In this special interview, Overdrive editor Nicholas Addison Thomas sits down with EO speaker and founder of Backpocket COO Cameron Herold to discuss his new book (Double Double), lessons learned in business and the far-reaching power of focus.
1. As an entrepreneur ready to reach the next level in business, what will I take away from Double Double?
“Double Double will show you how to double the size of your company in three years. The steps I describe to achieve 100 percent growth of your business over three years are simple, but they require one absolutely essential discipline: Focus.
“If you are an entrepreneur and the leader of a US$1 million to US$250 million company, the idea of doubling your business may seem intimidating, but it only requires growing your business 26 percent per year for three years. This is fast growth, but not hyperfast growth. And it’s the kind of growth I’ve helped dozens of companies in 17 different countries achieve. The doubling we are talking about here includes not only doubling the revenue of your company, but also doubling the amount of profit it makes, and doubling the amount of free time for you and your employees to enjoy.
“This book will show you how to double your company’s revenue and profits through the simple, actionable steps of focused planning, focused building and focused leadership. The hardcore business principles I provide are enhanced by the firsthand examples I occasionally share to illustrate the steps in action. I’ve arrived at these steps by sifting and winnowing my own considerable workplace experience.”
2. When it comes to business growth, what’s the biggest myth you’ve come across as an entrepreneur?
“The big myth I’ve busted is that people with MBAs are smarter than everyone else. It’s simply NOT true. They tend to have a LOT of theory. They tend to talk with big words. They spout off models and experts, but they’ve rarely got any experience to back it up. So when they are in the trenches, they tend to stare at their computers and spreadsheets. Leadership isn’t learned in a classroom or built using pivot tables. Leadership is learned by working with people.”
3. What is the most common mistake you see entrepreneurs make when it comes to growing their businesses?
“They look for the silver bullet too often. There isn’t one thing that will blow the doors off the competition. Most successful companies are built with focus and hard work. As a mentor of mine used to say, ‘Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell, and advertise.”
4. What’s your biggest lessons learned as an entrepreneur?
“In chapter 17 of my book, Double Double, I actually cover in detail 58 key lessons I’ve learned in building companies. A few of them are:
- Listen – More often that not, I don’t need to be talking; the team already has it figured out.
- Slow Down, Do Less – I tend to get manic and rush around doing too many things, instead of just working on the critical few things that need my full attention.
- Boundaries – I need to set them. I say yes far too easily. I need to say no more often. I need to restrict my work hours.
- Remain Interested – It’s NOT all about business. And in fact, people get sick of me talking business all the time. Remain interested in other areas of life, hobbies, family, etc. Remain interested, to remain interesting.”
5. If you could offer one tip to EO members around the world, what would it be, and why?
“Focus – pure and simple. Entrepreneurs tend to be optimistic, and have a fair amount of Attention Deficit Disorder (or Attention Deficit Oh That’s Shiny). Due to these, they tend to get distracted and often work busily on projects or areas that aren’t the highest impact or most urgent areas that should be focused on. And this tends to trickle down through all layers of their business.
“EO members should ensure that they, and all people in their organization, have clearly laid out areas to focus on each quarter, week and day. In fact, I like it when they put in writing the top five things they need to get done for each of those periods, and commit them to at least one other person in the company. It’s about the critical few things, not the important many. Focus.”
Cameron has taken 20 years of experience operating some of the biggest business success stories in North America and turned it into a flourishing career as both a business consultant and a motivational speaker. He is a business coach and mentor to several fast-growth businesses and a CEO coach to large corporations throughout Canada and the US.