8 Lessons I Learned Starting A $100M/Year Company

If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know that my most successful business venture to date has been BigCommerce.

Recently, we announced BigCommerce’s earnings for 2017 to be over the $100m mark. Needless to say, this is a major milestone for the team as a whole, and also for myself as a founder.

Of course, it wasn’t easy to get to this point by any stretch. There are definitely a number of things I could have done better (or done at all) that might have spurred faster growth or had some other far-reaching benefit. But, on the other hand, there are also a number of things I did do that helped make the company what it is today.

8 Lessons I Learned Starting a $100M/Year Company

Whether my choices led to a positive or negative outcome for BigCommerce, I always ended up with a lesson well learned.

With that in mind, I decided to focus this episode of the Insane Growth podcast on what these lessons were – and how you can internalize them and take them with you on your own journey as an entrepreneur.

In this episode, I discuss the lessons I learned from making various mistakes, such as:

  • Not Playing the Long Game: As I’ve talked about before on the podcast, building a massively-successful company is a 7-10 year journey, not a path to overnight success.
  • Not Investing in a COO Early On: Having 30 direct reports means having almost no time to actually focus on growing your business.
  • Not Investing in Design From the Start: Solid product design from the onset sets the standard for where your product is headed.
  • Focusing on Only One Lead Source: While one lead source will likely be most effective for a company, putting all your eggs in one basket is never a great idea.

On the more positive side of things, I also talk about the lessons I learned from the decisions I made and actions I took that paid off for BigCommerce, including:

  • Being the Face of the Company: By creating and hosting videos featuring basic business lessons for fledgling entrepreneurs, I ensured our customers never saw BigCommerce as a faceless entity.
  • Communicating Our Vision Often: Our goal, here, was to make crystal clear to our employees, our customers, and the media exactly what BigCommerce stands for. This provided us with nearly infinite opportunities to showcase our authenticity and our dedication to our clientele.
  • Having Zero Optionality: While having a “backup plan” is typically seen as a safe bet for first-time founders, there’s something to be said for making your business not just your top priority, but your only one.

Whether you’re just getting your first company off the ground, or you’re looking to crack $10, $50, or $100 million in revenue in the coming year, you’ll want to give this episode a listen. Not only will you likely find a helpful nugget or two from my own experiences, but you’ll also better understand the importance of learning from your own experiences along your own path to success.

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

  • HubSpot: Inbound Marketing, Sales, and Services software
  • Sling & Stone: PR agency for “challengers, disruptors, and entrepreneurs”
  • Medium: A publishing platform I use to share my experiences as an entrepreneur
  • YouTube: The well-known video streaming platform is a treasure trove of content for entrepreneurs looking for motivation and advice
  • Drift: Conversational marketing software

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