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A “Make Or Break” Growth Lesson Most Entrepreneurs Ignore
Entrepreneurs are all about growth. You’d think, then, that rapid growth would be a path paved in gold, the ultimate reward, the dream come true. And, yes, it can be all those things.
But if the entrepreneur doesn’t understand how to manage rapid business growth, and the right checks and systems aren’t put into place, it can all disappear, just as rapidly as it grew—sometimes even faster.
This entrepreneur’s business: safeguarding success.
Adrienne Duffy, owner of Big Futures Inc., was trained in the fine arts and had an early career as an orchestral musician in Chicago, as well as owning a thriving business teaching music.
But during that time, she realized that what really drove her, above and beyond her love of music, was helping people transform their current reality into a bigger future.
Recognizing that this was her ultimate passion and purpose was a turning point for Adrienne. Though she loved music, she had found over time that the music arena was limiting her ability to make a greater impact in creating transformational change for others.
Being Adrienne, she embarked on a mission to get all the training that would allow her to work organizationally and move into the work that she does today.
Adrienne believes that growing up in an entrepreneurial family naturally led her to entrepreneurship, working with business owners in both her own business and in her role as a long-standing and well-loved associate coach to entrepreneurs in The Strategic Coach Program.
Business owners and moonshot goals.
Over 20 years ago, Adrienne and her husband Patrick founded Big Futures Inc. and developed and pioneered a program within Big Futures called The Moon Project.
Through this program, they work with the leaders of privately-owned organizations to reach even their loftiest, most ambitious goals, both for their organizations and personally as leaders.
Today “moonshot thinking,” the kind of thinking that is so innovative that it can disrupt whole industries, is common terminology in business. The organizations Adrienne works with have the ultimate benefit in their own markets of being ahead of the curve of transformational, sky-high thinking.
Adrienne is in her element. As she says, “Essentially, the name of my company is linked to my passion and what my deepest soul loves to do.”
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Transformational growth is exciting and fun, but …
For Big Futures, the learning they’ve experienced in taking scores of top-tier organizations to the moon and onward has meant a total rebranding.
To incorporate one of the biggest discoveries of working with rapidly growing organizations, Adrienne and Patrick have rebranded under the umbrella of Big Futures Inc., with The Nexus Project as the focus of the value they create for their clients.
Adrienne explains, “The Nexus Project is a result of learning through our work with organizations focused on huge goals that entrepreneurs must know how to manage transformational growth. It’s crucial to build an integrated foundation both inside and outside the company to handle the volatility and change that rapid scaling inevitably creates for the business.”
Adrienne says she’s witnessed the downfall of many organizations who, despite their growth, success, and even fame, faltered and fell without this integrated foundation. It must go hand in hand with transformational growth, she cautions, or the company is doomed to failure.
Being a pioneer in helping organizations with their moonshots and an ambitious entrepreneur herself, she understands how easy it can be to get swept up. She says, “As entrepreneurs, we get really intoxicated by the potential and the excitement of major growth, but in order to not lose that, it’s important to recognize that point of integrity and stabilize as disruption is happening.”
She’s adamant when she says, “It’s really incumbent upon us as entrepreneurs to lead on both sides: one side being the inner growth of the company, the team, and the culture; the other side being the moonshot growth outside the company.
“You have to have a point of integrity between inner and outer, which is central to our business and our work with our moonshot clients.”
Inspired by helping others realize their big futures.
Early on as a young musician and entrepreneur, Adrienne realized that it was the transformational side of her roles that truly inspired her—helping people to change their lives to have the bigger future they envisioned. To this day, this is what drives and fulfills her.
“When I think of my 10x goals, they’re all around having that impact on others’ lives,” Adrienne says. “Wherever it is in my life, whether it’s being a mom and helping my daughter, the community work that I do, coaching Strategic Coach clients, or working with my clients in my business, I get to do that.
“I live a charmed life, by the way, because there is no separation. I get to do what inspires me the most almost every single day.
“That’s by design, and I attribute it to Strategic Coach, who’s given me all the tools and resources to be able to live that charmed life.”
Teacher and student.
Adrienne has a vivid memory of meeting Dan Sullivan very early on in her career and deciding that she had to do The Strategic Coach Program. “The impact Strategic Coach has had on me is so huge, it’s hard to even know who I would be without it,’” she says.
As for Dan, he remembers meeting Adrienne as a young entrepreneur and has been her coach since then. His praise is high: “Adrienne is a great hero in the Strategic Coach community. Seeing her every quarter at her workshops over the years is one of my greatest pleasures and one of my greatest rewards.”
Adrienne believes that the more successful you become, the more important it is to have a community of other highly successful entrepreneurs to connect with. She’s also experienced the benefits of having people outside of her industry in the workshop room. “We need that to keep our own thinking fresh. Many of the ideas I’ve gotten over the years have come from entrepreneurs who were well outside the realm of my industry.”
With almost 30 years of having a coach and also being a coach for over 25 of those, Adrienne is clear:
“One of the people you connect with in your workshop will give you the breakthrough you needed that day. One of them will give you the information that will help take you to your next level of success.
“But, you will need to be in that room to hear it.”
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