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How to build a high-growth company

By January 28, 2015 One Comment

NEW YORK — High-growth companies may seem like anomalies born of luck, but the reality is that they follow distinct practices that any business can put into place.

That’s according to Joanna Lord, vice president of marketing at 2-year-old real estate startup Porch and a keynote speaker today at Real Estate Connect. Porch just raised $65 million it plans to use toward further growth, including a national rollout of “Porch Booking,” a service that lets users of the Porch mobile app hire home improvement professionals at prenegotiated prices.

In the past 16 months, Porch users have uploaded over 130 million projects, and over 3 million professionals and over 700,00 homeowners have joined the site, Lord said.

In order to build growth fast, companies should focus on four factors, she said:

1. Create a rally point. Most companies call this “culture,” or a “mission statement.” A lot of companies associated with growth have mission statements, she said — think Facebook’s “give people the power to share” mission. Porch’s mission is to help people love their homes.

This means that the company’s operations have a clear focal point — sales staff are not expected to get off the phone quickly, and Lord herself can point to the mission statement when she tells her colleagues that she won’t share news about a product unless it’s good enough, she said.

2. Invest in and leverage proprietary data. This is the idea that there is something only your company can do. When companies find that and invest time and resources in that thing, they are unstoppable, Lord said.

3. Operationalize at every turn. It is a huge disadvantage to not have software doing the things professionals do manually all the time — infrastructure matters, Lord said.

Companies should also invest in comprehensive analytics early, she said, because companies move faster when they’re more sure of the direction they’re taking.

And individual professionals should rethink the things they do all the time, she added. Everyone should ask themselves, “What else can I be doing with that time?” and if your competitors are doing it, what can you be doing differently?

4. Participate fully in the ecosystem. “The more you serve the ecosystem, the more you get out of it,” Lord said. Porch, for instance, has teams building content for homeowners and agents. People remember those who give them good advice, according to Lord.

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