Four months ago, Gindo was attending a local Leads Group when one of the founding members, Ellen Huxtable of Advantage Business Concepts, approached him about applying for a new entrepreneurial program through College of DuPage. When he got home, we looked up the program, applied without hesitation, and were delighted to be accepted within days. That is how our experience began with Innovation DuPage's Accelerator Cohort Program.
When we started the twelve week program, our company was experiencing tremendously fast growth, which is great! We had been working hard all last year and seeing the sales increase at the rates we were experiencing did make us feel like we were on our way to success, but truth be told, our cash flow was terrible, and our profits were nothing to brag about. Needless to say, we were looking for some guidance.
Thank goodness for Rita Haake, Hilary Burkinshaw and the whole team at Innovation DuPage for creating a program for entrepreneurs like us, who don't come from business backgrounds, and are experiencing tremendous growth a few years into owning businesses and need to learn how to control that growth to achieve maximum success.
Well, we just completed the twelve week program, and here are a few things we learned along the way:
1. How to start scaling our business for growth by letting go of some of the attributes that helped launch Gindo's Spice of Life in the first place, and embracing a new way of thinking so we can truly become the leaders our company needs us to be.
2. It is absolutely necessary to make SMART goals, and be sure to follow up!
3. Sales growth does not necessarily make for a healthy and successful company. You have to understand the numbers, make goals and plan ahead financially.
4. Take a step back, put systems and processes in place, and learn to let go of the day-to-day operations by outsourcing or hiring staff so that we can start treating the business like owners instead of workers who are stuck in the weeds.
5. Perhaps the best part about this particular program is the fact that we were surrounded by other entrepreneurs going through many of the same obstacles in growth as us. Being able to talk openly with them, sharing struggles and successes with no judgment, really made this whole experience something we will take with us forever. Thank you for inspiring us, fellow entrepreneurs, and for showing us that we're not in this alone!
6. Resources, resources, resources. Thank you to Rita, Hilary and all of our mentors for sharing your insight and giving us so many resources as we continue to grow!
For any small businesses in the area looking for help in taking their company to the next level, apply for the Innovation DuPage Accelerator Cohort Program! Next session starts in August 2018.
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