Small business

Trust the Process?

During the past week or so at work, I've extended beyond my comfort zone. Long term that's a good thing. But short term, it takes some getting used to. In some ways, I feel like Marcus Lemonis is whispering (or yelling) in my ear, "Trust the Process."

When Amy Katz and I co-launched ChannelE2E and its parent company, After Nines Inc., we were mostly in a lifestyle business mindset. Amy builds and executes the business strategy and all the associated components (sales, marketing, finance, etc.) while I build the media site. Pretty straightforward. The result: ChannelE2E has enjoyed double-digit growth every quarter since launch. If you ask us the right questions, we might even tell you ChannelE2E is now the most widely read IT media site we've ever built. But you didn't ask so mum's the word for now.

Scaling Faster

A few months ago we realized it was time to do more. Much more. Our overarching goal: Scale our audience database even faster than the double-digit growth rates we currently enjoy. But how?

The short answer involved taking a hard look in the mirror, figuring out our needs, pinpointing the associated skills gaps, and then tracking down the right talent to help us. The result: After Nines Inc. has quietly built relationships with content, SEO, marketing and database development professionals in the United States, Mexico and the Middle East. I won't claim that we've got a follow-the-sun strategy in place. But things are starting to heat up around here.

Heat, of course, can also cause a bit of discomfort. Consider my situation: I'm a platform control freak. From our content to the underlying code, I'm pretty much a self-taught maniac. Other than Amy, me and our site developers, our code and our SEO techniques are largely locked away from prying eyes.

Until now.

Open Wide

We recently hired a third-party firm to audit our efforts. The result should be some great advice and direction to further accelerate our site growth. Still, the audit required us to pull back the curtain on our content management system, analytics, social connections and all associated accounts. The control freak in me felt like I was visiting a proctologist and a dentist in the same day. Relax and open wide.

But the practical side of me realizes we've hired pros who know more than me about platform development and expansion. And those pros, by the way, are people we've known and trusted for quite a few years. So my "fear" of surrendering control is pretty darn foolish.

Where will this journey take After Nines and ChannelE2E? I suspect the casual reader who already visits us daily won't notice many differences. But the underlying goal is to scale ChannelE2E for years to come. And we'll do exactly that.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Amid this journey, I'm reminded of the line from The Profit's Marcus Lemonis: "Trust the Process."

Entrepreneurs are a difficult bunch. We try to disrupt the world -- or at least a few businesses in our own back yard. But we kick and scream when anyone tries to change our ways. Especially if somebody meddles with Marcus's three P's of business success -- people, process and product.

I wonder: When's the last time you got out of your comfort zone? Instead of always trying to be the smartest person in the room, when did you invite someone even smarter into the room? Take the journey. Trust the process.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.