Episode 72: Five Phases of Scaling with a Team

Becoming a CEO is about so much more than simply starting a business. A large part of becoming a CEO is learning to grow and lead a high-performing team.

If you want to grow your business on your own, you certainly can – but eventually, your capacity will limit its growth. Scaling your business (and your freedom) comes down to how you grow & lead your team. 

The secret?

On this week’s episode of The Scale to Seven® podcast, I’m going to talk about how you can reach the next level of growth in your business; and the next level of freedom for yourself.  Find out what phase you are in right now, and learn the five phases of scaling with a team.

 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • 5 phases of team growth (and what each phase looks like)
  • How do you know if you’re ready to shift from one phase to the next
  • How do you move to the next phase (and how your team takes part in it)
  • Plus more hiring and delegating tips from Kathryn and Robert! 

 

Featured on the Show:

 

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Kathryn Binkley  

Welcome to Scale to Seven®, your behind the scenes look at what it really takes to scale your business to seven figures. I'm your host, Kathryn Binkley, business and leadership coach for online entrepreneurs. Here's what I know, building a business that will generate millions requires the mindset, strategy and action of a future seven figure CEO, starting now. Ready to Scale to Seven®. Let's go!

 

Kathryn Binkley

Hey, hey, Robert and I are back with another episode. And today we're gonna chat about how to leverage a team to scale both your business and your freedom. So much of building a business and really scaling a business comes down to building a team and growing into a leader. So I'm glad Robert is joining me again today.

 

Robert Osborne  

Hey, it's great to be back. And I'm excited to join in on this conversation of the phases of team growth.

 

Kathryn Binkley  

Alright, let's dive in. So here's what happens quite a bit. Entrepreneurs come to me and they really want the result that you can get once you reach phase four. Now, I know you don't know what phase four is getting, we're going to tell you in a few minutes, but you want the results that you can get what you've stepped into that role as a CEO, once you've gotten your team to that phase of growth, but you're not there yet. And you feel stuck in the phase of growth that you're in, you don't know how to get from where you are now to where you want to be. But what I can tell you is the way to get there isn't by doing more of what you've already done, what got you to where you are now isn't what's going to get you to that next phase, that next level of growth, that next level of freedom. And so today, I want to really outline this for you and walk you through these different phases. So you can see that growth isn't just a quick shift from one phase to the next. You don't just jump from solopreneur to CEO overnight, sure you become a CEO, as soon as you start a business, technically speaking, but until you really are serving in the true role of CEO and have that team around you to support you. Until then you're not going to feel all the benefits. So let's look at each phase, let's look at what the team looks like what your role needs to look like. And then, how you know when you're ready to go to the next phase? Sounds good? 

 

Robert Osborne  

Sounds great!

 

Kathryn Binkley  

Okay, so at first, any business owner is going to start out in the solopreneur role. Right? You are in the role where you're alone, you don't have a team? And what does that look like, Robert?

 

Robert Osborne  

Well, it's a CEO, that is also operating as the COO is operating as a subject matter experts is doing all the work and doesn't really have a team to back the person up. So the CEO is really carrying a majority of the load for the company. And so that is what is solopreneurs. No team, and the owner is heavily invested in each aspect of the company.

 

Kathryn Binkley  

Yeah, so I know as an integrator, when you come on board, you don't typically see this phase, you don't see businesses in the solopreneur phase, because you're coming into a business that's further along. But you're absolutely right, that solopreneur phase is basically the CEO, doing it all. They're doing every single thing in the business, they're wearing every single hat. So you're maybe the CEO, if you're even doing any of those types of responsibilities, but bigger than that. You're the Graphic Designer. You're the Social Media Manager. You're the one delivering and working with clients, you're the ones selling, you're the one, handling the books, everything is done by you. So, that means you really don't have a team at this phase. It's all you, it's only you. And as soon as your business has really validated that you can bring in some sales. As soon as you have any consistent revenue. Even if it's very small. You could be ready to take the next step to bring in some support and go on to phase two. So as soon as you can financially afford it, I recommend that you take that next step and bring on the next hire. So we're going to talk about phase two. But I just want to point out that if you're listening to this, and you're still in that phase, if you have consistent revenue. I want you to know, it's going to feel scary to invest in that first team member. You're going to really question whether that's the right step to take. But you have to free up your time so you can step into that higher level role, and work your way toward becoming that CEO. And in order to do that, you've got to start getting things off of your plate, and you've got to start learning how to lead. And that's not gonna happen until that first hire.

 

Robert Osborne  

Right! And so the first hire naturally needs to be the integrator, correct?

 

Kathryn Binkley  

No, not at all. And I know that he wishes that that was always the first step. But I know that as an integrator, really, Robert, I know that you understand that, you don't even want to serve in an integrator role. If there's not a team to support you, because an integrator role isn't doing it all. I promise you, this is such a big misunderstanding, people think I'm just gonna bring in a second person and they can manage everything in the business, they can run the business for me, someone might even hire a VA and think I'm just going to groom them into my integrator. But an integrator is a leader. It's a leadership role. And so hiring a leader in the business, when there's no one to lead doesn't quite work. 

 

Kathryn Binkley

So, again, I know you're antsy, and you're ready to get to that higher level. But the next phase, you're going to start to look for a team member who can start to take some things off of your plate. And this often looks like one of two things, either a generalist, more of a virtual assistant who can tackle all kinds of things, but at a lower level, an implementation level and implementer level. In other words, they can do exactly what you tell them to do. And they can do a variety of things, because they can really follow steps easily. Or you're going to hire someone in a specific, more expert, freelance role to handle perhaps some higher level strategy, but in a specific area of expertise. So a bookkeeper, a copywriter, something like that, a social media manager, something along those lines, you might be bringing in someone to just tackle that. But let's be clear, they have their own business. And at this phase, you go from being a solopreneur to a manager. But you're also just the client, you might at this phase be managing, but you're more so, managing the work, not managing a true team, because you're their client, they're not your team member.

 

Robert Osborne  

Exactly! And so the team is really focused on being constructed as a group of outside entities that help to work with the business and provide the services to your business where you're the client from their perspective. They're not a part of the integral team. They're not a part of, you know, your mission values and your team's internal operations, but they provide the specific services.

 

Kathryn Binkley  

Yeah, I think that this phase is a critical phase. Here, as you're transitioning, you're going to go through this phase. But I don't want you to get stuck in this phase, I don't want you to get trapped in this phase. Because, as you might imagine, hiring people who are experts in every single area of your business can get expensive. And you do need that balance of people who can implement the work, who can manage the work, who can think strategically. And you can't afford to hire all strategists, all experts for every role, sometimes you need some people to literally just get things done. And as capacity for you really starts to become a more limiting factor. And as you have more consistent work per team members. You're going to want to begin to bring people in house. And so first, I want to definitely want to say like this phase is important. And working with contractors can be so incredibly helpful in your business. But if you're really looking to scale, then eventually you're going to look to bring people in house. And so then you're really shifting from being that manager hiring implementers to moving into more of the operator role, and making sure that you're running the business but that other people are able to start creating results. You're not just outsourcing specific tasks. But you're outsourcing results to a team, who's all in Now technically, these can still be contractors, they could still be part time contractors. But you want to consider whether their ultimate vision, their ultimate goal is to build their own business, or if they are behind your mission and vision and if they're aligned with you.

 

Robert Osborne  

Yeah, that's a great explanation. And I couldn't agree more. I just want to highlight the portion that you talk about where they are all in on the team, and they want to align their actions and their results with the vision that the CEO brings into the company.

 

Kathryn Binkley  

Yeah, absolutely! And there's nothing like that when you get to that phase, even though you know, you're not fully relieved of all of the responsibilities in the weeds of the business, it just starts to feel incredible because you start to see that this business is really bigger than you, it's more than you. And there's this culture that starts to build that just isn't there, when you have external contractors who have their own business, now you're creating that internal culture. And again, it just feels amazing once you start to do that. So that internal role, that in house team means you're stepping up to the operator level. So you're not necessarily doing all the things you're still likely doing quite a bit, you may be touching certain aspects of the business that you're responsible for. And really getting into the weeds in some cases, especially where there are problems but you're not doing it all anymore. Maybe, you're not even managing every aspect anymore, because you have other team members who you're delegating those bigger picture results for, and you're trusting that they're going to manage and oversee certain projects. In other words, you're hiring other people to manage the work as well in this space. But eventually, again, you're always going to be the bottleneck in your business, and your time needs to be freed up. 

 

Kathryn Binkley

And finally, that's when Robert gets to get hired, and you bring an integrator on board. So Robert, is my integrator, is filling this role for me, and this is what he's so excited about. But this is the stage where you actually step into that CEO role, you let go of the operator level tasks, which are really the level of leading the rest of the team when you start to hire other leaders in the business. This is the role that integrator, that COO role, or that second command role that I have served for so many businesses and you know, a couple of episodes ago mentioned that I finally had to come to terms with letting that go. And I can tell you, it's not easy. So I know what you are going through as a CEO when you need to make that transition from operator into that CEO role. But I can tell you, it's integral your business needs it, if you really want to scale to your full potential, you can make your way to six figures as a solopreneur. Or as a manager, you can start to scale to multiple six figures in that operator role. But if you really want to scale to seven figures, you have to step into the role of CEO. And that means not only do you have a team that's supporting you, but now you're bringing on another leader to lead that team. So you're not the one responsible for direction for every team member review and feedback to every team member. Essentially, you're not responsible for accountability of every team member at the ground level. Yes, at a high level, of course, as the CEO, you're always responsible, but you need someone to take some of that leadership work off of your plate.

 

Robert Osborne  

Yeah, exactly. And the integrator is the exact role that is going to help to provide that deck plate leadership where they're, they're operating on the day to day activities. And it really gives you the bandwidth as the CEO to make those big visionary decisions and to brainstorm opportunities to scale the business.

 

Kathryn Binkley  

Yeah, that integrator role is not just managing any single function of the business. The reason they call it integrator is because they're integrating the teams are integrating all of those departments. So they're making sure the entire business is running well, they're making sure the team isn't just a team of people doing what they need to do, but that they're a high performing team. And so that's the phase where you get to step into being the CEO. You get to focus on the bigger picture, you get to feel excited about creating those ideas, thinking about the future, building relationships, focusing on that team culture and team building aspect from that bigger picture view, you get to make the key decisions, strategic decisions in the business, but then you're just communicating that and the integrator makes it a reality. So at this phase, you're really thinking big picture and making decisions and then communicating those decisions to the integrator to turn them into their reality that they can be the potential that they can be by leading the team to get those results. You'll know that you're ready for that level, again, when your capacity is maxed out when you've let go of tasks. But now your capacity is limited even just in the leadership-related responsibilities. You'll know that you're ready for an integrator when you have multiple people in multiple roles functions, departments within the company who need to work together to get a result. You know, we talk a lot about these different functions or departments. And this is the phase where you're really starting to treat your business like a company instead of a teeny tiny business and buy everyone else's definitely And these businesses are still small, but you're starting to imagine them as something bigger, you're starting to treat them and organize them in a way that requires more oversight from someone else who can really integrate all the parts and pieces.

 

Robert Osborne  

Yeah. And if you kind of think about it in that true CEO phase. The CEO is really the leader of the company, if you think of it as the very top of the echelon, and then you, the departments that operate within the company are what make things actually become reality. So when the integrator steps in his or her role is really to connect the top of the hierarchy into each of the inner operational departments. That's the way that I see it.

 

Kathryn Binkley  

Yeah, absolutely. So many of you. Again, as I said, at the beginning, you're excited about the results of being in that CEO role, you're excited about what's possible for your business. And you're excited about what's possible again, in your life, because finally, you'll have the freedom that you want. But you can't just rush there, there are a few steps in between. and even within each phase, there are levels because even as you hire an integrator, you need to train them and guide them, you need to make sure that they're ready to take over the reins before you just drop everything and run. Trust me, it's tempting to just want to drop it. And then you know, go sit on the beach and read a book that sounds amazing. But, you still have to stay in it with them and make sure that they have their arms around things before you just let go. So they're even phases within that. But the other thing that most of you may be thinking is that, that's the ultimate goal. Many of you aren't thinking beyond stepping into that CEO role and having more time and freedom, you still want to be a part of the business maybe. But you haven't even thought beyond that. 

 

Kathryn Binkley

And so the fifth phase that I really want to touch on here, is when you move out of the CEO role, we talk a lot about moving into the CEO role. But I want you to start thinking about your ultimate vision. And if you always want to be in the CEO role, there may be a point in time, where you actually after stepping into that CEO role, scale the business to a certain point, and decided to step into just the founder role. Now, you've always been the founder, but then you exclusively serve and that founder role, which means you're a thought leader in the industry, maybe you're still providing that strategic overall, like direction, maybe you're investing into the business, maybe you're still involved at certain levels. There's different ways that this can work. But you're no longer the CEO, you bring in another CEO. That might mean you sell the business to someone else, that might mean that you keep the business but bring in someone else to serve in that role. There's a lot of ways that this can look. But I just want you to open your mind to even as much as we talk about stepping into that CEO role, there's gonna come a day where you need to be prepared to step out of it, where your business needs something from a CEO is different than what you're capable of providing in the business really outgrows you and your capability, which isn't a bad thing. 

 

Kathryn Binkley

So as a recap, there are five different levels here to scaling with a team, there are five phases that you'll go through. You'll go from "Solopreneur," to a "Manager", to an "Operator", to a "True CEO", which is what so many of us talk about and we're really aiming for. But then ultimately, there's also that fifth level of stepping into that "Founder Only" role and know that you have a vision and you want to get there fast. But you're going to need to go through these phases. And at every phase be willing to let go of what worked before and move into that next role. That might mean you need to change up your team. It might mean that even as much as you love working with a specific contractor, there comes a time where you decide to bring in a team in house and you have to let someone go not because they didn't do great work. But because it's no longer aligned with that next level, things are going to have to change. And that's just one example. 

 

Kathryn Binkley

And those things that are going to change are going to change with your team. And they're also going to change as it pertains to your own role. You have to continue to learn and grow and stretch through every single phase. And that's exactly what I work with my clients on whether you're a solopreneur or you're in that manager level right now with just a handful of team members, whether contractors or in house, I want you to know that there are phases that you need to go through and grow through in order to step into your role as a CEO. And so much of the work that we do inside of the Scale to Seven® Mastermind is on helping you to become a leader. 

 


Kathryn Binkley

Yes, we're gonna talk about operations. Yes, we're gonna talk about marketing and sales, and we're going to talk about how to hire a team. But the biggest thing that I think that you need is to lead well, because if you can lead someone well, then eventually, you'll be able to do anything you want because you'll bring on team members who can do the rest, and you just have to focus on leading them really well. 

 

Kathryn Binkley

If you want to learn more about the Scale to Seven® Mastermind, then definitely visit kathrynbinkley.com/scale-to-seven. Learn more about what that entails and get on the waitlist. Today the waitlist is open now. Pretty soon we're going to open the doors but only to the waitlist. And then if you're on that waitlist, you're gonna get some exclusive bonuses, including a workshop that's coming up called Delegate to Elevate. You're gonna get that as a bonus just for joining Scale to Seven®, if you're on the waitlist and roll when the doors open to that waitlist here soon. So go check that out! And in the meantime, set a goal to improve your leadership every day. Set a goal to really focus on one step at a time, one phase at a time becoming that seven figures CEO. 


Kathryn Binkley

Hey, if you're ready to scale to seven, I want to invite you to join the scale to seven Mastermind. It's my coaching program designed to turn your online business into a self sustaining scalable business that can generate millions. Just head over to kathrynbinkley.com/scale-to-seven. We'll see you inside!

 

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