So you want to grow your business. You want to hit your next major milestone: revenues of $10 million, $50 million, $500 million. The goal is daunting without a major infusion of capital — but what if it doesn’t have to be?
For 30 years, Australian entrepreneur and business strategist Ryll Burgin-Doyle has been helping startup entrepreneurs, small to medium size enterprise owners and leaders of large global companies achieve that kind of growth, rapidly. She works with them to identify their goals and break down clear, concrete steps to reach them. The number of clients she has worked with is 4,000+ while adding millions of dollars in revenue for them.
Bottom line, it all comes down to strategy, Burgin-Doyle says.
“I demystify the path to clearly determining the steps for any business owner, no matter what size the company. If you can nail down what you want and your strategy, the plan will fall into place and the more clearly you can envision your plan, the easier it will be to implement.”
Growing up with an entrepreneur mother exposed Burgin-Doyle to the elements of business throughout her young life. She graduated from the University of Queensland in Australia, with a business degree in management and marketing.
“Then I landed an amazing position where I learned how to grow any kind of business, at any time and had a very intense training at an early age,” she says. “I was mostly interested in the full health of the business, not just how to grow it, not just sales and marketing. I wanted to understand planning and strategy in every aspect of a successful, growing company.”
At 23, she set out on her own with just $1,100, despite her family’s wishes to stay in her comfortable job. She launched a consulting company that skyrocketed to 400 clients in just two years. At 27, she sold the company and moved to San Francisco during the .com boom initially to write a 2,000-page manuscript of marketing and management strategies for Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises, delivered through accounting firms globally. Soon after, she become a Global Brand Manager and Brand Strategist for tech startups, to $400M and $1B companies.
“It was incredible time to be in San Francisco and working in the US; I learned that big business wasn’t that much different than the SMEs. They just had more zeros, more complacency and a lot more politics … and I loved it.”
She helped grow just one of her clients by 300% in less than 16 months and was then confronted with whether to stay in the U.S. or return to Australia for family reasons. She opted for her native land and upon returning, was headhunted by a major agency and started working on household brands.
“Most clients, at their core, need to know how to grow their businesses from a strategic point of view, verses just more of the same” she says. “I was on the strategy side and I had the background to help with growth.”
In her spare time, she founded a nonprofit foundation called stepUP that educated and inspired underprivileged and at-risk youth to see what was possible in business and in life. With a team of volunteers, she grew that organization to three countries and in the process made a life-changing difference to approximately 19,000 teens.
“stepUP was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” she says. “During that process, I decided that my first love was the SME market and so I created another venture and raised $1.8 million in two weeks. We grew to the 11th fastest-growing franchise company in Australia and we donated 10% of profits and $10,000 of every franchise sale to stepUP.
All my experiences have fundamentally reinforced what strategy is: it’s figuring out where you are, where you want to be and how to get there in the fastest, easiest, most profitable way possible. But you must not base where you want to go on past outcomes. You need to determine your imagined outcome and work backward from there.”
Proven 9-Point Strategy for Massive Business Growth
Burgin-Doyle has worked with many business owners who can’t say what they really want “because they haven’t imagined it,” she says. “I get them to visualize their precise goals and then create a road map to get there.”
She says the key is to: “Look at 5 key outputs the business must deliver over time – 1) net profit and therefore the revenues required and what products or services we’ll offer to achieve those revenues, 2) lifestyle for the founders and culture in the business, 3) reach and impact in your market, 4) contribution and give back to charity and community and finally, 5) desired valuation for succession or sale … then work backwards from there to where you are today, instead of forwards from your current constraints and circumstances.
That’s the trick to exponential growth – making decisions in the present for the future you’re creating, instead of being driven by where you find yourself today. If there has ever been a time to look forward instead of focusing on where we find ourselves today, it would be now.
“If you want to be successful,” she adds, “you have to have a plan and a strategy that’s going to show how this idea is different, how this growth is going to happen” she says. “Especially when it comes to getting funding and then growing the business.”
It starts with what the founder or leaders want to produce and what the business will look like, for example, in 10 years. Once leaders are clear on that goal, “it’s easy to communicate and the future becomes very clear.”
The first thing a business strategy should do is inform every other element of the business and divisions must fortify the core strategy in a constant back-and-forth replenishment. Once the core strategy is created, it drives and informs key strategies and tactics in every other department, but also key areas from brand positioning, to marketing and communications, sales, operations, team and leadership, technology, risk and contingency and last but not least, funding and finance.
Once the overall business strategy is determined, each of those areas has to be reviewed. For example, what does the market say that company’s brand stands for verses what the company says it stands for? Do they match? If not, there’s a correction that has to be made in how the brand is positioned and how the market perceives it.
Or if the business is now targeting premium positioning, what will be its premium offerings and processes to target premium clients? How does a company’s actual sales process work and how does it add value in the process?
Among other areas the company needs to know is what does the team structure look like? What is the leadership rhythm? How will the Founder or CEO demonstrate leadership in the business and build the team? How will they nail down the right tech strategy and know how tech plays in?
Burgin-Doyle contends businesses of any size can emulate the “technology powerhouses” of Amazon, Facebook, Google and YouTube.
“If you’re pursuing tech, all the biggest players tend to be platforms and the definition of a platform is software that allows for customers and communities to interact together. That interaction itself creates value. Look at how they’ve all grown their client bases. The freemium model is an easy one to copy. The key component is not just the service or community but the data you control. Data is 21st-century currency! The powerhouses are using and selling the data but in an alternate view, you want to hold onto your data and protect it for your customers and clients.” — Ryll Burgin-Doyle
She says, “if you’re a bricks and mortar business, look for where you can leverage tech to add value or disrupt your industry.”
Building a durable tech platform and successfully integrating tech into the business relies Burgin-Doyle says on three keys: “agility, utility and flexibility”.
“Agility – move quickly, all the big players do and have from their very inception.
Utility – make sure it does what it says it can do, make sure it’s useful for people. Make sure it adds value and delivers.”
“Let’s take Uber,” Burgin-Doyle says. “Some time ago, I broke my wrist badly and had months of rehab. With my husband away, I don’t know what I would have done without Uber. To use an old marketing expression, it does what it says on the tin, for both users and drivers. It serves a need and provides value. If you look at any of the powerhouses, that’s what they’ve done.”
“Flexibility – move with what the market wants, don’t force the market to do what you want or think, respond to their feedback and flex. Of course, you can drive behavioral change, but the market will always give you feedback, listen and be flexible.”
No matter if you are a founder or leader within a small to medium size business, a tech start-up or a $100M+ business, Burgin-Doyle says the overall business strategy –
determining where you are now, where you want to be and by when – comes first and that agility, utility and flexibility apply to every business, tech or traditional.
The purpose she says should be “to focus on adding value, everywhere you can, in every way you can and the right strategy and growth will follow.”
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