“Can I do this?” We often ask ourselves this, but that reassuring yes doesn’t always flow as easily as we would like. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, our fears tend to prevent us from making those bold choices, those creative disruptions in our personal and professional lives that often mark great careers. As we covered in Supreme Leadership
, Supreme Leadership Habits
, and Supreme Leadership Mentors
, hundreds of golden nuggets of wisdom are available to you—but even armed with the knowledge of steely entrepreneurial veterans, not every journey is a smooth ride.
What does remain constant, however, is that all the leaders of our time started somewhere—a garage, a college dorm, even a kitchen. By holding true to their values and trying to make the best decisions for their teams, these inspiring leaders have achieved greatness. 7-Figure Minds
is the fourth installment in this anthology series and represents a collection of stories covering the successes and hardships that have sculpted some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs—and
their secrets on how they have scaled to Olympic heights.
So, what does it take?
Do these qualities align with your strengths? We all start at different places and navigate through a labyrinth of maybes and what-ifs, but I hope you see yourself reflected in many of these seven-figure minds because you can
do this, just like those before you and the many you will come to inspire.
Are you ready to dive in? Kader Sakkaria
Telesto Consulting Services
“You guys have to change.” That’s what I tell my clients. That’s what I tell myself too. The only constant in life is change—a well-worn quote, perhaps, but it has stood the test of time for a reason. I believed this when we started Telesto Consulting Services almost eight years ago, I believed this as we grew the start-up into a seven-figure company, and I believe this now as we navigate our way through these uncertain times.
I was a management and strategy consultant from a big company, Andersen Consulting/Accenture, and a few of us wanted a change—to get off the road, so to speak, and start something on our own. So, Telesto Consulting Services was born in 2012. We’re an IT consulting company, and we operate in a niche area within architecture and project management. We specifically chose this area because we wanted to be different. We didn’t want to compete in the oversaturated offshore market. Instead, we wanted to be in the business of enabling leaders and organizations to make the right decisions that would allow them to achieve the goals of their business strategy quickly and consistently.
Truth be told, we didn’t set out to be in this industry. It just happened that way. The beauty of being a technologist is that the industry doesn’t matter that much—it’s all about understanding how you're going to start creating incremental business value for an organization. Be it in manufacturing, health care, retail, or B2B—what we provide organizations is industry-agnostic because it’s all about adding value to the organization.
A lot of people ask, “What’s the secret to your success? How do you turn a start-up into a million-dollar company?” There is no single definitive answer. However, from the outset, it's particularly important to intentionally decide what company you are going to be. Ask yourself, “What do I want to do when I grow up? Do I want to be a $20 million company? $100 million? Or—you know what—I'm just going to be a $2 million company with three or four of us working on it.”
Persistence and focus are important. But mindset—that is the key. People often consider business ventures as projects to be completed quickly. But a business venture
is exactly that—an adventure, a journey. Thus, for a lot of the small companies and businesses, it is important to adopt a product mindset where one would take a concept, get that to market quickly using agile processes and methodologies, show ink right away, and then build up incremental value based on feedback from customers.
How do you take the business strategy and figure out the fastest way to convert that to incremental business value? With a product mindset and design thinking, you can figure out what the right problem is and how to solve it. Often, businesses strive to solve so many problems—except the right one. Our company’s success lies in this, and we’ve been remarkably effective in helping other companies do this as well.
Earning your first dollar is always an important milestone for any company. When we went from six figures to seven figures, that was another big deal for us. Working your way up to that financial marker requires both internal and external business gymnastics to overcome all the obstacles that stand in your way. It’s never only about the destination. It’s about the journey. You can’t skip steps and assume you’ll have massive growth overnight. That’s why celebrating the small successes that lead toward your goals is imperative to keeping the momentum going and morale high.
Let’s talk talent acquisition. When you’re starting out, naturally, you want to hire people with the same mindset as you, but that very thing—this tribe of like-minded individuals—often becomes the bottleneck impeding your growth. Hiring the right team is paramount, and for every revenue jump we reached, we had to restructure and reevaluate. Change is inevitable and something we must do constantly. We tell our clients, “If you don't change, your competition is going to eat you up.” It’s true for them, and it’s true for us. In every step, we have to make sure we’re looking at only the important things and that our organization is structured to nimbly make the next jump.
It takes a different mindset to only maintain what you have rather than grow and scale. As your company grows, your processes need to reflect those changes, and so too does your leadership style. You might change from being an aggressive go-getter to a leadership style that’s more focused on the community and helping people through tough situations. At our company, we’ve also adopted a change management mindset focusing on empathetic communication to help our clients understand more holistically why a particular change is important. Your company will undergo significant transformations and face ever-changing economic and business conditions. Whether you succeed or fail will be directly correlated to how well you’re able to match the ever-changing needs and standards of the market.
With COVID-19 and its impact on the entire economy, not only in the US but across the world, we’ve had to consider how we will absorb the impact and react to it. We have had to essentially formulate a new set of goals to work toward, and foremost among them is the health and safety of our customers, clients, and our employees. That's going to be a key part of this transition process. We are also going to focus on how we will rebuild. With the continuation of a global pandemic, there will be a need for a major transition phase to rethink and restructure, and as part of our due diligence, we are already crafting our secondary and tertiary plans of action. Always be ready to pivot, shift, and adapt.