Kent Billingsley founded The Revenue Growth Company, which he leads as president. He is also the author of the book “Entrepreneur to Millionaire: How to Build a Highly Profitable, Fast-Growth Company and Become Embarrassingly Rich Doing It,” due to come out February of 2021.
As president of The Revenue Growth Company, Kent Billingsley has “helped thousands of CEOs and business owners around the world double and triple their sales, profits, or revenues using their existing resources.” This success has turned him into America’s Revenue Growth Architect, having helped several businesses “generate several billion in new sales, as well as tens of billions in new revenue and profits for large corporations.”
For The Revenue Growth Company, Kent Billingsley has “personally designed, built, transformed, and turbocharged several thousand organizations in 36 countries.” Over the last two decades, Kent Billingsley and The Revenue Growth Company have created “proprietary content and trademarked programs,” which have “helped thousands of entrepreneurs and employees become millionaires and multimillionaires by ‘creating wealth’ inside their companies.”
Aside from The Revenue Growth Company, Kent Billingsley has also written a book that offers remedies for your business woes, which are “so densely packed with innovative ideas that it will require several reads to fully recognize bad management habits.” His expertise comes from having “counseled thousands of organizations of all sizes and types in 36 countries,” where he “found they have similar problems ‘due to 20th-century thinking.’”
The way to create wealth inside a company is to generate huge amounts of top line and spend very little in the way of money, time or resources getting. That gap is what creates wealth. Kent Billingsley, The Revenue Growth Company
Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Kent Billingsley: Our implementation model is superior as we provide all the templates and tools and then work with the leaders every week for years.
Our “revenue growth” — versus business growth — value proposition is so unique, compelling and proven. We have helped thousands of companies generate explosive sales, massive revenues, and extreme profits — using the resources they already have.
Where there are thousands of speakers, books and internets sites offering to help people growth their businesses if they spend money. Our work, is not only counterintuitive it shows how so many common business growth paradigms are not only flawed but will eat the cash and profits of your company. We show entrepreneurs, CEOs, and leaders of all size and type companies how to achieve no-cost highly profitable growth.
Other approaches to growth actually burn profits to make money, where we show how to “create wealth” inside a business. Over 99% of companies are struggling with cash issues — little cash on hand, inconsistent cash flow, and almost no working capital. They are not running a rich or creating a wealthy business. The way to create wealth inside a company is to generate huge amounts of top line and spend very little in the way of money, time or resources getting. That gap is what creates wealth. And money — a cash rich company get through any major issue — including pandemics.
Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Kent Billingsley: I think one of the most important things to do is create a personal reward system and tie it to goals or achievement. But be creative in what kinds or types of rewards. Some people need tangible things like cars or houses, where others need time off and sabbaticals. It’s important to work through what “recharges” you. For example, for many business events or trips where I am the keynoter or doing a multi-day workshop, sometimes I stay in the country or town and play a few rounds of golf with the clients or people I know.
Along with the reward system, its important to create the goals or achievement that makes sense too. For example, I have a book coming out and it has been years of work proving the roadmap in the book works in all types of companies. I”ve set some sales goals for the book that if I reach them, I can get a new luxury convertible sports car I’ve had my eye on. Also, my family loves cruises and if my firm hits some milestones or achievements that determines the type and upgrades for the vacation and cruise.
Having said all that I also recommend doing things no matter what you accomplish or achieve. For example, we camp (actually family tent glamp) up to twenty days a year. Sometimes we go for seven days at a time and that is really great to recharge.
Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Kent Billingsley: I’ve been so fortunate to have so many mentors and leaders push and challenge me to be better and grow that I wish I could name them all. One of my favorites is Edward Yang who was CEO of Asia Pacific Region for EDS/HP all through the 90’s. I worked for Ed as CSO (Chief Strategy Officer) and CMO (Chief Marketing Officer). Overall, with JV’s we had about 11,000 employees and operating in 16 countries and running about $1B in revenues.
When I first arrived and moved to in Hong Kong I brought with me all the “gung ho” western do it now, just do it, do it again, let’s do it faster, kind of in your face leadership style and approach. I had been through dozens of leadership programs and initiatives and so much focused on time and money.
Ed happened to listened to one of my calls with my country teams and I was excited to get his feedback with how hard I was going to drive things and pushing people to excel. But it was quite the opposite. Ed was Chinese (from Burma) but had an American mother. He truly is an “East meets West” kind of guy.
However, after the call, Ed pulled me aside with no one in the conference room or on the call. He, said Kent, you have really strong leadership to get things done but that is going to hold you back in Asia. Confused I asked, what do you mean and what do you recommend. Ed then added, you must learn how to listen — really listen first. Then after you listen you must make sure you learned what was really said. Then you will be ready to lead. He reiterated — Listen…learn…lead. I thought I was great a listening and learning, but maybe for the States but not the way it needed to be done in the Asian countries.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The title of this series is “How to take your company from good to great”. Let’s start with defining our terms. How would you define a “good” company, what does that look like? How would you define a “great” company, what does that look like?
Kent Billingsley: Good company — offers great products, services and provides a wonderful customer experience. It is a good company for employees, vendors and all stakeholders. The company is respected by the community and the clients love what they do and provide.
Great company — does everything that a good company does but excels at one thing — creates wealth inside the company and for the employees and stakeholders and future proof the business.
By creating wealth, a great company can do four things that good companies can’t:
- Give back to the community and charities huge amounts in the form of monies, time and resources
- Reinvest in research, plants and equipment
- Get through bad times and protect the company and employees from layoffs
- Share the rewards with employees, stakeholders and partners
It’s important to note that money by itself is not the measurement of the company, but what it’s leaders do with the money. During the Covid-19 pandemic tens of thousands of good companies have closed and will never open again. Delivering extreme value to clients, making the world better, and creating business wealth from doing it is the great separator.
It’s important to note that money by itself is not the measurement of the company, but what it’s leaders do with the money.
Jerome Knyszewski: What would you advise to a business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines”?
Kent Billingsley: I spend a lot of time with entrepreneurs, CEOs and leaders helping them become “unstuck”. The first most important thing to do is to understand real root cause for being stuck or stalled. Too many leaders don’t have extensive transformation or change experience and they end up trying to fix symptoms. In most case the cure is worse than the cause.
For example, almost all interventions or “fix it” solutions focus on the people or employees. There are billions (tens of billions worldwide) spent on training, motivation, inspiration, efficiency, teamwork, etc. However, being in the business transformation space for 25 years has proven that only 1% of the time will a “people fix” solve the root cause of flat or stalled performance and growth. In too many cases the company was not, or no longer, Revenue Ready, Market Ready, or Go to Market prepared. Meaning they had the wrong strategies, structures, models, processes, metrics, or reward systems. Which means you can fix, turn, burn or change employees all day long and only see minimal results. Or worse, do all those things and grind employees out so the good ones leave and the great ones never hire on.
Another major issue is most leaders are focused on business growth or incremental success. Or more from more. When they should be focused on “revenue growth” more from less. Growing (generating) more revenue from every asset (clients, contracts, sales pursuits, products, services and locations, etc.) is what creates optimized profitability. Or what I like to call “create business wealth”. In many cases a company doesn’t need to be any bigger and can triple to quadruple the profits being earned.
Jerome Knyszewski: Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?
Kent Billingsley: Yes and let me start where and why financial stability is such a struggle in good and bad times. Over 99% of all companies follow a mantra of “more from more”. Meaning to grow you have to take on more clients, contracts, products and services. This is called “adding”. And every time a company adds a good thing — they will also add a bad thing. When you take on more clients, contracts and offer more products and services, you add more overhead, more infrastructure, more employees, more management, and more costs, etc. Which means even if you get bigger you didn’t make all the money you could. This philosophy is further drive by “to make more you have to spend more”. And there is the problem you burn your money -eat profits — to grow.
This is the major reason that 99% of all businesses have cash struggles — little cash on hand, inconsistent cash flow, and almost no working capital. And they never create wealth inside their company.
And so leaders to make money they go to “more from less”. They cut costs, cut benefits, cut technology investments, and they cut to make money. This doesn’t scale, isn’t highly profitable, turns off employees and isn’t sustainable.
A better approach, especially during tough economies, is to learn the principles of “more from less”. Learn and implement ideas and methodologies that help a company crate more new client demand without spending a dollar doing it. Wake up the sleepy areas of a business that can convert prospect demand into cash, clients and contracts without lifting a finger.
I’m not talking about more technology, I’m taking about the areas of the business such as targeting, packaging, pricing, messaging, marketing, sales, partnering, etc. There are dozens of areas in every company that can be turned on, leveraged and drive cash generation for free.
Jerome Knyszewski: In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
Kent Billingsley: Inefficiencies and ineffectiveness of marketing and sales. Profit burning.
The broad answer and the theme of most of my answers is the ability to “create wealth” inside a business. Last century the business success model was to “trade” products and services for dollars and make a fair margin. Rinse and repeat as many times and as fast as you can. It was a purely transaction based model.
Two problems with the model is that margins are super thin because every industry is being commoditized. And second, the cost of client acquisition is more than ever. Which means that “trading” or transaction model produces no wealth.
A superior approach is to follow a methodology and have every part of the company and every function be in line to generate “more from less”. For example, how can marketing spend less money generating higher quality leads. How can sales convert larger and higher margin contracts 2–3 times faster? How can operations make fewer deliveries or production with less costs? How can support manage fewer clients to minimize costly hours?
For example, 67% of marketing and sales efforts are a complete waste of time, money and resources. Those two functions are profit shredders. One new salesperson add eight more categories of costs. What if one salesperson could produce the equivalent of ten salespeople? Training and development will never achieve that scale of production. But that is just one example in how you “create wealth” — more top line and bigger bottom line — which is the one aspect of running a company that is a “game changer”.
Jerome Knyszewski: What are your thoughts about how a company should be engaged on Social Media? For example, the advisory firm EisnerAmper conducted 6 yearly surveys of United States corporate boards, and directors reported that one of their most pressing concerns was reputational risk as a result of social media. Do you share this concern? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this.
Kent Billingsley: First of all there really isn’t a choice to be engaged on social media or not. Brands are fighting it out on social media and everyone must play or be left behind.
At one time in my career I was a Chief Marketing Officer of a billion-dollar technology services firm. I had to go through practice and even some certifications for media interviewing, public relations disasters and contingency planning. In addition, because I managed teams in 16 different countries I had to have protocols and procedures in place for any kind of situation — good or bad.
Either those skills must be in house or a company must have access to professionals that manage brand and image recovery. It is critical to go through scenario planning and put in place plans and protocols for how to handle different social media situations.
One last point, I believe it is important to welcome social media engagement and what comes with it. For example, on YouTube channels I own we want to engage with every comment, question or concern that we can as it drives the algorithms. Yet we still block, report, and work manage the idiots that are part and come with every platform. In addition, social media is an area that can provide tremendous feedback loops and identify blind spots that you won’t hear from customers or clients.
My mission is to dramatically expand on the work my company has done. Kent Billingsley, The Revenue Growth Company
Jerome Knyszewski: What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Kent Billingsley: They are on the wrong path. They are so focused on starting, building and growing their business that they never learn how to “create wealth” with their business. What that means is they are so focused on burning time, money and resources to get bigger but they either at some time discover they’re business is not bigger or better.
Creating wealth with a business means you have to start out on a different path. For example the classic evolution of a business is start, grow, mature and decline. And everyone tries to stay in growth mode as long as they can. Instead a set of phases to create embarrassing wealth inside the company and all the stakeholder are these four phases 1) Revenue ready, 2) Market Ready, 3) Go to Market and 4) Own the market.
Each phase is about creating great demand for the offerings while spending the least amount of resources doing it. It’s the difference between incremental success and optimized
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Kent Billingsley: My mission is to dramatically expand on the work my company has done. We have helped over a thousand entrepreneurs and employees become millionaires and multi-millionaires with their businesses. That has created thousands of jobs, brought hundreds of new products and services to markets and has created tremendous wealth that has been shared with communities and causes all over the world.
I personally want to help a
“million entrepreneurs become millionaires”
by helping them learn how to do a lot more than start, build, and grow a business — but learn how to create wealth inside a business to create a fortune for the employees and stakeholders. For the first time in twenty years I’m sharing the formula for creating business wealth in my book Entrepreneur to Millionaire — How To Build A Highly Profitable Fast Growth Company and Become Embarrassingly Rich Doing It. Mark Cuban has helped me by writing the forward and saying, “This is a must-read book.”.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Kent Billingsley: You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow me on social media:
Twitter — here
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!