Written by Carol Coughlin. Posted in Business Leadership

Once you’ve created a successful company, getting to the next level can be fraught with difficulty and anxiety.

Not only is there more at stake, but you can’t even rely on the same strengths, strategies, infrastructure and resources that helped you achieve your initial success.

To grow to the next level, you’re going to need to change a lot about your company – including who you are as a leader.

In service of helping you prepare to take your company to its next stage – whether that’s reaching $5M or $50M or higher – here are three critical qualities that ready-to-scale business owners share:


One of the most important leadership skills for scaling is the ability to look at the big picture, craft your company’s long-term strategy, extract the small handful of goals that are most important for getting there, and guide your team in achieving those.

This means that ready-to-scale business owners are not personally handling all the details – or even all the big tasks. As a result, they’re also not creating a bottleneck and slowing down their company’s growth.

In short, ready-to-scale business owners know what to let go of – but they never loosen their grip on guiding strategic direction.



As your company grows, it can be tempting to think that since you’ve been successful in your core business, you can be successful in other arenas as well.

Don’t fall for it.

It’s not that you don’t want to explore new opportunities, it’s just that if you move too far away from your core business, you’ll fail to maximize the opportunity you’ve already created.

Not to oversimplify, but this is akin to leaving money on the table – and lots of it.

Ready-to-scale business owners know that it’s better to look for new opportunities close to their company’s core business – and they move carefully forward on only a select few. Vertical markets and product extensions, for example.



No business owner was born with every quality necessary to take a company from start-up to second stage and beyond. Each CEO must develop the qualities he or she needs to lead a growing company as they go.

Therefore, the most important quality of the ready-to-scale business owner is the ability to see where they fall short and to work to close the gap.

The truth is that we all can acquire – with practice – the qualities we need to take our companies to the next level. Working with a growth strategy consultant, for example, can help a business owner not only become strategically minded, but literally make better strategic decisions.

But no matter how you decide to develop the qualities you need, the first key is to simply become aware.

In fact, being afraid to take a hard look in the mirror might possibly be the only real obstacle to next-level growth in any business owner’s way.

How close are you and your company to

 being ready to achieve next level success?

Find out by downloading Time to Scale our simple
scaling readiness assessment and action planning guide:


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Carol Coughlin

Carol Coughlin founded BottomLine Growth Strategies, Inc., in 2006 as a way for small and medium-sized businesses to access the same high-level financial and operational expertise that gives large companies a distinct advantage. Using her own extensive corporate experience and willingness to sit in the hot seat as a catalyst, Carol helps BottomLine Growth clients climb to the summit of their success.
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