Why do once remarkable companies so often lose their edge?

The fascinating thing about entrepreneurship is the drive and passion by which the business often starts. You have identified a large-scale problem in the market that’s highly valuable to fix – and you got the confidence your approach to solve it will exceed expectations. You launch, get traction with your first customers who become your ambassadors, and soon your company reaches its tipping point. A dream is about to be realized. Or not….often it stops there and growth stalls…. Why?

 Business StrategyOne reason growth stalls, is a shift in the way companies start to act once they have reached their tipping point: From a growth mindset they switch to a protect mindset

Daniel Marcos, co-Founder and the CEO of Gazelles Growth Institute, an online executive education company for C-level executives at fast-growing firms, summarized this very well in an interview with Tiffani Bova. 

 The hardest part about a stage three company is that we get into our comfort zone. So, our job as a leader is really to keep the company reinventing itself; getting to the right new trends; doing the right new things and getting out of the comfort zone. 

We’ve seen many CEOs once they get to stage number four, instead of focusing on growing, they focus on protecting what they have built. Moreover, when they start defending their stuff, playing ‘not to lose’ and they end up losing.

 I cover this essential aspect at length in my upcoming book about the ten traits of remarkable software companies. To accelerate their growth trajectory, remarkable software companies do two things better than anyone else:

  1. They master the art of curiosity (and doing so)
  2. They keep creating new possibilities. 

That ability enables them always to be one step ahead. Challenge the status quo and go with the mantra: We’re growing, let’s change something! The significant risk looming for every successful company is to get complacent. You want to prevent at all times thinking: ‘We’re doing fine – we’ve nailed it – let’s consolidate on this.’ 

 With the acknowledgment that business models today change every seven years, and that the half-life of products is about 18 months, there’s no such thing as getting comfortable. Your offensive approach brought you success, so why should getting protective or defensive enable you to sustain it? Growth is a mindset.

About the author

Sales Pitch

Ton Dobbe is a former B2B software product marketer who's on a mission to save mission-driven SaaS CEOs from the stress of 'not enough' traction. He's the author of The Remarkable Effect, the host of the Tech-Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast, and writes a daily newsletter on the secrets to mastering predictable traction.