What does it take to grow your business from six to seven figures? You need to stop thinking like a bootstrapping entrepreneur and more like a CEO. It's time to treat your company like a grown-up business.

Here are 13 lessons to help you do that.

Lesson #1: Know what you want and why you want it.

While money is important and serves as a benchmark for progress, it's not the main motivation for growth. Usually, your values and the mission you want to accomplish drive your growth. Get clear on what those are.

Lesson #2: Success is hard, messy, and full of contradictions.

When you're going from six to seven figures, strategies and plans are more plausible than right. They're hypotheses to be tested. You'll probably fail at least once before you succeed. Enjoy the challenge!

Lesson #3: Start where you are, and ship!

The more your business grows, the more inertia and machinery can get in the way of fast action. But to grow fast, you also have to ship - fast! Always look for what you can ship as quickly as possible.

Lesson #4: Find the last thing that worked and do it better.

Some things work and others don't. If something was a resounding success, then do more of it. Scale it up. If something failed, decide whether it's worth further improving on or if you should drop it.

Lesson #5: Answers are easy, but finding the right question is hard.

You can easily find answers... if you've asked the right questions. Ask questions that keep you aligned with your values and open to potential and possibilities.

Lesson #6: Be decisive and lean in.

The bigger your business, the bigger the decisions and risks. Accept that you could be wrong and will never have 100% certainty. Don't take too long gathering all the information you need. Decide, act, and move on.

Lesson #7: Be intentional with time and focus.

Guard your time and focus as if they were the most valuable treasures on earth. They are! Ruthlessly eliminate activities and commitments that don't serve your goals. Repeat every 90 days.

Lesson #8: Stories matter.

Human beings interpret reality through narrative. This impacts how you market to prospects, communicate with your customers, engage your teams, and manage your own internal narrative. Beware the internal narrative where you're cast as the victim.

Lesson #9: Surround yourself with the right people.

If Jim Rohn is right and your income is the average of the five people you spend the most time with, then you better choose those people wisely. Never be the smartest person in the room.

Lesson #10. Invest for where you want to be.

Steve Jobs said, "great things in business are never done by one person, they're done by a team of people." You may have to invest money you don't have yet to recruit the best people. Discern if this is a risk worth taking and whether you can make it pay off.

Lesson #11: Culture trumps people trumps strategy.

Past the six-figure point, you won't be the only one executing strategy. Implementation will be in the hands of your people, who are bound by the culture you've created. Make it a culture that generates seven figures.

Lesson #12: Consider strategic by-products.

Don't be so hung up on your goals that you lose sight of the beneficial "side effects" you've accomplished along the way. These strategic by-products may be intangible, but they're often just as valuable for your happiness and success, if not more.

Lesson #13. Life is short; do stuff that matters.

There's more to life than having a seven-figure business. Strive to succeed in other areas of your life as well, such as relationships and causes you believe in. And take care of yourself.

Getting to seven figures requires exponential growth: you won't get there by keeping the same pace. You need to grow at a faster clip. This means levelling up your mindset, embracing bigger risks and challenges, managing an effective team, and enjoying both the details and the big picture. Are you up to it?

Published on: Jan 27, 2016