Business growth stages – a napkin perspective

July 1, 2010Post by Laura Humphreys

I’m having the most exciting conversations with inspiring and accomplished business people these days. Since launching liber8yourbusiness and beginning my quest to find business role models who are happy to share their knowledge with my clients, I feel like I’m on an incredible ride of aspiration. On Monday I had coffee with Mike Brunel, who is truly a master of leverage (and sales, you can check him out at Mike’s company NRS Media works with over 400 major television, radio, and newspaper companies in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Europe, the United States, South America, Canada, South Africa, the African continent, Australia, and Asia, has offices in London, Atlanta, Toronto, and Sydney and employs over 175 staff. Meanwhile, while his company operates globally, Mike has coffee in Wellington before picking his kids up from school.

It’s just such a buzz to talk about business models and exit strategies with people like Mike. We covered a lot of ground and became pretty animated (fed by the best of L’affare’s coffee of course). While we shared ideas, I scribbled on a napkin. Here’s a perspective on business growth stages based on revenues:

Stage 1. $0 – 1 million. Do whatever it takes to get sales. Hands on, high owner involvement, work all hours. Go like a crazy thing.
Stage 2. $1 – 5 million. Bring others in to leverage your time, enable more capacity.
Stage 3. $5 – $20 million. Team in place. Build, build, build.
Stage 4. $20+ million. Business has life beyond owner. Time to leverage or sell.