Ken Gavranovic, Growth Leader and Business Transformation Expert, Joins Startup Savant

Ken Gavranovic.

Ken Gavranovic has helped a slew of companies, from fast-growing startups to billion-dollar enterprises, recognize their highest growth potential with actionable growth strategies. To do so, he has drawn on 60 years of business and technology experience, including launching and working with many startups. He has also written a book called “Business Breakthrough 3.0” that aims to help companies foster employee engagement, improve their cultures, create effective mission statements, and otherwise achieve success. 

This is Ken’s story.

Experience With Startups

Although Ken has helped plenty of large corporations, his startup resume is equally impressive. 

“I [worked with] a bunch of startups, some first base, second base, but I became convinced that every business was gonna run their business on the internet,” he says. “So I started a company called Interland, which … went from zero to 200 million in three years. As CEO, I took it public. Everybody that worked, my executive team, when we went public was probably twice my age. So it was a great experience, and this was before the dot com crash. So I got to experience all the excitement up to and after the dot com crash.”

Ken also has driven transformation at large companies like Cox and startups like CourseDog and Relic. “Now I’m at a really exciting company that’s called Blameless [and is] funded by some of the biggest VCs on the West Coast,” he says. “[It’s] really changing the way enterprises build better software and more reliable software.”

Ken runs the go-to-market organization at Blameless. As he explains it, “When software breaks, people have to communicate what broke. They have to fix it. They have to then write up a report. They have to figure out how not to make that happen again. And then they have to make sure they actually fix that thing. That’s a very manual process in so many companies. And so blameless was built to do that in a way that’s blameless. Like, let’s fix these things, but not pointing fingers.”

The upshot is that Ken has extremely broad experience in a variety of corporate roles, from product to engineering. “I’ve [even] kind of been a CEO,” he says. “I’ve seen all different roles in scaling a business.”

‘Business Breakthrough 3.0’

Ken’s book, “Business Breakthrough 3.0,” is all about optimizing a company’s mission, vision, and values. Although those subjects may seem unremarkable, the book brings a unique perspective on them.

“Everybody knows you should have a mission, vision, and values,” he says. “What we really try to do in every part of the book is say how to do it. [There are] clear patterns that we see that make you a $50 million business or make you a $1 million business … So everything in the book is really designed so that you can open it to how-to [sections] with actionable stories.”

The book’s methodology is composed of five integrated parts:

Mission, Vision, And Core Values:  “Many companies have mission, vision, and value statements that are rarely mentioned — or that cause snickers when they are — because they are so different from what the company truly is,” Ken and his co-author Lee Atchison say in marketing copy. “To be effective, these statements must represent the true soul of the company. They can be partially aspirational as long as they express what the company actually values.” The book shows why these statements are so important and provide clear guidelines for creating effective ones.

Critical Thinking Frameworks: The book also plugs the power of the OKRs (objectives and key results) framework. “OKRs can help any organization enforce a systematic, disciplined process that makes sure employees are working together on the most important actions that will impact the organization,” they write. The authors provide in-depth instructions for developing OKRs, while also discussing what traps to avoid and how to get everyone in the organization onboard an OKR approach.

Measure What Matters:  The authors note that it’s nearly impossible to operate a successful business without tracking its performance. “The key is measuring what matters,” they say. “In this section of Business Breakthrough 3.0, leaders learn how to identify and analyze the right metrics, so they know exactly what’s working, what’s not, and what needs to be improved. This includes everything from revenue and cash flow to employee needs and customer demands.”

Choose the Right Business Structure:  Companies also must have the right organizational structure to succeed. “The structure not only affects operations, but also impacts how the organization learns and improves, how systems are defined and created, how products are made or software applications are built—even how fast they are built,” the authors say. The book provides an overview of different structures, discussing the pros and cons of each so that leaders can pinpoint the right one for their company.

Leverage a Market Growth Strategy for Sales Success:  Finally, sales and marketing are essential components of any profitable business, as trends and methods are constantly changing. The authors examine the top strategies – sales-led growth, marketing-led growth, and product-led growth – providing an in-depth look at each and revealing how to implement the best approach for your business, the marketing copy says.

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