A year ago, the office looked like something out of an entrepreneur’s fever dream.
Scott Hill and Andy Medley had successfully built two fast-growth companies and had a third gaining a lot of recognition in the Indiana startup community. All three of these companies were housed under a holding company, CIK Enterprises.
By any definition, Scott and Andy had been “successful.” By having not one, but two companies reach the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies list and being named “Best Place to Work in Indiana” by the Chamber of Commerce, they had exceeded all of the expectations they set when they started selling print inserts out of Scott’s dad’s living room in 2001.
Today, however, they aren’t wide-eyed 20-somethings, content with growth. They wanted to build a scalable business, and they knew that they couldn’t do that with four different companies. They needed to turn those four companies into one company with a unified vision.
Here are three key ingredients to successful scaling that you can learn from Scott and Andy’s story.
Find Your Competitive Advantage in Each Market
If you’re serving more than one market, there’s a good chance that you have one key advantage in all of them that you may not be thinking about. In Scott and Andy’s case, that was prized promotions. Their prized promotions in the automotive space was their biggest competitive advantage both in that space and in the retail space. By focusing on that and ignoring fringe benefits they could offer, they’re able to scale more efficiently.
Find a Vision, Not a Market
This runs counter to what we tell entrepreneurs. In the startup world, we’re used to selling before building and trying to validate the market before we put too many resources into a project. When you’re looking to scale, however, you need to be willing to toss that aside and find a vision. When you have a decade of experience in a market, you need to heed the advice of Steve Jobs:
“People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
Take Your Time, Get It Right
Another piece of advice that runs counter to the startup culture: When trying to scale, speed to market is not as crucial as execution. Scott and Andy had built three “Lean Startups” and they were all successful, but the goal wasn’t to build something lean, it was to build something lasting. That’s why this rebrand took nearly two years, but they feel confident that this time, they’ve gotten it right.
A year and a half later, they will be rolling out their new company on the Verge stage. We’re extremely excited for the event and can’t wait for the Verge community to get a look into their revamped office space, featuring a full bar, game room, and more. To learn more about PERQ, check out their website and come to this month’s FREE Verge event at their office.