Founders: Seriously Consider Replacing Yourself as President


OK…Steve Jobs comes to mind.  But, he kept coming back, plus this blog is about midsized privately held companies.

The Founder’s skills are often related to a concept, a product, or a better way to serve an industry he/she knows well.  If the Founder’s concept “proves out” then further investment in growing the business makes sense. But are most Founders great at both external dynamics and internal operations? Usually not. The typical scenario is that production oriented employees are hired with as few business management positions filled as possible. As growth happens, more procedures and systems are needed so the left hand knows what the right hand is doing, customer satisfaction can result and actually be measured, and changes can be cued for improved efficiencies and profitability.  And the Founder feels torn between selling bigger customers and trying to help improve day to day process. Growth slows…and the company has “plateaued.”  In some industries this happens as early as $3 Mil/yr. In others, it’s $10.

Visit to see my series of short video blogs about

The Top 9 Causes of Plateaus” and “How to Grow Beyond Plateaus.”

I’ve seen Founders hire operations oriented professionals, which can work.  But if the operations person doesn’t have enough authority, the plateau becomes even more stubborn. Employees test who is really in charge, whine to the Founder, say they want the business to grow but often resist learning new skills or taking on more responsibility.  I have lost count of the number of times I have heard Founders regret “hiring too low” when they reached this point.

I had dinner recently with one Founder who finally brought in a strong operationally oriented President.  They are delighted to work together.  The Founder’s title changed from President to Founder. No kidding.

The journey from being a large small business to becoming a small big business isn’t easy. There will be glitches once in a while.  So what.  They’ll work through those moments. But now the Founder’s hands are untied.  He can focus on bringing in multi-million dollar clients and not worry when employees request “early dismissal” on Wednesday July 3rd. (Are you kidding?! Give me a break!)                                                                          

About Aldonna Ambler:
Known as The Growth Strategist®, Aldonna Ambler built and grew a suite of companies to help midsized B2B companies achieve accelerated growth with sustained profitability® A Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), Ambler has addressed over 2000 audiences and hosted a syndicated online talk show about growth strategies for 9 years. As a growth financing intermediary, Ambler raised over $1 Bil dollars for midsized companies. The winner of over 2 dozen prestigious national and statewide "entrepreneur of the year" awards, Ambler is available to speak about “profitable growth during any economy” and/or serve on the board of a growth-oriented privately-held company.

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