Grasshopper: How Focus, Discipline and Execution Lead to Profitable Exit
“CEO Coaching International is a big reason that Citrix buying Grasshopper was even a remote possibility. Thanks to your ability to challenge us to think differently, to hold us accountable and to make connections to the right people at the right time.”
-Don Schiavone, COO, Grasshopper
Grasshopper, “The Entrepreneur’s Phone System,” enables small businesses to run their company from their cell phone. With more than 150,000 customers served, Grasshopper is the #1 choice for entrepreneurs seeking to sound more professional and stay connected with their customers.
As clever marketers, the company’s commercials on satellite radio have become ubiquitous and infectious.
In 2010, Grasshopper hired CEO Coaching International for business coaching. Over the next five years, Grasshopper continued to grow rapidly as revenue doubled and profits rose by a factor of 10. The company’s rapid growth attracted outside interest and in April 2015, Grasshopper was acquired by Fortune 500 company Citrix Systems.
Read the full case study to learn about the strategies, tactics and discipline Grasshopper implemented that ultimately led to a profitable sale of the company.
Here are 6 strategies that led to Grasshopper’s rapid growth and how you can apply these strategies in your business, too.
- Actively nurture a high-growth culture. To refine the culture, the leadership asked employees, “What do you think our culture is?” Next, the leaders asked employees to, “Give us a story that demonstrates someone in the company living that culture.” From there, they developed four cultural values that correlated to a high-growth successful company.
- Get the right people on the bus. And not only that, Don said, “Having the right team at the right time of each stage of growth is critical.” For example, the person leading the initial high-growth phase of the company may not be the person to lead the mature growth phase.
- Give the team a purpose then get out of the way. Don said, “The purpose isn’t let’s make money, let’s go public.” Rather, “It’s got to be something that’s much more tangible, something that can really empower your team to get behind and do great things.”
- Create incentives that align with the company’s purpose and reinforce its culture. For example, Grasshopper is “policy light.” They see that as an incentive for employees because it allows them to work differently, think differently, and be treated as smart adults who don’t need detailed company policies to follow.
- Relentlessly measure and test everything. As Mark Moses says, “If you can’t define it, you can’t measure it. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Don and his team are constantly “firing bullets” to see what works before moving full-steam ahead.
- Hire a business coach who’s been there, done that. Don said, “To have someone that learns your business but has an outside perspective that you can bounce ideas off of, can challenge your thinking before you go and act, is invaluable.”
About CEO Coaching International
CEO Coaching International works with CEOs and their leadership teams to achieve extraordinary results quarter after quarter, year after year. Known globally for its success in coaching growth-focused entrepreneurs to meaningful exits, CEO Coaching International has coached more than 1,000 CEOs and entrepreneurs in more than 60 countries and 45 industries. The coaches at CEO Coaching International are former CEOs, presidents, or executives who have made BIG happen. The firm’s coaches have led double-digit sales and profit growth in businesses ranging in size from startups to over $10 billion, and many are founders that have led their companies through successful eight, nine, and ten-figure exits. Companies working with CEO Coaching International for two years or more have experienced an average EBITDA CAGR of 67.8% during their time as a client, nearly four times the U.S. average and a revenue CAGR of 25.5%, more than twice the U.S. average.