Is Growth Right For You: Crash Course Entrepreneurship #17

I’ll know I’ve made it when I hit 4 million
YouTube subscribers and one of my films shines wins an Oscar! But that’s me. What does it mean to you to be successful? It might be earning a lot of money, working
from anywhere in the world, owning your own home, or creating new jobs in your community. Only you can decide. So, how can your business get you there? As entrepreneurs, we have control over how
we grow our companies so we can be successful on our own terms. And sometimes our business gets out of hand
and we have to face our worst nightmare: failure. Or is that just MY worst nightmare? I’m working on it…] So let’s grow together (or decide to keep
doing what we’re doing) and face down failure. I’m Anna Akana, and for the last time, this is Crash Course
Business: Entrepreneurship. [Theme Music Plays] In business, growth basically means making
a company more successful in some way: finding a new revenue stream, revamping the
cost structure to minimize expenses and increase profit, or adding new people and knowledge
to the team. Our options for growth are usually tied to
the type of business model we started with. There actually is a difference between a startup
and a small business. A startup might sound like open office plans
and twenty-somethings using giant computers… but it’s technically a company that tries
out a new business model. Startups are trying to invent a better way
of doing things that quickly disrupts the status quo once launched. RxBar, for example, wanted to change the way
we made energy bars and has been able to scale from selling locally to internationally. On the other hand, a small business uses a
tried-and-true business model and wants to be successful but doesn’t care about completely
revolutionizing an industry. These businesses can be ideas that already
exist but with a new spin, like a haunted bed and breakfast, a luxury cat spa, or just
a really great new Indian place down the block. Both startups and small businesses are created
by entrepreneurs, and both are important to the world. So take a breath and reflect on what your
values and goals are! Once you’ve decided on what comes before
“entrepreneur” on your nametag — “startup” or “small business,” we can talk growth
speed. We usually picture entrepreneurs (both startup
and small business people) trying to run what we call high-growth companies — a company
that grows profits astronomically fast. A lot of high-growth examples come from the
tech industry because these businesses don’t have a lot of expenses to get started. They can do a lot with some computer equipment
and talented human resources, so they can turn a profit pretty quickly. But many high-growth companies are actually
in industries where there’s a clear gap and a pressing need. Healthcare is a great example, with many healthcare
apps being developed to help patients without them having to leave their homes. It’s important to mention that high-growth
entrepreneurship isn’t always a choice, either. Sometimes your value proposition just strikes
a chord with customers, and you suddenly have more orders than you can handle. In that case, you might be forced to expand
quickly just to keep up. High-growth companies, while somewhat rare,
can be a big deal for economies and jobs. But some entrepreneurs want to maintain careful
control over their growth instead, and these businesses are just as important. For these types of companies, growth is often
in terms of doing more with what they already have. To increase sales, this could mean figuring
out peak hours and focusing staff on those times. Or it could mean narrowing down communication
channels and really focusing on bringing in more customers. Again, the choice to shoot for high-growth
or a more controlled path is up to you. Think about what success looks like to you
and then Write. It. Down. You’ll have something to refer to as your
business develops, and visualization helps make goals a reality. To decide what kind of business model to follow
and how much growth to shoot for, we have to consider different motivations. Think about money. We started a business because we wanted to
change the world, but we also want to get paid to do it. Growing our business can make it more profitable,
which means more money for us, our shareholders (maybe even our families and friends if we
got starting funding from them), and other things we care about like repaying
loans or supporting local charities. Think about employees. Growth can mean hiring more people or improving
the lives of current employees with better salaries or benefits. This could be the difference between employees
working multiple part-time jobs to support themselves and being able to focus on our
business. We need good people by our side, so making
it intellectually and monetarily easy for them to stay goes a long way. Think about leadership opportunities. Just like we want to create new challenges
for our employees, we can keep challenging ourselves as entrepreneurs. With growth comes new opportunities to lead
teams, develop business strategies, and solve new problems, which is exciting! Think about customers like we’ve ever stopped! They’re important! Growth can mean giving existing customers
more bang for their buck, or expanding in order to solve pains or bring gains to entirely
new customer segments. And think about the competition. We gotta believe that our business will be
better than the competition! Growth can mean delivering more value and
shaking up the status quo to stand out and become a market leader, not just another business
operating in the world. Then, once we’re motivated, it’s important
to take stock of our surroundings, because the universe [– or our customers –] will
probably send us a sign that our business is ready for growth. Is there too much work to do? If we’re booked until November of 2030,
it’s a sign that people like what we’re doing and we could use some help. Are customers asking for more? If we’re flooded with requests for more
products or longer hours, growth might be how we give the customers what they want. Or is everything just chugging along smoothly? Once we have regular, consistent profits and
steady customer flow, it could be time to take on more. One big red flag to be careful about growth
is if an industry is dying or changing significantly. This doesn’t mean our business won’t be
successful, though. We could have steady customers wanting portrait-taking
and photo-printing in our small town filled with scrapbookers, but it still isn’t wise to rush to open
a second location when every phone comes with a digital camera these days. It can be tricky to put all these pieces together
and decide how to grow or change to meet your personal goals. But let’s try this decision-making process
in the Thought Bubble. Cam is fluent in English and Mandarin and
started a low-key translation service during grad school to pay his grocery bills. It’s been a solid side hustle, but after
a couple years Cam’s natural ambition makes him wonder if he should do more. When he started, Cam was motivated by money. He likes to eat; who doesn’t? Now he’s looking at getting a full time
job after graduating, so he’s interested in whether his side hustle could turn into
a main hustle. He’s also motivated by new challenges, like
more complex projects and leadership roles. And he’s passionate about making ideas more
accessible to more people, so he’s interested in getting new customers and better serving
existing ones. But with the translation projects he’s been
working on, that could be tricky. Cam lives in a coastal city with a big Chinese
immigrant population and most of his business is local. He has regular customers and revenue, but
no one has been asking for more. When Cam really thinks about his goals, he
realizes he’d like a full time job that uses his skills, brings ideas to new people,
and provides room for personal growth. And his vision of a successful person is someone
working all over the world. With all that in mind, growing his translation
service doesn’t feel like the path to success. But he sees an opportunity to pivot. Cam has often wished that Chinese media on
important topics, from science to politics, could be consumed by more English-speakers. He could reach way more people by starting
a digital newsletter or website with high-quality article and essay translations between English
and Mandarin. So after writing down his goals, Cam realizes
he does want to grow his side hustle — just not in the direction he expected. Thanks, Thought Bubble! No matter the business, we should all do some
serious soul-searching and goal-setting before charging down a path. And just like growth sometimes happens unexpectedly,
life can throw a lot of surprises at our business dreams. Alright. I’m just going to say the F-word: failure. I’m so sorry, kids. We’ve mentioned failure a bunch throughout
this series because it’s a reality for a lot of entrepreneurs. Failure can be many things. The ultimate failure is being forced to shut
down our business, but we could have small failures along the way: mismanaging money, not paying attention to
the competition, spreading ourselves too thin, or not listening to customer feedback so people
lose interest. All of these are realistic and tough. For many of us, we work so hard because we’re
afraid of failure. If we fail, we might let our families down,
have to stop working on projects we care about, or even lose everything we have. Talk about scary campfire stories for adults. But entrepreneurs can also fail by pushing
ourselves so hard we just can’t anymore. We’re burned out, which is basically work-related
stress on steroids. Burnout is a kind of physical or emotional
exhaustion that can make us feel like we’re not accomplishing anything or that we’ve
lost some piece of who we are. So being passionate about our work can push
us higher, but it can also do bad things for our mental health. Instead of spiraling from a fear of failure,
we can practice emotional self monitoring and control. When we’re more aware of our feelings, we
can just feel them and let them float by, instead of letting them completely control
how we think and act. And actively looking for weaknesses and problems
and taking action can be a powerful way to reduce the fear. Plus, the unknown can be the root of a lot
of fears. So we can learn to increase our capabilities
and skills (but we should also recognize that we’ll never know everything). And finally, seeking support is so important. There are mentors and experts out there who
can help us decide whether the risk is worth it or not. Getting advice makes us feel less alone, and
it can help us develop more self-awareness, take action, and learn. When it looks like all hope is lost and you
might have to close your business, ask yourself these four questions from the startup incubator
Y-Combinator: One, do you have any ideas left to grow your
startup? Two, can you drive that growth profitably? Three, you may have ideas, but do you want
to work on the startup that results from that growth? And four, do you want to work with your co-founders
on the startup that results from that growth? The answer to any of these questions could
be “no.” That’s perfectly valid, and means you should
probably accept the failure, take some time to recover, and move onto your next adventure. As Arianna Huffington says, failure is not
the opposite of success, it’s part of success. I’m still working on my success, and I’ll
probably make more mistakes along the way. But for me, my ideas and the potential I believe
they have to change the world makes it worth the struggle. The bottom line is: if you can dream it…then
write down a value proposition, talk to customers, get feedback, check out the competition, do
all the legal stuff, and take care of yourself along the way. You can do it with grit, determination, and
luck! We [– and the unicorns –] believe in you. Thanks so much for watching Crash Course Business:
Entrepreneurship! Let us know what you’re working on in the
comments! We want to hear how your idea is going to
change the world for the better. And thank you to Google for sponsoring us and to Thought Cafe for the beautiful graphics. If you wanna help keep Crash Course free for everyone forever, you can join our community on Patreon. And if you’re interested in learning much more about Entrepreneurship, then rewatch this entire series on our Playlist.

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27 thoughts on “Is Growth Right For You: Crash Course Entrepreneurship #17

  1. I'm going to miss this series. Perfect ending for Crash Course Entrepreneurship.

  2. We need more Anna! Seriously, she's really charming, clear, funny and sharp, definitely one of my favourite hosts on here and I've been watching Crash Course for years. Thank you for another great overview of a very heavy subject.

  3. Im 1 and 1/2 year into my auto repair business venture and growth is spiralling. I'm super exhausted. I had to let go of my second mechanic to cut cost. :/

  4. Such a great series Anna! I wish I knew this stuff when I was starting my first business, but now we're starting an Educational Youtube Channel about film making after taking inspiration from shows like CrashCourse πŸ™‚

  5. β€œStand out from the competition” …. Good strategy but dont you see the irony telling potential competitors this… most startups fail tbh πŸ˜‚πŸ˜Ž

  6. Dear Anna thank you & the Crash Course team (and the 37 supporting patreons) for making this amazing series happen.

    I own a food production business that runs for the last 37 years as a family business. Over the last 5 years the profits have been going down to the point where now it's too late for me to implement any ideas that require liquidity (like investing in HR to get people with skills, creating a promo campaign, compose a well-put feedback questionaire to catch up to the trends, and more). Now I am on the verge of either shutting the business down or make things happen. I have been "burned out" like you said and my mind constantly fails to focus in new ideas that are cost-free (or very low cost), kinda like being stuck on an infinite loop in this situation. Despite my 33 years of age and full energy capacity I want help Anna.

    If it is possible to schedule a call, that would be literally life saving.

    Best regards,

    Thank you.

  7. I started my business full time at the same time these series started. They helped me to have a deeper understanding and be more conscious of our activity. We are an startup that creates educational games, I'm using my 6 years experience at riot games to develop unique games that are online, challenging and free.

    This uniqueness in the market might qualify us as a startup, we released our first game GramMars Wars to get some market feedback and test our development/publishing muscle. This experience made me realize I need more strategic resources to help us in design and marketing.

    Currently we are developing our first "big" game, a biology online game, you could check our channel where we just published our first dev blog πŸ˜€

  8. I'm going to miss this and the host.. it was entertaining and educational at the same time. It hit two birds with a pancake for me.

  9. To be honest, the constant focus of growth is imo the biggest problem of the (modern western) world. It drives destruction (usually of other things around us), whether it’s people or nature.

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