Gini Dietrich

Scale-Up Entrepreneur: Do You Have What it Takes?

By: Gini Dietrich | June 4, 2013 | 
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Scale-Up Entrepreneur: Do You Have What it Takes?I fell into running my own business quite accidentally. I was never one of those people who thought, “I have to have my own thing someday.”

Of course, if you know me, it makes sense. I’m a double type A personality who is very competitive (I can hear my team laughing out loud at that right now) and always strives for the best.

But I’m also an introvert and it’s extremely difficult to do some parts of my job because of it.

As an entrepreneur, it can be a handicap and, while I work really hard on my weaknesses, it can be exhausting and some days I truly do want to throw in the towel.

My Own Venture

I remember the very moment the idea of running my own business was put into my head.

Clients had been to visit us and I was waiting outside the building with them for their car service to arrive. The chief marketing officer at the time turned to me and said, “Have you ever thought about going out on your own?”

I scoffed at him and said I was perfectly happy. I was treated really well, I was paid really well, my benefits were great…why would I disturb that apple cart?

But his comment kept ruminating in my head and, when circumstances changed, I decided to take the plunge. Of course, I didn’t take the full plunge – that was too risky. I freelanced because I was afraid of committing to it wholly. Even after we had office space and a few employees, if the right job had come along, I probably would have taken it.

It wasn’t until after the economy tanked and we nearly went out of business that I decided this business was here to stay (or had the confidence to make it so). And now I’m focused on something entirely different: Scaling the organization so we can provide the resources my cracker jack team needs to succeed.

Are You a Scale-Up Entrepreneur?

That’s why I was really interested in the “scale-up” test from Daniel Isenberg, the author of the forthcoming “Worthless, Impossible and Stupid.”

Following is his test to help you figure out whether you are cut out to be a scale-up entrepreneur. Answer each question with an agree or disagree.

  1. Something inside compels me to make something that will affect the marketplace.
  2. I am great at selling things to people that they may not know they want, nor think they have the money to buy.
  3. I have people on my team who are better than me in several areas of knowledge or practice.
  4. My venture already has the procedures, policies, and processes in place to be ten times the size we are today.
  5. When I don’t know what my next step is, I have experienced people I can turn to for ideas.
  6. There is money out there to fuel a venture that is growing fast; I just have to find it when I am ready.
  7. When I achieve my objectives I keep raising the bar higher and higher.
  8. I am one of the best sales people I know.
  9. Think big; thinking small is a crime.
  10. I know entrepreneurs just like me who have grown big, fast.
  11. The sales process is just starting when the customer first says no.
  12. If my venture stands in one place too long, it runs the risk of perishing. We have to keep moving forward.
  13. I know how to find great people to hire.
  14. Nothing gives me a bigger rush than closing a big sale.
  15. It is more important to know of a big problem that customers have and then look for a solution, than it is to have a solution that is looking for important problems to solve.
  16. I used to think our great technology would take us to leadership in our market — now I realize it is our team, our organization, our marketing and our ambition to sell.
  17. Even though I am a startup, I think more like a market leader than a small business.

I got a 12 out of 17. How’d you do?

Thanks to Escape from Cubicle Nation for the image.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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