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Building A Success Stack

As an entrepreneur with a passion for creating and building companies, I have always found joy in the art and challenge of entrepreneurship. Over my career, I have built many companies, and seven of them have been in business for over 20 years. Initially, my excitement was in creating a company, building it to success, and then selling it to move on to the next project. It wasn’t about the money; it was about the pure enjoyment of building something from the ground up.


One of my early ventures was a Bobcat dealership, which turned out to be tremendously successful. Another was a window cleaning company that has been around for 35 years. These companies, along with others, have collectively generated almost a billion dollars in sales. Reflecting on this journey, I realized that if we had held on to these companies, not only would we have continued to enjoy the cash flow, but we would also have had the financial stability to create even more companies.


This insight led to the creation of what I now call the "Success Stack." The Success Stack is a strategic approach to entrepreneurship, where you build a portfolio of companies at different stages of growth and maturity, each supporting the creation and development of the next. Here’s how it works:


The Three Levels of the Success Stack


1. Mature Companies: These are established companies that are consistently generating cash flow. Not every company is built to be a home run, but some can do exceptionally well, grossing between $1 million and $2 million and cash flowing $300,000 to $400,000 annually. These companies are typically operated by trusted managers, allowing you to focus on other ventures.


2. Growth Companies: These are companies that have found product-market fit and are in the phase of scaling up. You have invested time and resources to grow these businesses, and they are on the path to becoming mature companies. Growth companies require strategic investment and careful management to reach their full potential.


3. Incubator Mode Companies: These are ideas and early-stage ventures that are still in the exploratory phase. You may create a website, test the market, and let the idea percolate. The goal is to allow the market to shape the direction of these companies, providing insights and opportunities for growth. As these incubator companies develop, they move into the growth stage.


The Process of Building the Success Stack


The journey begins with a single company that you build and ensure it generates enough cash flow to support you. Once this company is stable, you use the cash flow to start another company. By continuously nurturing and growing your portfolio, you create a stack of successful companies at various stages of development.


Key Ingredients for Success


1. Develop Great People: Nothing is possible without a team of great people. We have been fortunate to have team members who have worked with us for 20-25 years. Investing in people and building a loyal, skilled team is crucial for the long-term success of your companies.


2. Strategic Management: Each stage of the Success Stack requires a different management approach. Mature companies need steady management to maintain cash flow, growth companies need strategic investment, and incubator mode companies need innovative thinking and market testing.


3. Continuous Innovation: Always keep an eye out for new opportunities and be willing to innovate. The market is constantly evolving, and staying ahead of the curve is essential.


Conclusion


The Success Stack is a powerful strategy for entrepreneurs who love the process of building and growing companies. It allows you to enjoy the art of entrepreneurship while creating a legacy of successful businesses. By focusing on cash flow, strategic growth, and continuous innovation, you can build a portfolio of companies that support each other and provide the financial stability to keep creating new ventures.


If you’re an entrepreneur looking to build and create tremendous success along the way, consider implementing the Success Stack in your journey. It’s a great way to enjoy the process and achieve long-term success.



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