Growing Your Business: Four Strategies to Ease Growing Pains
By Christina Madrid

You have fulfilled your dream of starting your own business. You have transitioned from employee to entrepreneur, from a business concept to an actual product or service, and from a vision to an expanding customer base. Now you are faced with a challenging question--can you survive the transition from solo entrepreneur to successful manager?

The answer? Absolutely! This transition is vital for your continued growth and prosperity. And you are not alone; consider Starbucks or Mrs. Fields, among many others. But preparation for your expansion is vital. Here are four strategies that will minimize your risks and ease your "growing pains." 

Strategy One: Define Your Company's Vision and Core Values
What does your company stand for? Is your vision clear to you? Do you know and practice the core values your company represents? When your vision statement is defined and your core values are identified, you can translate them into specific goals and objectives for your future employees.

Strategy Two: Hire Talent
With your goals and objectives in mind, design your hiring processes to support your efforts to hire the right person for the right job. The individuals you hire will play a major role in determining your company's success. Hire only the best, even if you have to wait to find the right individual. Resist any temptation to "settle." Once you have hired the talent you need to execute your vision, take whatever steps are necessary to develop and retain those individuals. They are your future!

Strategy Three: Promote From Within
To ensure the continuing execution of your company's vision, engage in succession planning. Yes, succession planning--identifying your in-house talent and grooming them for management and leadership positions. In Built to Last, Collins and Porras point to Jack Welch to illustrate this strategy. General Electric hired Welch fresh out of graduate school. After 20 years with the company, he was selected from a pool of in-house candidates for the CEO position. The future of your company is no different--it is also in the hands of your current talent. Begin to expose your high potential employees to strategic activities, such as long-term planning and project management. Provide them with opportunities to develop management and leadership skills.

Strategy Four: Build a World-Class Culture
These first three strategies naturally segue into the fourth. To build a world-class culture, it is vital to build good managers. When the Gallup Organization interviewed more than 80,000 managers in 400 companies, perhaps the most compelling finding was this: "Talented employees need great managers." (First Break all the Rules, 1999). You will only retain your talented employees if your managers have the ability to recognize and tap into those employees' strengths. Simply put, employees do not quit companies; they leave their managers.

What does this have to do with building a world-class culture? When the first three strategies are executed, and your managers are home grown, they are as deeply dedicated to your company's values and vision as you are. As a result, they are committed to cultivating superior performance and producing quality results on a consistent basis. 


Collins, James C. and Porras, Jerry I. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. (2002). HarperCollins Publishers.

Buckingham, Marcus and Coffman, Curt. First Break all the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers do Differently. (1999). Simon & Schuster

Christina Madrid, RCC, SPHR, a business coach and human resources consultant, is the owner of Breakthrough HR. Her company provides coaching, consulting and training to small and mid-sized businesses. Read more about Christina in the WABC Coach Directory. Christina may be reached by email at

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