In the early days of CCAW I knew what I wanted to build, but I didn’t know how to get there. I was determined to figure it out, and I thirsted for helpful knowledge. I read all the articles and books I could get my hands on and attended all the learning events I could. Eventually I found the right books and events, the ones that provided targeted knowledge about building a company. Accounting . . . finance . . . sales . . . marketing . . . strategy—all those great things.
I found the knowledge I was looking for. I felt like gaps were being filled and dots were connecting. I became excited, but I was still unsure. I understood fundamental topics better; the nuances in my market, not so much. I didn’t know how to apply my new knowledge in a way that moved CCAW forward. It was daunting. I wasn’t the only one feeling that way. I spoke with other entrepreneurs at a similar stage and they did too.
Eventually, with mentoring by credible people, I figured application out. Entrepreneurs who’d successfully scaled their companies shared their experiences with me. In the end it all worked out. My team and I were able to scale CCAW to over $10 million in annual revenue. As I reflected on this, I realized how important application of knowledge was to CCAW’s early success. Knowing about and understanding key concepts is essential, but if you don’t apply them effectively, your company goes nowhere.
I’m always mulling over how we can provide more opportunities to Atlanta entrepreneurs to increase their chances of success. Application is an area where we can do better, I think. Much better. Our community has done a great job making information more readily available to entrepreneurs. However, we’re not focusing enough on helping entrepreneurs apply their knowledge to their situation. Entrepreneurs still have to make their own decisions and walk the journey. No one can do it for them. But if we accelerate that process, they’ll be more likely to get to the finish line.