5 Ways to Build A Winning Company

How do you go from a couple people in a garage with a business idea, to going public on the New York Stock Exchange?

What are the things you should focus on? What are the things you should avoid?

The business world can be a tricky one to navigate. There are a thousand voices screaming at you from every corner of the internet, every single day.

“Do it this way!”

“Here are your steps to success, if you just buy our program!”

Luckily, we were recently able to sit down with Scott Dorsey, who is currently a managing partner at High Alpha, but spent over a decade as the CEO & Founder of ExactTarget.

ExactTarget was acquired by SalesForce in 2013 for $2.5B. Scott knows a thing or two about how to grow a successful business, and how to do it right.

Scott was kind enough to share with us some of the lessons he’s learned from over a decade of growing a successful business. What we should be focusing on, what we should be avoiding, and how we should run a business.

  1. Listen to Your Customers More

Every company thinks that they’re listening to their customers. But are they really? Do the leaders at the top really take the time to listen to what the average customer has to say?

Scott was reminded of a leader at Salesforce who came on board as a Product Innovation leader and committed to personally speak to a customer every single day. That’s easy to say, but most product leaders know that in leadership, it’s very hard to do.

[Tweet ““If you listen to your customers, they’ll show you the way.” – @scottdorsey #FlipMyFunnel”]

  1. Be Kind, but Be Competitive

So many companies focus on being in front, or making quarterly projections, or making sure that the bottom line is where it should be. And those are all important things.

What a lot of companies forget though, is that in order to create a company that performs well, you have to give your employees a reason to enjoy what they do. You have to be kind and empathetic and compassionate.

If your employees can’t see that you care about them, or that you’re not kind or caring, they’re going to burn out awfully quick. They may perform well for a season, but that season won’t last.

Give your employees a reason to believe that you care.

  1. Don’t Just Focus on the Top of the Funnel

Too many organizations are so great at pouring resources and focus to the top of the funnel. Marketers focus on what marketing is contributing to the top line. 

But to be a truly successful company, marketing and sales have to be partners, not siloed teams. Marketing has to be responsible for generating marketing leads & opportunities, sure, but also for helping the sales team generate leads & opportunities, building overall success.

Maybe it means aligning resources to help marketing build better decks and a better overall experience for sales. Maybe it means significantly shifting your marketing resources.

[Tweet ““If we were marketing to marketers, we’d better be the best in the world.” – @scottdorsey #FlipMyFunnel”]

  1. Focus on the Real Problem

Your game plan cannot be hypothetical. You’ve got to focus on the actual problems that you are solving in the real world.

Put your marketing and sales resources to work by getting customers to buy the real-life solution to the real-life problem.

  1. Start With the End in Mind

What is your endgame? Where are you going?

Once you determine that you are going to be the category leader, it’s a lot easier to venture back and dictate where you need to go to get to that place.

Your goal is to create enterprise value, and the majority of enterprise value goes to the category leader.

Remember, to reach your full potential, you have to be optimistic, and yet never satisfied.

Surround yourself with the right investors, advisors, and mentors, and they’ll help you reach your full potential, and in turn, help your organization reach their full potential as well.


This post is based on an interview with Scott Dorsey from High Alpha.

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