be continuity. Maybe it’s an annualized contract program like a lot of SaaS companies. You can pay an annual fee instead of a monthly fee or whatever. It needs to be a predictable, reliable, recurring stream of revenue. Predictability is the key. I just said increased risk, lower reward, lower risk, increased reward. If I have a predictable recurring stream of revenue, the revenue generation aspect of my business reduced the risk, therefore, you’re worth more to me as a buyer. The value goes up. Don’t miss the opportunity. It doesn’t have to be continuity subscription revenue, just any reliable, recurring, predictable revenue stream.
The second one is social media. It gets left out all the time because people don’t understand it. They don’t know how to use it. They’re not being taught how to use it. The marketing folks are saying, “Get likes and follows. Spew garbage on your Facebook page and everything’s going to work out great.” That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about social intelligence where you use the social media networks to do a deep analysis of who your buyers are. You identify who they are and you create a tribe around those people and you communicate deeply. Provide them with an enormous amount of value for zero dollars and you establish a relationship with those people. When you can show that, that is an enormously significant value driver to your business. I did have a transaction and we got a 7.5 gain for that one thing alone. We took them from ten times to seventeen times earnings because we could demonstrate that. Don’t miss that one. That’s a huge one.
The third one is the one that I’m personally passionate about. You want your company, your business to be cause-oriented and mission-driven. What I don’t mean by that is a cause that’s bolted on the side. The story I like to tell is when Kentucky Fried Chicken put the pink ribbon on their chicken box. That didn’t work. You’re selling a bucket of carcinogens with a pink ribbon on it to fight breast cancer. That’s not going to work. You’ve got to do something different to not create breast cancer. You want to make sure that you orient your business to a cause. I don’t care if it’s housing the homeless in Haiti, feeding the starving kids in Manhattan. It doesn’t matter what the cause is, just make it central to your company.
I don’t know if you ever heard of the company, Bombas Socks. These guys started that company. They set a goal of 200,000 pairs to give to people who need socks. It was a buy-one-give-one, like Toms Shoes. It was the same program. After the second year, they’d given already 3.5 million pairs. It’s astronomical growth. If you’re giving three million pairs, it means you sold three million pairs. If they were originally expecting to give 100,000, then they were originally expecting to sell 100,000. They’ve done 30 times that in the first two years or whatever the number is. That’s the benefit of having a mission-oriented company. Get together with your team, I don’t know how big your company’s teams are. If it’s a few people, it’s great. If it’s twenty people, it’s great. Get together, take a mission. Get everybody on board with it. Make it central to the company. What will happen is the value of the business goes up.
The reason the value goes up is twofold. Number one, like Lee Iacocca did with the Baby Boomers back in the ’60s, he saw that the Baby Boomers are reaching an age where they wanted sexy little cars to drive so he created the Ford Mustang. It became the number one selling car of all time because that’s what the consumer wanted. He placed himself in front of the wave of consumers who had income. Many years later, he did the same thing with the minivan. Those Boomers had little Boomers and he needed minivans to haul the little Boomers around. It’s the same story. He used the same strategy. The same thing exists, but the generation that’s coming up are Millennial consumers. There are more of them. They spend more money more quickly than any generation in history and they care about causes. They don’t want to do business with a company that doesn’t have a cause or isn’t doing something significant in the world. If you do, they would rather do business with you. That’s the number one reason your market wants you to do it.
The number two reason is your employees get onboard with the mission. They’re motivated. They’re engaged. They’re contributing in their day-to-day effort because they believe in the mission of the company. Not just the paycheck, not just the nice boss and not just the vacation. Your retention goes up. People aren’t going to leave a job they love like that. They’re not going to leave a job where they can contribute in a significant way to saving the oceans or saving a fish or whatever it might be. It has that residual benefit, which lower retention in an organization reduces the risk of ownership. Reduced risk of ownership increases the value of the business. There are several other benefits but you get the idea. All of those are good things. They all grow the value of your business. Those are three big winners.
I want to encourage you to take action with what Steve has been sharing with you. Number one, your key value driver of creating a replicable, predictable, recurring revenue stream. Number two, understand how to leverage social media in a much smarter, better way. Number three, build your business around a central cause, and not put it as a side function. If people want to go deeper with you to learn more about what you’re up to, how you help companies, how you buy into companies and how you help them sell, where can people go to learn more about what you’re up to?If you want personal growth, then become an entrepreneur. - Steve Little Click To Tweet
ZeroLimitsVentures.com/access. There’s a page up there. It gives you access to a manifesto. It’s called The Valuation Growth Playbook. It will walk you through a couple of steps to help you identify key value drivers in your business. There’s a video training up there that talks a lot about these things in a little bit more detail. It helps you understand the value patterns that emerge in your business. There’s a way to schedule some time with me for a one-on-one session where we’ll look at the value growth strategies for your business.
If you want to go deeper with what Steve’s got going on, if you want to grow in scale your company with less stress, less drama. Reduce friction and reduce the risk for not only your internal clients but also with the potential of exit so that you can have a higher growth strategy, go check out what he’s up to at their website. Check out the video tools and resources. He’s got some amazing resources on his blog, other interviews, and other things you can grab ahold of. Steve, we like to wrap this up with some personal stuff. You brought us into your world, your family, traveling 92% of the time. If you fast forward to now with your family, knowing what you know now, what would you say to your kids as far as the thing that you’re most grateful for them for? How they show up in the world reflecting your personal and business values?
I’ve been blessed in many ways. My kids are certainly one of the many ways I’ve been blessed. Both of them are deeply soulful people. They have deep souls. I don’t want to take credit but they were around us a lot and around me a lot. They understood as I was growing the value of the growth experience I was having. I remember one day coming down to breakfast and my youngest daughter who was twelve at the time was writing in a notebook. I asked, “What are you doing?” She said, “I’m putting down my intentions for the day.” I said, “Where did you learn how to do that?” She looked at me like, “What a stupid question. It’s all you talk about.” I’ve been blessed by kids who will accept the reality of the world around them. They both focus on personal growth, personal satisfaction, and grace. They’re not hung up on the world. They’re not hung up with all the stuff, the noise, the racket and the scariness that exist for people. They realize that we’re all connected. Everything is energy. We’re all one thing. If you let the things come together the way they’re supposed to come together and keep looking for ways to contribute to others, everything’s going to work out beautifully.
What were you known for in high school?
I started my entrepreneurial journey when I was thirteen. By the time I was in high school, I already had four or five businesses. I had a couple of businesses in high school. I built the grandfather clocks in the wood shop there and sold those. I built kits for them and built rowboats. I had a lot of things going on there. I had a couple of illegal businesses.
What’s something I should have asked you that I didn’t?
You’ve got everything I have to offer you.
What are one to three actions steps that you hope our audience take from our time now?You can have a happy life and a happy career getting a job. You don't have to run the thing yourself. - Steve Little Click To Tweet
I hope they’ll take me up on my offer to come to pull those resources offline. I’d love to talk to them if they have a business that has a significant pattern of growth and they want to talk about how to position it for a higher value exit now or in the future. The important thing is the exit strategy is not about the exit, it’s about the strategy. You get started now, even if you want to sell the thing twenty years from now. You start now with the strategy. I hope that they would take me up on that. I hope that they’ll take time out of their day to express the gratitude that they should have in their lives. Entrepreneurship is a tough journey. I like to say that if you want personal growth, become an entrepreneur.
It is a tremendous opportunity if you had the courage to step out there on your own. Invest in yourself. Take the time to invest in yourself and learn how to grow yourself spiritually. Grow yourself personally and focus on increasing your capacity to accomplish that mission you’re looking for. Probably the third thing is to take the time to connect with why you’re doing it. I talk to so many entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is a tough game. It’s harder than having a job. If you’re an entrepreneur or a business owner because you want income, don’t do it for that reason. If you want that, go get a job because that’s a good income. You can have a happy life and a happy career getting a job. You don’t have to run the thing yourself.
What I find is that many entrepreneurs jump into business because they have a higher purpose. They have a higher calling. They have a mission. They have something they want to prove to the world. A legacy they want to leave, a mission they want to accomplish and a contribution they want to make, but because they get entangled in the day-to-day process of working in the business, they lose sight of why they’re in it. Those are the ones that get five, ten, twelve years down the road want to sell the business and don’t remember why they started to begin with. Those guys are usually the least happy. Take the time to appreciate the opportunity you’ve been given. Take the time to express your gratitude for everything around you, every customer, every co-worker, every friend, every trainer, every teacher and every coach. Get deep about that and stuff will start to happen. The right people show up. The right opportunities show up. The money shows up. Everything shows up fine.
Steve, it’s been a pleasure to have you here with us. You’re a wealth of wisdom. There is a glimpse of Steve Little. I encourage you. I challenge you to go check out what he’s got going on. If you never want to miss an episode, you can do that at GrowthToFreedom.com/subscribe. Seize the day. Make it a great week and we’ll see you next time.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Zero Limits Ventures
- Bombas Socks
- The Valuation Growth Playbook
About Steve Little
As an acclaimed serial entrepreneur and visionary, Steve knows how to build and scale a successful business and generate impressive returns for founders and investors. Beginning with his first venture at the age of 13 (which he sold at the age of 15 for a 6-figure sum), Steve has built and sold dozens of highly successful companies of all kinds from idea to 9-figure exit, including venture-backed software companies which generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, employed hundreds of people worldwide, and produced impressive returns for investors.
Now, with Zero Limits Ventures, Steve works with founders to accelerate the true “value multipliers” in their businesses and assure them lucrative exits at acquisition. “If business was a chess game, Steve would know, within five seconds of first looking at the board, every possible move and exactly who would win,” as he is described in Profiles in Success.