What It Takes To Lead A Growing Business


IN GROW OR DIE, George Ainsworth-Land described the predictable and inevitable growth curve with three phases which applies to any organization or company and even to relationships. But we’ll stick to the workplace.

Which Phase Are You In and Are You On the Right Track?

Phase 1: Invention or Getting Off the Ground
The company is highly entrepreneurial. It’s born out of a desire to meet a need – whether it’s a nonprofit to deal with a social or community issue or a start up to bring a new product or idea or process to market. The climate is high energy, fast paced, seat-of-the-pants and at times chaotic. But it’s exciting!

Can you make it through this phase and not burn-out or fail-out?  

Phase 2: Improvement or Rapid Expansion
You begin to see results from all the hard work – more customers, funders, publicity – but are you making a profit or making a dent in the problems you’re trying to solve? This is when you’re adding staff or opening new stores or increasing your inventory, etc. It can be a real culture shock to move from stage one to two. You know you want it and you need it. But it’s hard to deal with!

Can you move from the visionary leader to an effective manager?

Phase 3: Reinvention or Stagnation
To keep growing, you must look at new markets, grow your current niche, expand product lines or add new services. You may be considering acquisitions, mergers or going public. Similar to Phase 1, the leader must create the vision, energy, culture and direction again. However this is a much different, more complex organization.  Your leadership role has changed again!

Are you able to let go of operations and become an innovator again?

Smart Moves Tip

Growth requires that entrepreneurs and business leaders change what they do. Successful and sustainable growth requires the right kind of leadership, the right environment (culture) and the right processes. Do you have them?

Previous articleCreating Client Cold-Call Lead Lists
Next articleThe Other Fannie and Freddie Lawsuit
Marcia Zidle, The Smart Moves Coach, is a national known board certified coach and keynote leadership speaker who guides organizations that are planning, or in the midst of, ambitious growth and change. As a career strategist, she works with professionals, managers and executives who want to build • shape • brand • change • vitalize their careers. She’s been selected by LinkedIn’s ProFinder as one of the best coaches for 2016!Her clients range from private owned businesses to mid-market companies to professional service firms to NGO’s. With 25 years of management, business consulting and international experience, she brings an expertise in executive and team leadership; employee engagement and innovation; personal and organization change; career building and development; emotional and social intelligence. Your Future Starts Now With Marcia!


  1. I have found that many entrepreneurs/creators are totally unable, or unwilling, to make the transition from creator to manager/leader. It requires both a different mind set and a different skill set. It often necessitates the creator turning over control to someone else. An emotional trauma.

    However, I do not think that growth is always essential. More stores, more employees can often bring failure. I have seen many top grade restaurants that had 60 seats fail when they doubled their size. Some types of businesses just work better at small levels.

    • Ken,
      I totally agree that the focus on growth, without the right planning, procedures, and people, is a recipe for disaster (not only for restaurants but all small businesses). Another problem as you pointed out is the inability of the entrepreneur, moving from doing to delegating.