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How to Scale From a Small Business to a Billion-Dollar Empire

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You may not know John Dickey by name, but you may have heard of the company he and his brother started in the '90s: Cumulus Media. The duo bought a radio station in Atlanta then continued acquiring stations until their business, which has an estimated net worth of $2 billion, became the nation’s second largest radio company.

The brothers' journey began after college, when they founded a media buying consulting company. Dickey has seen the media industry turn upside down, and continues to stay on the cutting edge with digital video. He was recently named the new CEO of Ora TV, a digital broadcast network co-founded by billionaire Carlos Slim and broadcasting legend Larry King.

1. Find and fill a need.

It's worth noting that the Dickey brothers majored in English and history -- not business, entrepreneurship or broadcasting. They did have a knack for business and statistics, and after college they decided they wanted to start consulting businesses, so they searched for a need and discovered that most small businesses didn’t have access to market research data and were making misguided media buys.

2. Look at both sides.

The Dickeys achieved massive success later in part because as consultants, the brothers realized they could serve not just media buyers but also media properties selling ad space.

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