Actually before you address the six
questions, you need to first ask yourself an
important qualification question: Is this
what I want? Now that you’re past the
“mom and pop” stage, you need to
plan for building and running a larger
company. BUT…some companies do
not aspire to be bigger, so your first
consideration is whether you are
ready to, or even motivated to,
scale up the business. You’ll know you’re at this turning point when what you’ve
been doing is no longer working. In the chart, this is reflected in the “go go”
period, past infancy, experiencing rapid growth, but “hitting the wall” (the green
squiggly line) preventing you from achieving the next level.
Indicators that you are at this level include:
• Supply chain limitations—you can’t keep up with customer demand with your
• Increased customer expectations—as you work with larger customers and
• Time for new technology—QuickBooks isn’t cutting it anymore and you also
need to think about a customer management system to keep everything straight.
• The old ways aren’t working—the entrepreneur can no longer make every decision
in the company but there’s no one to delegate to.
• Stress across your organization. Your team feels the same feelings—they know
things aren’t working.
• Need for capital—extra money needed to scale that wall (but this comes with a lot
• Ownership conflict—are all your leaders in alignment (more on this later)? Do all
of you want to scale?
• Plan? What plan? You need to be better organized strategically to know where you
want to go and how you will get there.
Once you recognize that you are “hitting the wall” your question then becomes,
“What do I do about it?” If you decide that you are ready to take the next step, you’ll
be looking at building into your business a level of complexity that previously didn’t
Historical Growth Stages of a Company, courtesy of
Adizes management resources.
SEPTEMBER — OCTOBER 2010