Just like children, businesses grow through predictable phases. We talked about start life as baby startups, that progress to raging growth companies in our first email. Then we talked about the adolescent crisis that leads to specialization. Today, we finally reach a more stable “adult” phase. Here’s my version of this story focused primarily on B2B service businesses. See if you see any of your own experiences in it.
If you can find a specialization, build a lead generation machine that consistently brings in work that fits that specialization, and learn how to get paid well for it, then your whole business changes.
You can hire a team of well-paid experts who do things for you. You’re no longer managing a bunch of 20-somethings! These new hires aren’t just arms and legs; they have a track record of success so you can assign them responsibilities. You hire a VP of Marketing to develop and run the new business machine. You have a Controller who’s doing the books and helping you to make sound financial decisions; you’ve got experienced team members who are meeting with clients and doing the thing that they are paying you for.
You can transition to being the CEO instead of the player-coach. And just like the parents who get to watch their adult children leave the nest and make their own way, you can take more time off, make more money, and worry all the time about what they are doing when you aren’t there! (Just keepin’ it real.)
Each these transitions, from startup to growth business, through adolescence, and into a more stable, profitable structure require you, the business owner, to learn new things, let go of things that were working, and embrace a new reality. There are business owners who get stuck at each transition and their business stalls out, sometimes for a few years, sometimes for good. I’ve tried to summarize these stages all on one page here.
Helping business owners to make that transition from the messy adolescent phase to the stable adult phase is my specialization. I’ve been doing it for more than 20 years.
Where are you within these stages? What’s holding you back from leaping that next stage of growth?