Scaling a startup company into an established, profitable business is arguably one of the most difficult professional undertakings a person can attempt. Not only do entrepreneurs put themselves in a financially compromising position, they jeopardize the careers they’ve built for themselves in an effort to bring their unique vision to life.
What’s more, they willingly take on these risks without a guarantee or even a foolproof plan. Despite the wealth of information and advice now at entrepreneurs’ disposal—a simple Google search will surface countless instructional articles, courses, and videos designed to streamline starting a business—there’s no golden formula or how-to guide to ensure entrepreneurial success.
All of these inherent risks make a successful independent business, and the entrepreneur behind it, that much more awe-inspiring. At Endeavor, we understand the value of entrepreneurship and the positive effect it can have on local and national economies. Our entire model is built around supporting entrepreneurs and helping business owners drive innovation, seek and become role models, maximize wealth, and spur job creation.
With that, we decided to tap our own coterie of local entrepreneurs for their best scale-up advice. Below, read up on what four Endeavor Louisville entrepreneurs regard as their best piece of growth advice for startups looking to scale to profitability.
Joey Rivera, President and CEO of the Rivera Group
Joey Rivera started his award-winning, nationally-recognized IT services company, Rivera Group, back in 2002. Specializing in cybersecurity, cyberspace operations, information risk management, software engineering, intelligence operations, and IT management, Rivera Group works with high-profile, high-security clients like the U.S. Army, the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Department of Defense, and more. Rivera was selected as an Endeavor Louisville Entrepreneur in 2015.
Rivera’s #1 piece of scale-up advice: “Pick your mentor very carefully. Choose a mentor who has been successful in a very similar business. Ask them to be exceptionally tough on your business model while you listen very carefully.”
Andy Eastes, Co-Founder and CEO of SkuVault
Tasked with finding a warehouse management solution for a Louisville-based company back in 2011, Andy Eastes and Slav Ivanyuk decided to create one themselves instead. SkuVault is now an award-winning warehouse and inventory management software company that’s brought hundreds of e-commerce companies to life. Eastes was selected as an Endeavor Louisville Entrepreneur in 2016.
Eastes’ #1 piece of scale-up advice: “It’s all about the team. Surrounding yourself with team members that employ the founder’s mentality mindset is crucial. Teammates with this mindset will not rest until problems are solved and naturally oppose adding complexity, which is inevitable with growth. Keeping complexity down allows team members to succeed with new ideas and initiatives. Complexity is the silent killer of growth.”
Sean O’Leary, CEO and Co-Founder of EdjAnalytics
Back in 2013, O’Leary partnered with Indiana University astrophysicist Chuck Bower and world backgammon champion Frank Frigo to create EdjAnalytics—a data analytics program that uses data science, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and more to help businesses drive decision making. EdjAnalytics now counts PNC, the FDA, the NFL, and the NCAA as clients, and has been featured in the New York Times, Gannett, NFL Network, and more. O’Leary was selected as an Endeavor Louisville Entrepreneur in 2016.
O’Leary’s #1 piece of scale-up advice: “Focus intently on the plan and continuously get things done that matter.”
Mark Franco, President and CEO of MXD Process
MXD Process is the first liquid mixer and tank manufacturing company to enter the liquid processing equipment industry in almost 20 years. Franco has positioned his company as an ultra-modern one-stop shop for high-tech production systems designed for industries of all sizes. MXD Process counts GM, Coca Cola, Unilever, Clorox, Shell, and more as clients. Franco was selected as an Endeavor Louisville Entrepreneur in 2018 at the 78th annual ISP in Manilla, Philippines.
Franco’s #1 piece of scale-up advice: “During a startup, there are many depressing and exhilarating moments, and it’s tempting to believe you’re heading for the grave on a down cycle and world supremacy on an up cycle. During the launch of MXD Process, my partner and I kept clarity and sanity by repeating (frequently out loud), ‘Nothing is as good as it seems, and nothing is as bad as it seems.’ I found that simple reminder very helpful to calm the mind and just get back to work.”
If you’re a high-impact entrepreneur and want to learn more about the Endeavor network, reach out to us via our application page. We’d love to hear from you!