December 23, 2015 • Bookshelf

“Start With Why”

Our book club pick for this past quarter at ScaleCo was Simon Sinek’s Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action.  Having heard Simon Sinek speak in the past, as he is a favorite among the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, I had for some reason not yet read this book, so was anxious to dive in to our team’s selection.   As I began reading, I worried that I’d heard it all before, but am happy to report (which is typically the case!), it was well worth my time investment.  If you are thinking about reading this book, you might want to start by watching Simon’s Ted Talk or by perusing Greg Faxon’s summary.  These are much better than I could ever produce, however,  I do want to share a few of my own personal take-aways, which I believe truly have the potential to transform a business.

  1. Law of Diffusion of Innovation. One of my favorite statements in business is “find a niche to get rich.”  We see it over and over again here at Evolution.  The businesses that find their ideal customer are able to scale, expand margins and build sustainable companies.  Mr. Sinek explains why finding your niche works…..find the 2.5% of the population that are innovators – people willing to buy your product because of why you do it.  If you focus on this niche, you will ultimately be able to expand beyond the 2.5% to the 13.5% of early adopters, the 34% of early majority and then the 34% of the late majority.
  2. If your customers and suppliers believe what you and your employees believe, you are better than the competition (my interpretation with some liberties).
  3. Always start with Why.  Make all decisions based on your core values & purpose.   If you can pull it off, it is a time saver and will make you happier, both at work and in your personal life.  Very refreshing!
  4. You are in it to do better every day.  The work you are doing today is better than the work you did 6 months ago and not as good as you will do 6 months from now.  When we started Evolution, we worried what others might think as we were always refining our process.  Was this too much change?  Today, we embrace our mistakes, refine the process so that we are better 6 months from now, and have even integrated this concept into our core values (Always Look For a Better Way).
  5. The single biggest challenge facing an organization is success.  Simon explains, as a company grows, it can dilute your “Why.”  Essentially, the reason why you get out of bed every morning no longer is transferred to all of your employees.

And there are certainly many more nuggets in the book that make it a worthy read for any business leader or entrepreneur (current or aspiring).  I would just ask that if you do choose to invest the time to read this book, let your mind wander, it is fun to dream!  As we say at Evolution, it is all about the Passion for Possibilities.

Don’t forget to check out our other suggested titles to assist you in your entrepreneurial journey.  And if you have a book you would recommend that is not on our list, I would love to hear from you.  Leave a comment below or send me an email.

About ScaleCo

ScaleCo Capital is a Cleveland-based lower middle market private equity firm that focuses on control-oriented leveraged buyout and growth equity investments in fast-growing companies based primarily in the Great Lakes region. ScaleCo partners with companies in the verticals of business services, tech-enabled services, value added distribution and assembly, and training, compliance, and education sectors, bringing operational expertise and strategic resources to scale their growth potential and build long-term value. To learn more, visit scaleco.com.

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