4. Don’t forget where you make your money

So you think it’s time to grow your company? It’s only natural that you add more support staff and offices. Maybe it’s even time to think about dabbling in auxiliary businesses. After all, that’s how you grow, right?

Not so for Stephen Shapiro, founder and chairman of Westside Estate Agency Inc., who says the above formula leads your organization down the path to bloat. Rather, WEA has one focus: high-end real estate sales. Everything else is just unnecessary overhead.

“We specifically targeted a market, understanding our goal was not to grow and open multiple offices … but deal in one specific market, which is a high-end,” he says. “We realize that we’re not going to have offices with hundreds of people; we’d rather have offices that specialize in the market we wanted to capture.”

Shapiro says he understands there is money to be made by dabbling with escrow and other ancillary businesses, but once you start mixing businesses, you comprise your core success. And with $1 billion in annual sales, he may just have a point.

Shapiro’s goal is to keep his company’s focus tight. He’s proven you can have higher returns with experts making you No. 1 in one field than by having thousands of employees muddling through several businesses.

“If you’re selling somebody a house for $20 million, that’s where you make your money,” he says. “… When you’re transacting numbers like we do, that’s your primary focus, not your secondary focus.”