Four Stages of Business Owner Growth

If your goal as the founder of a small company is to eventually move from an integral day-to-day worker to the leader and owner, then you will need to grow as a business owner through four stages with your company. The stages are start-up, build-out, run-it, and own-it.

Stage 1: Start-Up

Many owners take a skill, such as a cooking, and start a food truck or restaurant in hope that mastery of a technical skill will translate into a successful business. However, in order to create sustainable long-term growth, the business owner should define the companies business model (value proposition and revenue model), vision for the company, and conduct an analysis of the competitive landscape.

Stage 2: Build-Out

At this stage, you will take the results of the the work from the first stage and align your processes, procedures, and marketing with your business model, vision, and competitive differentiation. Your focus is on processes (systems) and the goal is to build the foundation for a cohesive culture, message, and valuable customer experience.

Stage 3: Run-It

At this stage you will need to start managing others by focusing on the execution of the processes. Your job is to manage and train employees on the ways of your company. You will implement measurements (KPIs) to measure the effectiveness of processes and the financial well-being of the company. These measurements will become the basis for future innovation, growth, and company health. As well, you will need to remain aware of your companies strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, so you can begin to make top-level decisions about the companies direction.

Stage 4: Own-It

This is the final stage. At this point, I would argue the transition is more about belief and desire. If you have never been the “owner,” then you are developing a new set of skills that will allow you to entrust the daily operations to people you hire to run the company. Your job will require reliance on others. You will need to develop your ability to lead, relate and communicate, and take a big-picture approach.

Unless you are the rare person who already has these stages mastered, you are going to have to put substantial work into yourself and break the dogmas that may be holding your business back. Invest in yourself at each of the four stages of business owner growth and your company will transform into what you always dreamed it could be.