Better Your Business

Shazam CEO's 5 tips for making it big

In the app world, Shazam is a superhero.

The app that started as a music discovery service—and has grown into so many other fields—boasted 86 million active users in December. Last July, Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim invested $40 million in the company. And it's on the road to a likely IPO.

The venture doesn't report financial figures, but CEO Rich Riley says the company has revenues in the "tens of millions" of dollars. It sells between 5 percent and 10 percent of all downloaded music, for which it gets a revenue share. (Last year that worked out to more than 300 million songs sold.)

Shazam was founded in 1999 as a dial-up service but really exploded with the launch of the app store. The company's tool recognizes music and media playing around users and identifies the song or offers more information about the media. Users simply tap the Shazam button on their phone to listen, buy, share and comment on the media. There's no charge, and users can utilize the tool as often as they'd like.

Riley, a former top executive at Yahoo!, was brought in to help the company reach its IPO goal in April 2013. And while this is his first time in the CEO office, he knows a thing or two about business success, having sold the company he co-founded, called, to Yahoo! for $10 million. (That product later became the Yahoo! Toolbar.)

Certainly, the viral nature of Shazam's functionality—which lets users press a button and quickly identify a song or get more information from a television show or commercial—has been a key factor in the company's success. But Riley notes there were other dynamics at play. Here are his top five tips on how to get your business ahead of the pack.

(Read more: How a one-person business can break $1 million in sales)

1. Pick a fight.
Riley was a 13-year vet at Yahoo!,