Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal and business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sarah Victory, Founder of The Victory Company, Inc., located in Chicago, IL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
At The Victory Company, we are passionate about working with businesses that want to double their business, double their impact, and change the world. We have organizations from around the world that come to us to help them do just that. We have helped hundreds of businesses around the world through speaking and consulting.
Tell us about yourself
I'd always known that I was good at growing businesses. I'd already grown a few businesses by the time I was in my late 20s. I went on and started to do more and do more speaking at major conferences and companies around the world. One day, I was speaking at a conference for about 2200 business owners, and after the program, a woman came up to me and said, "I would love to double my business."
Her: "I loved your program; double your business in one year or less."
Me: "Thank you.
Her: "I would love to double my business in one year or less."
Me: "Well, that's fantastic. That's exactly why I'm here."
Her: "I'd like to buy a book."
As I signed her book, she said, "I'd love to have coffee with you to talk about that."
And so, we had a chance to sit in the cafe and have some coffee. And she started telling me about her business. She told me about this division and that division and this segment and this country that her company was in. And I began to realize that unlike many of the startups and small businesses that I often speak to, her business was much larger.
And so, I finally asked her how big the business was. And she said, "It's about 75 million." And I thought, oh, wow, that's a lot bigger than I usually deal with.
Me: "Well, I'm not sure I could help you double that in one year — like many of the businesses in the room."
Her: "Well, if you could do it in five years, I'd be ecstatic."
Me: "Well, what do you think would need to happen for it to double?"
Her: "I know we'd have to get into Coke and Pepsi and Quaker."
Me: "Well, why don't you just do that? What do you need me for?"
Her: "I've been trying for 15 years."
And she velcroed her wrist to her forehead and went on about how hard it was.
And it was hard. I could tell it was difficult for them (her and her business). They've been trying for 15 years, and they were getting no traction because they were a fairly small company when compared to what many of the big companies deal with.
Me: "What have you been doing?"
Her: "Basically, they just kept saying, "Hey, we're great, we're great," every time they emailed, or put it on their website, or contact the people at those different companies."
Me: "Well, I bet there's another way we could try; maybe we should go ahead and see what we can come up with."
So, we began working together. And I worked with her sales team, I worked with her, and we found ways for her to become more of a thought leader that is more noticed in the industry really rapidly. And we worked like crazy. About ten months later, we got into Coke, and it was a miracle. And about 15 months later, we got into Pepsi, another miracle. And about two years and two months in, we got into Quaker, and her business did, in fact, go to double and a little bit more 256 million in the month that followed. And she was able to do some extraordinary things with her business because of it. And the next thing I knew, I started working with much larger businesses and helping them to be able to double. And I realized that I had this passion for growing companies and helping companies grow and creating infrastructures for them. It was the partners that I could bring in so that they could not just able to double their business but be able to control the business that they had and have it run as effectively and efficiently as possible.
So, she told a lot of other people, and the next thing I knew, I was working with all sorts of companies, companies anywhere from five to 156 million. And it changed everything about my life and my business. We started bringing in different consultants that could do all sorts of interesting things. I got to speak to over 2000 groups around the world, which is about three and a half million individuals sitting in those audiences. I began writing, and of course, I am on my third book, and I have been able to make more and more of an impact with companies large and small. And that's my real passion.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment is being able to grow the company. To bring in things that companies need has been miraculous because I want to help people grow their businesses. I can grow anything but a houseplant; it turns out. But I want those companies to have everything they need to be able to be successful and to be able to compete against the really big companies out there. So, you know, every time we've been asked, "Can you help us bring and find the best talent? Can you help us grow? Can you help us find the right team, train the right team, and plan for the future?"
So, I want to bring them in, maybe temporary HR, or temporary CEOs, or CEOs or CFOs. I want to help them to be thought leaders, and I want them to be seen in their industry and write a great book to be able to be more visible and have access to people they've never had access to before and able to bring in overseas people to be able to bring in a bigger team that we can provide so that they can grow and flourish.
I have such an extraordinary network after 27 years in the business, being able to bring in just the right people for that company, for them to be able to double their business, doubler impact, and change the world, for them to be able to do all of that. That's where the passion comes from. And that's what I'm most proud of and what we've been able to accomplish for businesses and the team I get to work with that I'm honored to work with.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
As a business owner, I believe one of the biggest challenges (and privilege) is striving to be the leader that my team deserves and being a leader of leaders. It's a great privilege to have the ability to help others, but it comes with a huge responsibility. Being a leader of leaders can be even more challenging, as you need to build trust and respect with your team of leaders and empower them to make decisions on their own. This requires strong communication skills, the ability to delegate effectively, and a willingness to listen to feedback and ideas from others.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Firstly, your network is your net worth. You probably know everyone you need to get all the business you need. Talk to everyone you admire and respect, and they will network you into exactly what you need. You can also go to where your ideal clients go, whether conferences, associations, or trade shows, and connect with your ideal client where they are. I had this spectacular client; he'd been the CEO of a Fortune 100 company. And I gave him a technique to expand into consulting and span to expand more into his network. He can be seen as more of a thought leader. And 23 days later, I talked with him about how his technique was going. And he said that he booked six hundred thousand dollars worth of business. And I nearly fell off my chair on Zoom with him. And he said, "Oh, but that's just the beginning. Wait, there's more." And then he also booked a twenty-five-million-dollar contract with the government. In the end, what he did was connect with the people in his network in a very specific strategy that I gave to him that allowed him to succeed. And even though not all of us have the connections to necessarily get that much business in 23 days, by reaching out to our own networks, most of us can double or triple in a matter of months and certainly in less than a year by connecting with the people in our network, and realizing that every one of them probably knows half a dozen people who could help us double our business. We just don't take the time to ask, and we assume that they don't know the people that we need to be connected to. But the average person has 200 to 300 connections on Facebook, and I think it's 270 contacts on LinkedIn. And how many contacts do those contacts have? So, the people that you need are probably right in front of you without you realizing it.
Secondly, go after the absolute best clients for your company and your business: If your client was an individual person, not 1000 but one, then we could replicate them over and over and over. What would that one person be like? Are they married? Are they single? Do they have children? Do they commute to work? What is their life like? Make that as specific as possible, and then, you are marketing to a person, not to the world, and that's always more powerful. What are the values that you stand for? You feel that your ideal clients should have those same values because if you take on clients who are not ideal, they will refer you to other clients who are less than ideal, and your business will stagnate or diminish. Whereas, if you always are striving for people with your values and the psychology that you're looking for, they will come, they will bring you, they will bring you more of your ideal clients, but you have to be so clear on what that is.
Lastly, come across as a thought leader: Write an article or a book so you can be seen as a thought leader in your industry. You can also interview top people who are already doing well at what you do and find out their secrets. This will allow you to come across as a thought leader in your industry even before you are one.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Number one, talk to as many people as you possibly can to offer real value. Come into every relationship with something of value to the other party while making sure you're ready to ask for help from them as well. And then, number two, establish yourself as an expert in your field. So, people are more likely to want to do business with you and refer business to you. And then, three would be to step up and lead in areas you've never led before because that's where the magic happens. Finally, the most important secret to a great business and a great life is to simply do something brave every day.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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