Verne Harnish of Scaling Up: 5 Insights For Growth

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Who is Verne Harnish and What Can You Learn from Him?

Verne Harnish is a CEO, bestselling author, founder of multiple companies, and keynote speaker specializing in entrepreneurial success. He travels the world educating young professionals and aspiring business owners about how to grow and scale their businesses the right way.

And he was just one of the many inspirational guests we’ve had on Pushing Send the Podcast.

Verne is the author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, which contains eight practical habits for improving company culture. He founded the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO), which has a global reach in helping people learn how to run their businesses efficiently and effectively, and Verne also chairs the EO’s premiere CEO program “Birthing of Giants” at MIT.

A large part of Verne Harnish’s teachings around entrepreneurial success has to do with smart growth methods. He is the founder and CEO of an executive education and coaching company called Scaling Up, which has partners on six continents.

Verne Harnish - rasaio Pushing Send Podcast

Scaling Up is targeted at the many business owners who struggle to scale their operations when the time comes to expand. A business that was once a well-oiled machine – whether it’s a small tech startup, local brick and mortar shop, or a new app – can quickly become overloaded and disorganized if scaled incorrectly.

Verne Harnish leads Scaling Up participants by asking them four critical questions that can lead to effective scaling. They are, in a nutshell, People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash. A business owner should have answers to all four questions before deciding to scale up. Having the right teammates and backers, the best scaling strategy, a proper execution plan, and the cash to make it happen is the only way to succeed.

Scaling too soon

Don’t get ahead of yourself. Success in scaling a business should happen when all the right pieces fall into place. Surprisingly high profits in your first year don’t necessarily mean you should start to scale right away. Yes, you could be missing out on potential profits by not scaling, but doing it too soon and failing could end up costing you way more.

“We had gone from a half a million to a million, to 2 million to 4 million. I think I’m going to be doing 8 million and then 9/11 hit. And we were wiped out within a couple of months. It’s in restarting the business in 2002, [the newsletter] also became really our focus for driving the marketing of the business. And I can say it really has been the primary driver to our ability to scale over the last 20 years.”

– Verne Harnish on Pushing Send the Podcast

Working with the wrong people

Without the right team, scaling could be impossible. This includes vendors, suppliers, and internal employees or members of your board. Everyone involved should be devoted to achieving your company goals. Start to seriously consider how the people you work with fit into your long-term plan. The more people in your internal team who have previously scaled a business, the better.

“And so we practice what we preach, literally just before I came on for this broadcast, I was finishing up my Friday communication that goes out to all of our coaching partners around the globe, because they want to know what’s on my mind and what I’ve been up to. And I will mention, you know, all of the broadcasts that I did this week. And so for sure, you want to start internally, nevertheless, and then it can be someone that you can begin to share more broadly.”

– Verne Harnish on Pushing Send the Podcast

Failing to strategize and execute

Verne Harnish’s Scaling Up coaching highlights the importance of proper strategy. Many business owners get too hyper-focused on immediate sales and marketing and forget to build long-term demand for their product or service. Remember to strategize with your team about scaling, and be sure that everyone is on the same page.

I’ve never handed off the writing because again, it’s very therapeutic for me and it really forces me to summarize the material and learn it and all of that. So it has that first benefit to me, but in terms of then actually formatting it to getting it sent to it, getting posted on the blog, all the data around it tracked, and the like. I have a team that handles that.

– Verne Harnish on Pushing Send the Podcast

Poor budgeting

Ensure that you have enough capital and consistent internal revenue to carry out the growth plan. Being able to focus on the future and carry out the necessary steps without having to worry about steady income is a critical piece of the puzzle.

“Well, what’s, what’s been interesting is our business has actually gone up in each of the recessions and it’s, and we’ve concluded it’s mainly because people aren’t as busy. You know, when you’re, you just got the wind at your back and your hair’s on fire like we have the last thousand years now, the big excuse people have got to not come to an event is, ‘Hey, we’re just, you know, we only have three minutes to spare.’ And I think it’s the same with reading the emails and all of that, where right now folks have got a little bit more time and they also know they need to learn.”

– Verne Harnish on Pushing Send the Podcast

Tools for effective scaling

Verne Harnish is all about efficiency when it comes to scaling a business. That’s exactly why artificial intelligence would play so well into his teachings. AI takes repetitive, data-driven tasks and automates them, allowing employees and business owners to focus on more critical operations.

“We had hoped this year to have a goal to have 2020 paid attendees at our two big summits. Well, we ended up having 18,000 paid at our five virtual summits. So our reach was almost 10X and in this pandemic, and we didn’t give it away for free. You can get a lot of folks to sign up…And that kind of level of engagement, we think is unheard of. And now we’re ready to say, all right, for 2021, we’ve got some big plans in place. How do we take that from 18,000 to 180,000? How do we really 10X our reach? And so the recession of 2008 and the pandemic have been absolute times for us to be ambitious and really grow.”

– Verne Harnish on Pushing Send the Podcast


Listen to the full episode here!

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