The 3 Stages of Business Growth

April 5, 2023

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The 3 Stages of Business Growth

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In a previous article, we talked about the importance of the interview process in hiring.

There is another important consideration, and it is not only about the candidate but about the business owner as well. As much as leaders grow a business, the business also has a way of growing them. In fact, one of the best leadership and personal development programs out there is to own a business.

Here are the Initial Growth Levels in Business

1. Startup Phase

From startup to about five figures, an entrepreneur often wears all the hats in the business. They are the “doers” of everything. This is not a bad thing, as it allows them to experiment and experience the business firsthand. It creates strength and confidence for what lies ahead.

2. Viability Phase

At about five figures in income, the business is established as a viable entity; and hiring outside help for certain tasks becomes important for business growth. This allows the entrepreneur to shift some of the tasks off their plate and to exercise the strengths of management. Management is a learnable skill, and it takes practice; so this is an important stage in business. At this level, the entrepreneur begins to guide the team members and to establish systems and processes. This is an important foundation for the next level of business.

3. Upper Limits Phase

Many new entrepreneurs imagine that a six-figure business will be a highlight and that it will be a pinnacle point in their business.

“If I can just get to six figures, it will be so much easier from there!” they may say.

But if you ask experienced entrepreneurs what six figures really feels like, they will say, “Exhausting!”

This is because, at this point, the entrepreneur has hit an upper limit.

As John Maxwell talks about, this is the “Law of the Lid.” They have reached the limit of their own personal capacity. At this point or shortly into six figures, the business owner must “raise their leadership lid.”

Instead of hiring people to do tasks, they must hire people to own roles and results. They must let go of the tasks they have been doing for the most part and even some of the management roles they have held and shift solidly into a leadership role. They must learn to set the vision, values, and mission of the company and communicate it to the team that will make it happen.

They are now in the people development business, and this requires a major strengthening of a new set of skills. They may have started the business making widgets; but now they are developing leaders.

This is where EQ (emotional intelligence) comes into play. It includes things like trusting and empowering their team to do the work and providing the system and tools for them to do so. It includes communication and accountability. And it requires decision making and the ability to address issues and resolve conflict.

At the earlier stages, the entrepreneur held the business together and supported it. At this stage, the systems and the team support the business and the leader. Thus, it is essential that the leader creates a strong team.

Beyond six figures, the cycle tends to repeat, with a form of a startup phase through to an upper limit level. And, again, a leader must grow through each phase.

Where are you in your business?

Are you growing personally and professionally in such a way that you are “raising the lid” continually? Your business growth depends on your growth as a leader. For some great resources on personal and professional growth, be sure to visit

As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer, and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, and using the Maxwell Method, Deb helps leaders and teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results