Each stage is critical and sets the foundation for the next stage. Each has very different challenges, opportunities, and time frames.
These stages of market growth are integrated but a subset to the stages of growth a contractor will experience for their whole business that is largely driven by overall headcount.
The General Types of People at Each Stage Are:
- Pioneer: They explore and experiment with a new market at the earliest stages. This is the most fragile part of entering a new market. Is it the first time anyone has ever done this? First time in the construction industry? First time in the company? First time in the lead person's career? All four need to be factored in when choosing the person and managing them.
- Builder: They move in quickly after the concept looks viable and are great producers, moving quickly from concept through to implementation. They have a wide range of talents from business development through operations with an entrepreneurial streak but are primarily focused on delivering results. They will typically become the constraint to growth due to concentration of decisions and lack of systems.
- Operator: They take the market to the next stage of growth developing consistency in people, processes, and the tools to build a scalable business model.
- Scaler: They focus heavily on market strategy, culture, customers, organizational structure, and the talent required for 5X+ growth. They are strong with people and systems but exceptional at strategic deal making from high-level business development to joint ventures to acquisitions to fuel growth.
- Refiner: Relentless streamlining and structure as the rate of growth and change stabilize. They strategically move talent and cash to other emerging and high-growth areas of the overall business.
Each stage requires a very different leadership focus and team with very different capabilities. Some people may be able to bridge two of these stages comfortably but only a unicorn can bridge all five effectively.
Each stage provides great opportunities for career growth. The biggest people challenges come when the individual, company, or both fail to understand what’s truly required at this stage.
Someone could be an amazing “Pioneer” and “Builder” and then become horribly bored at the “Operator” stage. Someone could deliver great outcomes at the “Refiner” stage and frustratingly struggle when moving to another business in the “Builder” stage.
Each stage requires a different organizational structure as the business progresses from emerging through scaling.
When preparing to scale, the organizational structure must be adjusted to balance out leadership development with the efficiency of specialization.
When scaling up, the growth will be so rapid that the team must constantly be planning the organizational structure for 2X and 5X the current size.