sales and marketing

Have you hit a wall with your business growth?

A Harvard Business Review article found that only 10% of businesses that stall in growth will actually recover.

Don’t let that number bring you down. Getting ahead of a wall comes down to acting quickly using the right methods—and thinking like an entrepreneur. 

But even the best entrepreneurs have their own ideas when it comes to carving out a path to sustainable growth, so how do you know what makes the most sense for you?

In this blog, we’ll cover a few common entrepreneurial methods, narrow in one strategy for small-to-midsize businesses, and discuss how the right leadership can help you properly execute your chosen strategy.

3 Ways Entrepreneurs Make Their Moves

No matter how new or mature your business is, thinking like an entrepreneur can help you plan for growth and get ahead of any stalls you might be experiencing—but you need to choose wisely. Let’s examine a few methods that might work best for you.

First up is the lean startup methodology, founded by author and entrepreneur Eric Ries. This approach, as the name applies, is especially useful for startups looking to get off the ground, but it also works for building new products or offerings.  

It’s built around three simple steps—build, measure, and learn—that work cyclically rather than linearly. Put simply, the methodology uses the “wait and see” approach, letting you experiment with products and offerings, testing how well they work, and making changes as you learn more.

Second, let’s look at the entrepreneurial method, which also gives you plenty of room to experiment and learn. But unlike our first methodology, this approach weaves in two important preliminary steps: the questioning phase and the observation phase. 

The goal of this method is to define a problem first, and then use that line of thinking to inform the research you do next. It’s an inquisitive, problem-solving approach that works well for product development and strategy refinement. 

Third, there’s the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). Unlike many business models, the EOS model is people-first, focused on getting team members rallying toward a single, defined purpose and giving those people the resources they need to achieve the overall goal of the business.

Rather than using steps, the EOS model is built on 6 core components: Vision, People, Data, Process, Issues, and Traction. Each component builds on the next, creating a complete system for addressing business growth rather than just patching holes in your current approach.

Related: 8 Signs Your B2B Marketing Needs an Overhaul

Narrowing Down the Options


While there are more than three ways to execute a growth development plan for your business, the three we’ve outlined above will set you off on the right foot. Your job now is to define what it is you’re trying to achieve.

If you’re staring at a drawing board looking for help creating new products, then the lean startup methodology might serve you best. If you want both better products and need to reevaluate your business approach overall, then the entrepreneurial method might be what you’re looking for. 

Both of these methods are especially useful for early-stage businesses, but for those in the small-to-midsize range, the EOS method might be a better fit.

Here’s why: Organizations in that range aren’t just looking for a way to reach customers. They need a way to do day-to-day business better, and that’s a people-focused approach, not a product-focused one.

The EOS model is all about improving clarity and focus in your business by defining your “what.” When everyone on the team is clear about where they’re headed, it’s easier to build a path everyone can agree on and follow.

Plus, because the model is focused on people first, it makes accountability the norm. By defining who is responsible for what and outlining the steps every individual needs to take, there’s no room for ambiguity.

Related: 3 Small Businesses That Bloomed With The Help of Fractional CMOs

Time to Execute! Picking a Leader Who “Gets” It


Regardless of the method you pick, executing it is more than half the battle—and getting everyone in your team on board is challenging enough to do on your own.

If you’re serious about breaking through your growth ceiling, you’ll want to invest in a CMO who’s an expert in your chosen methodology and who understands your goals.

There’s often a major leadership gap in the marketing realm, and if that sounds like you, you can read all about closing that gap here. But we’ll keep things short: If you think hiring a full-time marketing director or CMO is your only solution, you (and your budget) can take a deep breath.

Fractional CMOs are a cost-friendly alternative that gives you all the benefits of full-time marketing leadership at a fraction of the cost. But unlike outside agencies or a consultant, they become part of your team, help you build and execute a marketing strategy, and stay on to ensure you’re getting the results you want.

And because fractional CMOs have a breadth of experience across all kinds of industries, many are often familiar with the growth models you might be considering. For instance, many of our fractional leaders have used the EOS model—with great success—with dozens of your peers. 

When you find a leader who understands what you’re trying to accomplish, executing your growth method suddenly seems a lot more doable.

If you’re ready to find a senior marketing leader who can help you get this type of alignment, click here to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our fractional CMOs.


Need guidance knowing how to best use AI to enhance your marketing approach?

Check out The Role of AI in Marketing for practical advice and insights from real-world peers.
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