What happens when a founder faces explosive growth but is not prepared for it?
Preparation in terms of mindset, capacity, and structure is extremely important when experiencing rapid growth in business.
Every business owner, at the moment of opportunity, either gets revealed or exposed. And the main difference between the two is preparation.
Raising the internal thermometer for success and putting the structure in place to support it is a requirement for sustainable progress and growth.
When that growth is rapid and explosive it is even more so.
Founder who never ran a business and gradually acquired 300 clients in three months was overwhelmed to the point of breaking. Burnout was happening, leading to the body starting to break down and dormant health issues to resurface. Self-doubt creeped in, putting the entire mission at risk and the whole business was in jeopardy. Survival instinct kicks in, along with the desire to walk away “because I am not cut out for this”.
He knew he needed to make the biggest shift of his life. Having wisdom to ask for help and guidance while in this kind of predicament is a trait of a smart business owner.
Here are the highlights of our engagement so far:
-Through triage calls, we were able to re-center and improve his mindset and emotional wellbeing. Which led to physical health improvement. -We identified and shifted the root cause, childhood trauma and supported his healing. -He is setting additional structures in place to support growth of the client base, as well as the supporting team. -Close knit, highly capable, leadership team has been formed and is performing strongly. -He can step away to rejuvenate and also focus on his talents and strengths. For the first time in his life, he has a steady and secure income and a very bright future.
And to just provide some tangible evidence to the results of these shifts, after working with her for 5 months:
The number of clients has scaled rapidly from 635 to 1343, and growing, more than doubling. The ROI on the rapid growth stabilization engagement was 28.8 times the capital invested.
Or said in dollar terms an additional $735k of net profit was achieved that is now being used to further grow the team and infrastructure on their way to 10,000 clients.
And the value of the biggest return of all- a beautiful mission driven founder and business, continue to benefit and serve the community without having to sacrifice their health and vitality - PRICELESS!
“I need to shift the paradigm around people in my business."
For the past 18 months, every single issue we faced related to people problems.
Persistent People Problems:
- Not enough qualified people for the job - Qualified but drama-consumed people - Key player burnout - Productive but very, very long hours
- Lack of trust in team members...
So when the Founder uttered those words above, followed by a pressure-relieving sigh, we knew it’s all downhill from there.
We thought: “If we were able to achieve such amazing results while dealing with all these problems, this latest shift will shoot us into the stratosphere!”
Yes, companies can do well, deliver to customers and be profitable all while having challenges related to personnel. It is very costly, though.
We did it for 10+ years in our business and lived to tell about it.
But most importantly- turned it around.
By shifting the paradigm, one step at a time, one shift at a time, just like our client.
After being rigid and insistent on one vision of how his team needed to be like and who he wanted to work with, it became apparent that it will never happen. There was a need for adaptation, flexibility, and adjusting the vision to fit the current environment.
What used to be the norm was no longer. The new norm now revolves around purpose, growth, efficiency, productivity, meaningful work, and high-quality deliverables.
It revolves around work-life balance through skills upgrade. And it used to revolve around extreme spartan level commitment, where excruciatingly long hours were not only the norm but very much expected.
And now it revolves around extreme efficiency and skill level with flexible, normal work hours and habits.
This was a necessary shift in the current environment and where the world is headed. This not only improves the results in the near term but sets up a bright future for the next few decades.
People-related problems are usually the most difficult to resolve and typically take the longest.
But once the business owner figures them out, the whole trajectory of the company changes.
The newfound source of enthusiasm, alignment, and unity gets unleashed which very quickly turns into productivity, efficiency, profits and ultimately cash.
Cash that can be used to reward and stimulate the team to keep growing and improving which puts you and your business in the virtuous cycle of progress
Here are the highlights for this forward thinking and evolving business owner: The team grew from 20 to 31 members, and from stressed and tired to efficient and inspired. Revenue went from $2.51M in 2021 to $3.15M in 2022, and on a run rate of $4M in 2023. The profit went from $857k in 2021 to $1.29M in 2022, and on a run rate of $1.64M in 2023. The ROI on the people engagement and culture initiative was 12.7 times the capital invested. Or said in dollar terms an additional $399,750 of net profit was achieved.
And the value of the biggest return of all- fulfilled people on your team and elimination of fires to be put out all over the place - PRICELESS!
“I’m going to shut it down!”
He said it way too many times for everyone’s comfort in the last few months.
Especially his successor’s comfort, who also happens to be his son.
At the end of the day- it was his right to shut it down. He founded it.
The prospects were not looking great, trust was lower than expected, he was getting tired.
So, the most logical and easiest thing was to shut it down.
But he invested so much over 40 years and shutting it down could mean it was all in vain.
He knew he needed help, just not sure what kind of help... A warm introduction from the trusted source brought us
into his inbox.
We were the experienced and insightful people that his suspicious filter was willing to let in.
He let us in, and this is how we helped:
- We created a bridge between the owner (the father) and his successor (the son), so they can understand each other better and communicate with inclusion and respect.
- Created a space for another key person to come in who would take tasks off the owner’s plate and enable less and less involvement.
-- Advised in the process of sudden departures of employees who were not on board with the company’s values and new direction.
- Supported the growth of revenue and profits through leveraging further what was already working well.
- Provided necessary tools for financial tracking that proved to be instrumental in easing the minds of both generations of leadership.
With the new dynamics and culture in place the structure, enthusiasm and energy for the future is laid out and secured.
After working with them for 9 months: Revenue went from $1.716M in 2021 to $2.104M in 2022, and on a run rate of $3M in 2023. The profit went from $413k in 2021 to $590k in 2022, and on a run rate of $925k in 2023. The ROI on the leadership transition engagement was 7.4 times the capital invested. Or said in dollar terms an additional $153k of net profit was achieved that is now being used to further grow.
And the value of the biggest return of all- 40-year-old legacy and service know-how, continues to benefit and serve the community and the descendants of the person that made huge contributions and sacrifices - PRICELESS!
Are you your business and is your business you?
Most founders get entangled with their business.
The personal promises that are made. The word that is given. The integrity that is on the line...
...Leading to the business owner taking responsibility for it all in the early days.
And once the business grows, and the organization and team grow, personal responsibility can no longer cut it.
The volume of work increases past the limits of one brain and heart, and personal responsibility cannot deliver the results needed across too many variables.
Despite the impossibility of using personal responsibility for a shared responsibility workload, the business owner continues to maintain it.
And, in the process, proceeds to burnout and become a constraint and obstacle to continued growth of the business.
Mind you, at this point they may already have highly capable people on their teams. Some professionals even, who are more accomplished and skilled in certain areas than the business owner.
But the business owner is still entangled and identified with their business and continues to oversee, micromanage, and distrust everyone involved, whenever they are not able to personally verify and ensure the outcome.
This is the key moment in the life cycle of the business.
From here there are two possible paths:
Path 1: Continuing with the Founder's Trap of personal responsibility and identification with the business and stagnating and choking it while ruining the quality of life of the business owner.
With a prolonged Founder’s Trap in place, health is compromised, culture is ruined, growth is slowed to a halt, and employees and customers jump ship over time.
Path 2: Accepting the need for change, giving the business its own identity, sharing responsibility, and reclaiming the life force that was entangled in the business
With this new approach, the business gets a new influx of energy from the team uplifting possibilities and opportunities previously unavailable.
As the owner recovers their health and energy, they refresh and regather themselves and contribute their unique genius in a new way that raises the growth prospects significantly.
After living this personally and seeing it over and over in our clients, it is one of the most important moments in time for any business owner.
And the choice that is made either increases potential of the business or forever caps it.
And the quality of life follows it without fail.
Health, contribution, and legacy are all possible once the correct choice is made and steps taken to build a team that can continue to grow together for a higher purpose whatever it was and is.
Here is what these shifts produced in only 6 months: The profit grew by $434k in the service and delivery department of this IT provider.
The ROI on getting disentangled from the business in monetary terms alone was 11.5 times the capital invested.
And the value of the biggest return of all- health and energy, and quality of life improved tremendously, along with the improved culture and brighter future - PRICELESS!
“Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been!” Wayne Gretzky
Software as a service client reached out and approached us with frustration in how quickly things were changing and how his team was not moving fast enough to respond in a timely manner.
There was quite a lot of emotion present.
She was angry with her team as she felt they were only focused on compliance and logistics and not at all enough on innovation and reinvention. The current technological advances were threatening to make their software platform obsolete.
Something needed to be done and fast.
A new mentality was needed for the founder and as well as key individuals on the team. A new strategy and direction were needed to capitalize on the opportunity with artificial intelligence. And lastly, an entirely different message was needed to align everyone, team members, clients, partners and stakeholders with the new approach.
We came to the table, and this is how we helped:
- We created a bridge between the legacy platform and business and the new era platform and next generation software. - We also bridged the communication between the founder and the existing team members. - And an additional bridge was built between the older, legacy team members and the incoming, newer team members to minimize problems and improve the culture and synergy among the staff. -Supported the strategic development of the new platform and planned out the completion and rollout. - Helped the founder frame the competing urgency of the technical side of things with the leadership needs of her team and business.
This founder, team and business are well on their way as they are skating to where the puck is going in their industry and field, for the maximum benefit of everyone involved in the project.
And here is some proof of these shifts and what they produced in 18 months:
Revenue went from $8.414M in 2021 to $9.235M in 2022, and on a run rate of $10M in 2023 which has been a business goal for a decade.
The ROI on embracing change in monetary terms alone was 26.7 times the capital invested.
And the value of the biggest return of all - united team with a high performance culture set up for sustainable growth - PRICELESS!
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