This week’s interviewee is Richard Wilde, Founder and MD of Milexa a design and manufacturing business specialising in wall and floor coverings. Milexa brands include Atrafloor and MuralsWallpaper.
1. Biggest mistake you made in the last year & how you fixed it?
Last year we were pushing hard on growth and had invested additional resource aimed at increasing sales. At the time, some of the work we had planned was new and untested, so I actively took the decision to hold-off scaling the operational side of the business. This was because I wasn’t 100% certain that our plans would pay off. But then they did. We got a 30% increase in sales within 2 months, tipping the balance in the business as we got hit by the wave of the increased demand. We had to quickly shift focus to scaling our operations and hiring and training new team members. Whilst at the same time managing the demand and keeping standards high. The period was pretty stressful and it felt like we was at breaking point for a few weeks, but we just about managed to hold it together and get back on track.
The big lesson of this was to be confident your plans will come to fruition and think bigger from the outset by gearing up in advance of growth. If we had done this we could have served the demand more smoothly and kept pushing hard on the growth.
2. A lightbulb moment
Do things that don’t scale. At first, this sounds like crazy advice, but after reading Paul Graham’s essay and listening to Brian Chesky’s take on it, the penny dropped. Over the years, we have turned down many good ideas because we felt they weren’t scalable enough. The whole concept of doing things that don’t scale flips that on its head, encouraging you to try things, test, adjust and then find a way to make them scalable once they are working perfectly. Since employing this, we have become much more innovative and customer focused, doings things we wouldn’t previously have considered practical or feasible.
3. Tip for tomorrow
Pin down the metrics that act as the big growth levers in your business. Then get awesome at whatever activity moves these numbers along. Simplifying and focusing on a just few key things can lead to transformational growth.
Want to share your advice?
NWB confessional style interviews are posted every Monday from people in the business community. They are not self-promoting, or carefully selected quotes to make you sound good. They are full of useful, actionable insights from experience, not egos or bravado. If you like NWB’s style and have something useful to say, we’d love to interview you. Tweet @nowankybollocks or email katie [at] subjectconsulting.com.