How to Scale Your Business with 8-figure Business Owner Tyler Robertson
Do you know your company’s WHY? Running a business without a strong sense of purpose is like running on a treadmill. So if you want to get off the never-ending treadmill, you’ve got to find your WHY. Our today’s guest is the perfect example of a business owner with a clear vision.
Tyler Robertson is the CEO/Founder of Diesel Laptops, a company with a mission to provide the best diesel diagnostics products and services. The company continues to make the Inc 5000 list, ranking as high as #422 officially. On top of that, Diesel Laptops has been named by the SC Small Business as Exporter of the Year, Top 25 Fastest Growing Companies in South Carolina for 4 years in a row. Interestingly enough, it all started 7 years ago from Tyler’s garage and dining room table to now over $50 million/year in revenue with 200 employees. What’s even more impressive about Tyler’s business is that they did it all by bootstrapping it and without investors.
Tyler considers himself an accidental entrepreneur who had to learn his lessons the hard way and make some tough choices along the way. But, it was definitely all worth it.
In this episode of the Think Business with Tyler podcast, we talk about the importance of working on your business and not in your business, why business owners need to learn to take responsibility, why you always need to start with WHY in business, and how to overcome perfectionism as an entrepreneur.
If you want to hear about Tyler’s rocky journey to the top, tune into this episode to hear more.
💡 Name: Tyler Robertson
💡 What he does: He’s the Chief Executive Officer at Diesel Laptops.
💡 Noteworthy: Tyler bootstrapped from zero revenue and employees to over $50 million and 200 employees in 6 years.
💡 Key Quote: “I’m seven years in, we’re still growing 30 or 40% a year and we’re constantly looking for new online marketing techniques and tactics to keep generating traffic and generating revenue. And it’s like a flywheel that keeps going faster and faster and faster when you really focus on it.”
💡 Where to find Tyler: LinkedIn
Work on your business, not in your business. As an entrepreneur, you need to be prepared to go above and beyond for your business. It takes more than just execution to run a business; you’ve got to be strategic, creative, and smart about every move. In this episode, Tyler walks us through his entrepreneurial journey. He says the key to business growth is to constantly work on your business, not in your business. He explains,
“It’s really hard conversations to have when it’s someone who has been with you since day one and they’re not the right person now in the role they’re in. Those are hard conversations to have. You get to know these people beyond just the professional level at that point. So, it’s tough, but you have to constantly be working on your business, not in your business. And that’s the only way you can keep growing it. You can’t do it all yourself. You have to give up control on a lot of things. And it’s very tough for especially a founder/CEO to go do those things.”
Take responsibility for your business. Running your own business comes with a tremendous amount of challenges, obstacles, and difficulties. Entrepreneurship is as challenging as it is rewarding sometimes. But as a business owner, you need to be prepared to take full responsibility for your business. And if you want your employees to follow, you have to lead by example.
Tyler tells about one of the toughest moments in his career. “There’s always the what-ifs, but at the end of the day, you’re the one that everyone’s looking to, to make those decisions and how you act to things in what direction you’re pushing the company to go, whether it’s good or bad, it’s there. And I just want to be able to look employees straight in the face and say, ‘Look, if I haven’t told you these things, or you didn’t have an expectation, you should know these things, that that’s something different versus you just purposely didn’t do your job and you’re not executing like you should be.”
If you’re building a new product or starting a new business, always start with WHY. Not having a strong sense of your (business) purpose is one of the most common rookie mistakes you can make when launching a business. According to Tyler, if you start with WHY, you will have a much better chance of growing your business and achieving massive growth.
His company is the perfect example. “I never did this to get wealthy in the beginning. And that’s never been the WHY through the whole journey, has never been I want to create a huge amount of wealth for myself. To me, the revenue and the money and other things, that’s just a byproduct of what you’re doing with your business.”
Do your best and don’t let perfection be your enemy. As the saying goes, perfection is the enemy of progress. And we couldn’t agree more. As a business owner, you need to forget about perfection and strive for progress instead. According to Tyler, doing your best is good enough.
“Get your product out there, prove its concept. I did this part-time for years before I quit my job and was in a good position to do it. So it’s not a sprint. There’s no time clock against you. Just get it right. Take your time. You can get there. Just be patient and keep on it right. You need to see traction. If you’re not seeing traction, it means you do something wrong, but there is a way to make it work.”
“I had worked for that company for 10 years. I had a great paycheck. I had the benefits, the insurance, all those things, the 401k and it was really my wife that convinced me to roll the dice and let’s go see what can happen here. And I think I look back at that, the most impactful thing she said to me is, ‘Look, we’re financially stable. We have no debt, we’ve been smart. If it doesn’t work, you will find another job.’”
“I always took full responsibility. So whether it’s good or it’s bad, it’s my fault at the end of the day, either side of that coin.”
“Auditors are very good talking about controls. So they definitely gave us a playbook and said, ‘Man, here’s all the things that are blatantly obvious that you guys need to fix’. And you know what? We went through and we did all that and we fixed those things to make sure those things don’t happen. Payroll’s the same way now. We have a whole HR department and different levels and checking that goes on and rotations and all that stuff.”
“One of two things happens, I die or I retire. It’s inevitable, one of those two. I’m just gonna do it on my terms and figure out when’s the best time for me to exit this thing. I will not be around here forever and my kids are eight and ten. I’m not grooming my kids to take over this business. I really want them to figure out their place in the world. So, there’s got to be an exit strategy here somewhere. And that’s part of what we’re still trying to figure out over here at Diesel laptops and how we do that.”
“I’m seven years in, we’re still growing 30 or 40% a year and we’re constantly looking for new online marketing techniques and tactics to keep generating traffic and generating revenue. And it’s like a flywheel that keeps going faster and faster and faster when you really focus on it.”
[38:00] “I’ve learned a long time ago, you have all kinds of facets of your life. You have your professional life, you have your social life, you got health, some people have religion, you got your family life. I’ve never been able to balance all five. I’d said, ‘Hey, I’m gonna be really good at two of these and I’m gonna do my best possible over here.”
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step StoryBrand Guide for Any Business by Donald Miller