Successful Builders have one overriding goal: market domination.
The Builder leader sees the gaps, opportunities, and dangers within an organization and focuses on customer needs, problems, and aspirations. By storm, by fire, by clever or blunt force, organically or by acquisition, by beefing up neglected product lines or creating an entirely new market, business growth is the goal, against any odds.
The Builder ensures an organization is in a strong position to run at scale. Systems, business plans, and processes are put in place, a team is built out and strengthened, and a bigger strategy drives expansion.
Jaime Ellertson has led five consecutive software companies, growing each to the point of significant sale or IPO. He has seen small business owners spend years trying to achieve sales, then grow tired or lose perspective.
“There is a period where people get to $10, $15, or $20 million with the business and they have reached their capacity to build the company and grow it,” he says. Ellertson steps in to infuse new thinking, process, plans, and team.
His latest win, Everbridge, began as a collection of small software companies that provide critical event management for everything from public safety threats to IT outages to cyberattacks. In short order, the company came to dominate a multibillion-dollar industry that only came to size in the past decade or so. Under Ellertson’s watch, Everbridge grew to 800 employees serving 4,500 corporate customers.
What is a Builder Leader?
Builders have an intense focus on product excellence. The product must scale, deliver value, and be easy to use. If the product is right, growth opportunities can be found in current customers and well as new customers.
Not all growth will be organic growth, Builders’ growth plan could just as easily use mergers and acquisitions to get where they need to go. The bottom line is market penetration, in whatever form that takes.
CEO Lisa Yarnell found all kinds of consumer products that were unexploited gold mines at Colgate, L’Oréal, and other consumer companies. Yarnell saw market development potential in brands that are very niche and highly profitable.
“I like to put a big magnifying glass on it,” she says, asking the team what they would do if they didn’t have the other 85 or 90 percent of the business to run. What once may have been viewed by people as the “place you go to die, or place you got moved when you didn’t get promoted,” now becomes the center of attention.
“I make what I’m doing important to other people,” she says.
Does My Company Need a Business Growth Specialist?
Companies at a stalemate or in a rut need a Builder. Companies facing a market disruption need a Builder. Companies with a great new idea but no expertise in making it a reality need a Builder.
The good Builder leverages process as the building blocks to achieve scale.
Many organizations coast along focused on cash flow and customer retention, not marketing efforts, potential customers and growth. The Builder brings a fresh view, new marketing strategies, and an infusion of energy that can lead to a growing business.
Whether in a startup or part of a larger organization, the Builder transforms the business model to aggressively win over a market.
The focus is on product, people, and process. A sound product is key, along with having the right people in the right roles, at the right stage of a company’s development.
Builders are skilled at identifying good talent for the specific needs and stage of a company. forming a partnership with them, and creating processes that help them succeed.
What are the Benefits of Hiring a Builder?
Successful Builders have an uncanny ability to pivot, altering initiatives based on continuous market feedback.
Troy Henikoff says that when he and his partners launched SurePayroll, the original idea wasn’t even payroll. Their business goal was to create a human resources services portal for business owners to house documents, regulations, and forms from every state.
When they realized the current market for HR required a system that would connect to payroll, they looked at big players like ADP and Paychex and quickly saw the money to be made in that space. With an online model, they could deliver cheaper than mainframe computers, paper checks, paper reports, and delivery people, so they shifted to payroll. Company growth soared to 30,000 small business customers by the time they sold the successful business to Paychex.
Builders are addicted to fast growth and driven to complete the next climb. At some point, growth may slow, or the Builder may feel as if they’ve scaled Everest and are looking down from the peak with nothing left to conquer. Coincidentally the team may now be so large it exceeds the leader’s personal span of control.
That’s the moment for many Builders to move on and climb the next mountain—the next market or product or industry.
The affirmation going on in the Builder’s head is clear: the right market leads to the best product or service. Grow it, nurture and mature systems, sell, merge, acquire, IPO, and/or transition to the next leadership team.
Who is the Builder Leader?
Scrappy and dominating, Build Leaders take a linear approach to problem-solving. There’s a target market and metrics that will get them to the goal. Whether that goal is market diversification, creating a brand new business, or new product development, the Builder Leader is focused and expects all of the stakeholders — from the board of directors to the employees — to join in or step aside.
Once the goal is in sight, the Builder is unstoppable in pursuit of market share. Level playing field is not in the vocabulary.
Where Can I Find a Builder Leader?
If your organization is ready to tackle new markets or needs the foundation to scale, Builder executive leaders can be called in at a moments notice. InterimExecs RED Team includes CEOs, CFOs, CIO, COOs and CMOs who specialize in bringing the fresh, outside perspective needed to push a company to new heights. Learn more at www.InterimExecs.com.
Think you might be the Builder Leader your organization needs? Take our free leadership assessment to find out!
You Know You Are a Builder If . . .
- You set foundation and structure for an organization, division, product, or service to grow.
- You seize new or existing markets.
- You are tuned into customer needs and problems to be solved.
- You focus intensely on the quality and strength of your product or service.
- You weave concepts into improving and adding value.
- You are transaction oriented, focusing on the end game of growing, acquiring, IPO or other validation of market value.
- You always have a product road map to improve or add new product or services offerings.
- You are skilled at building out and strengthening the team.
- You view a ceiling as something to be broken through.
- You multiply people and processes to create greater efficiency and do more with less.
- You have an eye toward expansion whether product, category, customer base, geography, or need fulfillment.
- You set and reset best practices.
- Your superpower is continual forward movement.
- You love the melody of market feedback.
- You may lose interest and seek to move to new markets, new products, new needs when market domination is achieved.