When you have a successful and scalable business, the business often experiences growing pains because of the misalignment of the founder/CEO’s role in the business and when the company is in the business growth stages continuum. In this post, I’ll share how I became aware of the 7 business growth stages and attempt to clarify how priorities, founder/CEO’s traits, roles, and company challenges change as a business moves through the 7 business growth stages.
As the founder and CEO of a business, I grew from ten employees to over 250, I’m acutely aware of where my strengths and weaknesses lie. I know that when the size of my business is more than twenty-five employees, my innate skills as an entrepreneur are challenged, and above fifty, it is often time to consider selling the business to the next owner who is better skilled at taking the business to the next level. That said, I begin to hit my stride again with a business that had over one hundred and fifty employees.
Several years ago when I shared my personal revelation with a consultant friend, he observed that as a founder/CEO, I have a very dominant personality and tend to be more of a visionary than a manager. He then shared with me a list of attributes that described the seven stages of growth that a company goes through and the changing role of the founder/CEO as the business scales.
The research for the seven business growth stages was originally performed and published by TTI Success Insights. With the insight from this research and the consultant that passed along this revelation, I confirm that as CEO, I have a dominant personality that suited me well during some of the business growth stages and not as well during others. I also confirm that my role as CEO is one of a visionary and not of a manager or technical specialist. The research from the seven business growth stages, and specifically the role of the founder/CEO, brought into clear focus where I should be spending my time and where I need to lean on others.
Before we look at the specifics of each of the seven business growth stages, it is important to understand the three primary roles of a founder/CEO:
Visionary – can take the most insignificant situation and turn it into an opportunity. The Visionary is the strategist, dreamer, long-range thinker, innovator, and leader who deals with the future and focuses on the theoretical foundations of the work. This person has a high need for control and is an excellent growth initiator.
Manager – creates order and focuses on the pragmatic systems and procedures that make the company run well. The Manager focuses on planning, order, and predictability. The Manager is effective in organizing teams to get results and works to coach staff to success.
Technical Specialist – is action-oriented and detail-focused. The Technical Specialist is the doer, the technician who is driven to complete tasks and excels with operations and nuts and bolts of the enterprise. The Technical Specialist focuses on results not ideas.
Related White Pager: Anatomy of a Business Owner – The 3 personas
The following are some of the key points that the founder/CEO and the company focus on as the business matures and grows.
Stage 1: Startup (1-10 employees)
Additional Reading: Stage 1: Starting Up a Company? Embrace the Chaos.
Stage 2: Ramp-Up (11-19 employees)
Additional Reading: Stage 2: Ready to Ramp Up?
Stage 3 – Delegation (20-34 employees)
Additional Reading: Stage 3: The Art of Delegation Takes on New Meaning
Stage 4: Professional (35-54 employees)
Additional Reading: Stage 4: Complexity Drives Need for Experienced Managers
Stage 5: Integration (55-99 employees)
Additional Reading: Stage 5: Synergy Equals Strength As Company Matures
Stage 6: Strategic (100-159 employees)
Additional Reading: Stage 6: Lack of Strategy Will Kill You
Stage 7: Visionary (160+ employees)
Additional Reading: Stage 7: Creating a Vision for the Future
Related Post: Business Evolution – The 4 stages
Where on the business growth stages continuum and are you focused on the right priorities?
IF YOU LIKE OUR CONTENT PLEASE SUBSCRIBE AND SHARE IT ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS. THANK YOU!