Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Is Your Company in Growth?

At the Bootstrap Growth Subgroup meeting Monday, Neelan Choksi delivered an inspiring discussion for business leaders about characteristics and decision-making strategies when their company is in growth. Having founded a company with two partners, taken it through growth and then joining the company that acquired it, coupled with his C-level employment in another start-up and moving them through their first round of funding, Neelan has a special perspective and experience, coming from different sides.

He outlined three characteristics that are present when a business is in the Growth stage. The leader:
  • starts saying "no" to business
  • is more concerned about marketing and less about sales
  • begins leveraging people and resources
To begin with, the Bootstrap leader finds themselves starting to say "no" to certain business that comes along. This essentially is when we find that we are being more choosy about what business we're taking. Our visual shift also moves from focusing on the sales to the marketing we're doing. What's more, we start thinking about what we can outsource and delegate. With all these characteristics, our focus is changing from what it was during the Valley of Death (VoD).

In making good decisions, particularly regarding the opportunities to pursue, the leader of a business in the Growth stage is well-served with these three strategies:
  • make decisions quickly and listen to your gut
  • employ stages and gates to protect the business
  • limit the amount of time researching and deliberating

In these strategies, we keep the business swiftly moving and keep the momentum of growth, take advantage of opportunities that can generate greater success and take small risks toward that success without sinking too many resources into the unproven.

A mind shift necessarily occurs for the leader when the company is in growth. As our focus shifts to building the company, there is a "letting go" of some old strategies and practices that must occur. However, as we go forward, we need to keep some of what we were doing because these are the features that indeed brought us to our success. The process is akin to adding a new ingredient to the mix rather than discarding old ones.

The kernels of wisdom shared at this meeting were vast, but all generally held the themes that there is a right action for the right time. Additionally, what we learn from the experiences we gain taking our business through Ideation, Valley of Death, and Growth can teach and prepare us to make bigger, better, and more efficient decisions leading to greater success for ourselves and our business.

Nancy Schill is the founder of Executive Intelligent Coaching, a company that works alongside business leaders and their teams in the growth stage of business to achieve the vision, strengthen influence and employ an inspiring culture. She can be reached at nschill AT executiveintelligentcoaching DOT com

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