Why do some businesses scale and others don’t?


Ever since I started my first business, I’ve been trying to figure out why some business scale and others don’t. It’s always been a dream of mine to build a fast scaling business like the stories we hear of the tech companies in Silicon Valley. There have been many business books written based on years of research, on companies such as Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook and all of them offer their own views. Here are some of my favourite books that explain this.

  • E-Myth By Michael E. Gerber
  • Good to Great By Jim Collins
  • The Intelligent Entrepreneur By Bill Murphy

Based on these books I drew up this diagram below to try and simplify these conclusions and this is what I came up with:

The 3 lines represent a linear growth of 3 different companies over a 10 year period

If we accept that these are 3 business all started as a “One Man Show” by 3 Entrepreneurs from the same background, intelligence, education, country, financial class and support. How can one business scale to R20M, the other R50M and the last one to 100M turnover in 10 years?

Take a moment and think of a few reasons of your own before you read further.

Here are some of the reasons other Entrepreneurs mentioned.

  • He/ She was happy with the R20m
  • Money beliefs/ Money blueprint
  • Adoption of technology
  • Marketing and sales strategy
  • Right bums in the right seats on the bus (Jim Collins)
  • They knew where they were going. They had a vision of what the business would look like when it was done and could communicate the vision to inspire employees and investors and attract clients. (Michael E. Gerber)
  • Company culture. They had team members not employees (Dave Ramsey)
  • The R100m company was hungry, motivated, determined, basically had a bigger drive.
  • They had a reason above money. They had a why (Start with why – Simon Sinek)
  • Could scale lean (Lean Startup – Eric Ries)


I could go on and on but the above illustrates my point. These were all decisions, habits, beliefs, and visions of the Entrepreneurs who started and ran these companies. It is safe to say that 90% of the reasons we can come up with can be categorised to one collective: The Mindset of the Entrepreneur. There are other facts such as luck, timing of the market and something that we can’t describe, but it is known as the X- Factor. For now, let’s just focus on Mindset as I believe this to be the biggest differentiator and the one thing we can control. If mindset plays such a big part what can we do to cultivate a mindset similar to these successful Entrepreneurs. Are some just born with big mindsets and the rest are doomed to run companies that never scale?  I don’t think so especially considering slogans such as:

  • Want to increase your mindset, increase your circle of influence.
  • You are the average of the 5 people you spend your time with.
  • Want to be a billionaire, hang out with billionaires.
  • Want to change your mindset change your habits.
  • Aim at nothing and you will hit it every time.

These slogans suggest that there are actions and habits we can change to cultivate a mindset similar to that of successful individuals

One of the first things I would suggest is to start spending time with people that are where you want to be. Find groups of people that inspire you and will keep you accountable.

We always default to our worst habits that is why pro golfers still hit thousands of golf balls a week so that their worst habit is still a pretty good shot. What are your worst habits and how do you want to change them? Make a list of your top 5 limiting behaviours and next to it what you think it should be

Build a vision. I’ve heard of Japanese companies with 1000 year generational visions yet most of us don’t even have a 5-year plan.

Communicate your vision. You want people to follow you, clients to work with you and investors to invest in you. That starts with communicating your vision so effectively that you inspire people.

Motivation is like taking a bath, you have to do it daily – ‘Zig Ziglar’. Most of us have exercises for our physical fitness but not many of us exercise our emotional fitness. These are things like training our mind to think positively and blocking negative words from other people that brings us down.

How you start your day is critically important to the success you will achieve that day. Here is some examples of a morning rituals:

  • Wake up earlier. I try to wake up every weekday morning at 5am
  • Meditate. Meditation is a great way to clear your thoughts that is clouding your vision
  • Daily affirmations. Use daily affirmations to set the tone of the day.
  • Bulletproof coffee. Here is a link for more info: Bulletproof Coffee
  • Exercise. It’s difficult to have a healthy mind and energy without a healthy body
  • Plan my day with purpose. Start each day with intention and decide what will make today successful

This can be daunting so I would suggest to start with one or two and build up from there at a pace that is comfortable to you.

These are some of the techniques that has worked for me. Try it out and let me know what effect it had on your mindset and what else really worked for you.

Dear Life: A memoir to myself

As is standard with our relationship every situation that happens changes me and makes me think. It makes me see a 100 different possibilities and analyse how it affects me. I reflect on it and try and see where I have faulty programming so I can fix it. This last few months was no exception. Reflecting on why I am making the choices that I am and what will this one day be, I sit and wonder then stop myself. Is it serving me to try and figure out the future? Second thought comes into my mind – why am I constantly trying to figure this out? Even sitting writing this my mind goes in circles about numerous things especially what society will deem as acceptable and then again I have to tell myself – Stop! This is not about society, this is about me.

What do I see?

I saw something magical. I see a future possibility of what the world could look like. I see a future possibility of who I can become and I see a paradigm that exists between you and me. I have learnt more about myself in the last 12 months than the rest of my life combined. I knew about everything that I learnt but never had a powerful enough experience to really feel it.

“There is a difference between knowing and believing” It is only once you experience it that you can truly believe it.

Why do I put myself in situations that can break me? Why don’t I just accept life as it is and live a “normal” life? I knew from the start that this will be a tough journey if I chose the path less traveled and I had a choice which road I want to take. Even as I am writing this I still have a choice to go back to the crossroad and choose the path of the masses. There is no right or wrong but every choice has consequences and can you live with them? My answer was yes. I have a choice to the open road that is less traveled and not shielded making it open to the  damage of the storm but at the same time completely open to feel the warmth of the sunrise. Why do I choose this dangerous path with no protection, no directions and no idea where it leads? The answer:

What if?

“What if” is the 2 words that dreams are made of. It is the two words that move us forward as humanity and as a person. It explores future possibilities that is incomprehensible to the normal human mind. It makes us believe in a better future that doesn’t yet exist. It makes us challenge our current set of bullshit rules. I love sharing my life and experiences with those close to me and yes, I can explore this “what if” by myself but that just seems meh.

So why did I choose to have this experience? Because I believe! I believe in “what if”. Believe in being a dreamer, a warrior that will draw his sword in the face of adversity and face it head on not in the absence of fear but in spite of fear. I want to be a warrior that would stand by the side with those that believe in “what if” with our swords drawn. I want to believe that we have as much compassion as we have strength and as much love as we have power. I believe in powerful people that could command obedience with the lift of their hand but would rather choose love. I believe that we have power beyond measure if we choose to accept it.

Could I have experienced such an extreme version of “what if” by living in my comfort zone and living the life that society deems as acceptable? I doubt it! I believe that exceptional people challenge themselves beyond the status quo, they do the things that no one else wants to do or can do and yes, it is to better themselves but deep down I think they just like the challenge. I am an exceptional person that will change things and I love challenging old believes and what the general population thinks is impossible. (Even saying this I can feel alarm bells going off from my past conditioning). How you do one thing is how you do everything and by taking the road less traveled I force myself to grow not just in that one area of my life. We are all afraid and people who don’t want to face their fear take the way of not pushing themselves further and challenging themselves beyond what they see as possible right now. I chose to act in spite of fear not because it will be easy but because I know that this would be one of the most daring experiences of my life! I am the author of my own life and this is how I chose to write this chapter of my life. Does it scare the shit out of me? Of course it does!

But can you just imagine if all our “what if’s” came true! What else would be possible? “what if” you knew you had no possibility of failure, how big a game would you play then? I try to believe (but it’s crazy difficult) that there is no chance of failure and the “how” will just be semantics. To a large extent I have done this in the past and I have moved forward in leaps and bounds because of it both measurable in activities and successes but also emotionally. What I have learnt from it will continue to help me the rest of my life. One of the biggest aha moments is if you can find an experience to challenge your “what if” framework it overflows to other areas of your life and short circuits your neural connections for learning and moving yourself forward.

It is my (and your) duty to become the person that I have always believed I can be. We all are that person now and the time has come to pull the curtain back and show the rest of the world!

Yours Truly

A believer in “What if”