Guy Rigby has been working with entrepreneurs for decades. He’s an accountant who takes a unique approach to the service by working directly with the founder at owner-managed business as the Chair of Entrepreneurial Services at Smith and Williamson.
Guy is also the author of Vision to Exit, a book that tackles the very similar challenges most entrepreneurs face. Over the course of the conversation we talk about the common pitfalls many entrepreneurs face, what it means when you become risk averse in your business, and how to dream bigger.
Tune in to hear Guy’s top tips for entrepreneurs who want to scale up, such as:
- Recruiting for character and training for skills
- Helping entrepreneurs succeed and achieve their goals over time
- Developing the confidence to pursue your vision
- Your first hire and who you need to have on board for growth
- Knowing when it is time to change something in order to move forward
A Roadmap for Growth: Starting and Scaling Your Business
Guy Rigby takes a different approach to accounting advising. As Chair of Entrepreneurial Services at Smith and Williamson he works directly with the founder of owner-managed businesses, providing financial services as well as mentorship, networking, brand advising and more. Like the title of his book, Guy guides entrepreneurs from vision to exit, connecting them to other like-minded entrepreneurs, and strategic alliance partners.
In the course of his decades long career, he’s worked with numerous business leaders and compiled a list of more than 100 things successful entrepreneurs should look to achieve. Among those tools for success are the right mentality, the right people, and a strong financial plan.
In today’s era of internet kickstarters and venture capitalism, more and more entrepreneurs are gaining access to the funding they need to start their businesses. Starting a successful business that can scale up is not always a natural process, and more fail than succeed.
Getting Started as an Entrepreneur
Each entrepreneur comes to the table with their own ideas of success. Many even start businesses with the intention of existing as part of the strategy. To craft a business that excels, business owners need to figure out if their vision is scalable to begin with.
Working with a mentor can help answer your early questions and carve out a plan for success. Great mentors help identify opportunities for growth, and connect you with potential partners, potentially even early hires.
What happens to many entrepreneurs is their original vision doesn’t hit the mark. To succeed, you may need to pivot. That means taking risks and veering down a new path. Surprisingly, considering the nature of business, many business owners are quite risk averse.
Hiring the Right People, and Who to Hire First
One of the most important people to get onboard early is someone who deeply understands finance. When you are in growth mode, you need someone to help you understand how much money you can support taking on.
Guy recommends the first recruit should be someone who can control the numbers and help build a financial roadmap. The next step is taking on a non-exec/mentor. A non-exec has typically been there, seen it, done it, and this helps to shorten the course for the growth-oriented founder.
Recruiting for Character
Hiring people you trust and who embody your vision can help you face the inevitable bumps in the road in stride. Skills can be trained but personalities are ingrained.
No matter how large you grow you are going to want staff who are invested and feel a sense of ownership in the work. This not only helps with retention, it helps with networking and word of mouth promotion.
Conquering Your Fears to Scale Up Your Business
To paraphrase Confucius, if you think you can, you can. Smith and Williamson recently conducted a study of 1,000 companies found that the scalability of the business had a lot to do with the mindset of the entrepreneur.
Fear of failure and fear of change are two factors that keep businesses from reaching the next level. Even successful businesses could be more so. But Guy has found that business sustainability can actually be a barrier for change. Once you’ve reached a point where you are living the lifestyle you set out to achieve, you can either rest on your laurels or set your newfound comfort up for a test and drive for growth.
If you have a great business, why not expand and create more jobs? Getting the right people in place can help you get over that fear and gain the confidence to dream bigger.
A few books that Guy recommends to help you grow your business:
- From Vision to Exit: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Building and Selling a Business by Guy Rigby
- Entrepreneur Revolution and Key Person of Influence by Daniel Priestley
- Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies by Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh