I work with a young band of brothers who started a kingdom business three years ago. The first year they moonlighted on three projects together and discovered how much they enjoyed doing freelance work. By the time their second year came along, they were still working for a paycheck at their day jobs and burning the midnight oil on their new venture. At their company’s second year anniversary they quit their day jobs and went full time. It took them six months to surpass $1 million in sales. They went on to pass the $2 million-dollar marker by the end of their third year in business. It has been an amazing story to watch. But it did not come without some growing pains.
$1 Million in Sales is a Game Changer
There’s a natural differential that takes place among small business owners between startup and hitting the $1 million-in-revenue mark. What happens at a million dollars is that you no longer take care of all the functional positions of your company. You have to start hiring people to perform in the functional areas that you don’t have the capacity to fulfill that role any longer.
Before you hit the million-dollar mark you’re working nights and weekends carrying the responsibility for eight functional areas:
- CEO. Sets the vision and direction to create an organization that will thrive and grow. Establishes corporate culture. Develops the company’s short- and long-term strategy.
- Sales. Sets sales goals and quotas. Builds a sales plan. Sells products, goods and services to customers.
- Marketing. Knows what sells and what doesn’t. Understands the buying and shopping habits of a customer. Keeps competitors in focus.
- Operations. Keeps the trains on time. Develops distribution channels to deliver products and services to the customer.
- Technology. Maintains and updates software and works on hardware issues. Develops a preferred vendor list of software, programming, database, networking, web, and hardware specialists.
- Finance. Pays the bills. Balances the checkbook. Does basic financial reporting.
- Customer service. Interacts with customers. Provides information about products, goods and services. Takes orders. Responds to customer complaints. Processes returns and refunds.
- HR. Develops a team. Does the paperwork. Promotes safety. Connects the company’s mission and value with the employees.
In a single-shareholder business at early stage, the owner takes care of all these functional areas except for one or two undesirable things which are outsourced to a contractor. When there are two shareholders, there is more of a balance of shared roles. But the bottom line is that once you hit a million dollars in revenue, it’s a game changer. Your business is too big for any one or two people to run the operation efficiently. It’s either demo day to renovate the cramped space you have or you’re out looking for new office space.
Empowering Kingdom Entrepreneurs for Aggressive Growth
There are many different incubators and accelerators, for example small business economic development programs, that provide advice and guidance for businesses in the startup phase. In silicon valley you have stage investors that function as seed accelerators and business incubators for the high-tech sector. But what about accelerator programs for Kingdom Businesses? Where are the advisors and counselors for the emerging revival in the marketplace?
At Steeple Systems, we empower Christian entrepreneurs with the digital marketing tools to aggressively grow their business. Our startup accelerator program is designed to help first-stage entrepreneurs catapult their business to the next level. More specifically, we help firms under $1 million in revenue gather the necessary momentum to surpass the $1 million mark in sales.
I want to thank my favorite business advisor, Greg Crabtree, for publishing Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits. It served as a great resource for this article.