Here is an email I sent to the TakeLessons team last week where we recognized our past successes and was reminded of what it takes to continue to grow. Sometimes, the biggest challenge to success is success itself as it can breed complaceny. As a leader, it's your role to ensure your team keeps focusing on future results.
As you know, last quarter we went through a time where we were over-worked and stretched thin. The goal was to get to reach out financial milestones so that we can ensure we are self-reliant in case the macro-economic environment turns downward.
Here’s an article from TechCrunch that talks about the current state of venture/angel/private equity. In summary, less deals are getting done, there is less appetite for risk, and I believe more start-ups will die. It will be tough to raise money.
What this means is that if you are not cash-flow positive already, you are going to have a very tough road ahead of you. Funding will be limited, which means it will be nearly impossible to grow without a sustainable business model. It also means that companies with solid models can now extend their lead faster and with more force, since competition will be muted.
We made the right choice by buckling down and doing the hard work necessary to reach our goal. There are thousands of tech companies right now that would give anything to be in our position, and because of your commitment, drive, free throws, and perseverance, we are in an enviable position.
Looking forward, it is essential that we continue to focus on hitting our quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals. You saw Matt’s email this morning. We missed 6 sales yesterday from unanswered calls – and those six sales (as well as every sale) really matter. Don’t allow yourself to think that we can sit back and rest. Now is not the time. If we get complacent, we will slip backwards quickly. Keep the intensity and pressure on yourself and on your teammates to perform at their best.
Are you using your time efficiently? Are you reading about what it takes to prepare yourself for the next position you’ll want in the company? During the downtime throughout the day, are you surfing the net, or thinking about ways to improve your department? Are you offering to help your teammates? Remember, it’s what you do when no one is looking that determines your character, your habits, and ultimately your outcome. It’s doing the little things well that matter because, ultimately, there are no ‘little things’. Everything matters.
As you master the art of self-discipline, it is the traits you are learning and applying daily here at work (perseverance, CANI, ownership mentality, loyalty, strategic thinking, goal-setting) that will make you marketable the rest of your life. It is these same characteristics that will make you a better student, husband, wife, parent, civic servant, entrepreneur, and world leader. It is these same character traits that will allow us to keep raising the bar for ourselves and bettering ourselves and human beings. And as we grow, we will expose ourselves to new experiences and opportunity that will continue to add to the value of our life.
As we continue to expand, I encourage you to master your current position and begin to prepare yourself – at work and on your own watch – for the position you want to grow into. It will be those who continue to require more of themselves who will be the ones that naturally rise up. Will it be you?
I am counting on you, as the leaders of this company, to continue to think smart and build something you’re proud of. Great job. You deserve a high-five. Now, back to work.