At age 45, Tom has worked long hard hours to get to where he is today. As the Founder and President, Tom is the majority owner of a 15 year old $20 Mil/year multi location B2B service company. The company serves a core group of long term loyal customers. The business has generated a net profit every year (albeit small some years) despite the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, the implosion of the financial industry in 2008, and lingering uncertainty that has followed. Tom lives in a nice house on a hill overlooking a scenic lake and he drives a great car. Tom’s daughter’s college tuition has been paid off.
What do you think? Is the company positioned for growth or a plateau?
Although a vignette can never convey the whole story, there is enough information here to prompt some questions.
How much risk did Tom (and perhaps his family) take on to get to where they are today? Perhaps they waited to buy their first home as his fledgling business took hold. Maybe they carried a second mortgage when the bank didn’t view a service company as sufficient collateral for a business line of credit. Is Tom divorced now? The stress of business ownership can take a toll on marriage and parenting. How old are the people who helped grow the business with Tom? Are they still working at the company? Are the loyal long term customers comfortable with low (or no) tech? Although the business has generated net profit, have Tom and the other owner(s) ever “taken a hit” from a disappointing product launch, a failed branch location, or a manager who didn’t carry his weight? How tired is Tom? What would Tom need to take on to lift the business to the next level?
Market opportunities exist. Money is out there.
The number one cause of The Plateau Pattern™ is that the key business leader has become risk adverse. He/she now has more to lose. Choices can’t possibly feel the same as when Tom was 30 years old in 1997 and he was starting a new business during a strong economy. I call it “The House on the Hill” effect.
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.