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Open your internet browser, and you’ll be flooded with stories of overnight success: “I made a million dollars in my first year” or “I run my seven-figure business from the coast of Fiji.”
That sounds great, but is it really true? While a few business owners were born into fame and fortune, they’re the exception and not the rule. Good old hard work and dedication still are what make someone truly successful as an entrepreneur. These are the people who overcame obstacles and failures along the way but chose not to give up.
Scott Nash, founder of MOM’s Organic, is proof that slow and steady wins the race when it comes to successfully growing a business.
The young entrepreneurial spirit.
Scott started his journey at age 22 and with only $ 100 in his pocket. He had no idea where his life would end up, but he knew he ultimately would be successful. How? He had the right mindset, and he fixed his focus on growing his business.
The gig that started with a catering business run out of his mother’s garage steadily has grown into a multi-location organic food market that brings in $ 200 million in revenue each year. It took him more than a decade to get there.
Nash’s steady growth might not sound as enticing as someone who claims to be an overnight millionaire, but his strategy was deliberate. If you’re thinking of dropping out of the game, pay attention.
Nash knew what he wanted, but he also had a lot to learn on the way from a garage to where he is now. Nash realized every time he opened one door and figured out what was behind it, another door opened that took his business to the next level.
“One thing led to another,” he said. “First, it was home delivery and then mail order. Then, I opened retail. It has been a pretty wild ride.” He took it one step at a time, and his methodical approach has led to some pretty amazing results.
A focus on what’s really important.
It’s easy to get caught up in the daily overwhelm, especially when money starts rolling in. As Nash watched his store grow, he also learned how to focus on the important things. He’s always been an environmentalist, but in 2005 he made protecting and restoring the environment an integral component of his company’s purpose. He chose to focus on something extremely important to him and grow his brand around it.
“I was always a progressive environmentalist. It was the way I was raised,” he said. “So, it was no surprise that I was selling something very environmentally friendly … organic foods. We realized that we wanted to be a company that is socially responsible and socially activist. We built it right into our values and culture.”
Nash also focuses on his customers. He wants to ensure they keep coming back, so he puts systems in place to make certain each customer walks away with a fantastic shopping experience.
“I think most companies fear maintaining their values as they grow. It is lost when people just blow the doors out,” Nash said. He was determined that wouldn’t happen to MOM’s. “We ebb and flow. We put the pedal to the metal and do a lot of growth, but we make sure to pause often to make sure the wheels aren’t coming off.”
Nash remains very disciplined to this focus principle. It’s part of his deliberate and steady growth strategy, and he credits it with his success.
Some advice for the new entrepreneur.
Nash is self-assured now, but that wasn’t always the case. He struggled with doubt and confidence, just as most entrepreneurs do at some point in their careers. What does he wish he knew before starting his business?
“I got down on myself too much. I fought with insecurity,” Nash said. “For the first 20 years of being in business, I had an underlying feeling that other people knew more than me. I was hesitant to follow my inner voice. I should have. I now know that although I have many things to learn from other people, I know what I’m doing.”
If you’re an entrepreneur just starting out, don’t fall victim to the mentality that you have to be successful overnight. Growth can be a long (and sometimes painful) process, but as long as you focus on what’s important and stay true to yourself, you can find success. Stay the course to follow your vision, even when the going gets tough. You’re in this for the long game. After all, you know who won the fabled race between the tortoise and the hare.