Starting a business is often both challenging and exciting. But, while most entrepreneurs know their own products well, understand customers’ needs, and want to do good in the world, too few succeed. So why do some companies grow by leaps and bounds while others struggle to stay in business?

Last week in Fremont, business coach Bill Gallagher shared a simple set of tools and practices for smarter business growth at a city-sponsored workshop for small businesses.

The Scaling Up model from Bill’s workshop originated with “The Rockefeller Habits” and teaches how to master the Four Decisions of growth. Leaders learn how to build a company culture that sustains vision and passion, and promotes profitable expansion.

The Rockefeller Habits and the Four Decisions are practices that successful businesses use to grow. These habits include things like: executive team alignment, priority alignment for the team, consistent communication, clear accountability, regular employee input, customer feedback, a culture rooted in core values and purpose, balanced performance metrics, and last but not least, transparency on the company’s plan and performance. When businesses follow these habits, they tend to succeed.

The Four Decisions that drive and scale growth include:

  1. People – Are all the employees happy and engaged? Would you rehire them all if you were starting over right now?
  2. Strategy – Is the plan simple enough that all employees know it? Is it working to drive growth?
  3. Execution – Are all processes running without drama? Are they also producing industry-leading profitability?
  4. Cash – Is there enough money within the business to fuel growth, without having to go to banks and investors?

Growing a business ultimately comes down to leadership that scales; leaders that build trust, have compassion, create stability, and give hope. These kinds of leaders have employees that will follow, and companies that scale.

The Scaling Up model and Rockefeller Habits are tools and practices that leaders in any type of business can use to succeed. To learn more about these tools and practices visit Scaling Up Business and or listen to the podcast on iTunes.