Growing a Business Beyond the Founder

Every once in awhile you have a conversation and you kinda know it’s going to be a game changer. Several years ago I had one of those conversations with Christine Hollinden, founder of Hollinden Marketers and Strategists. In fact, it is because of that conversation with Christine that I have this podcast and my book “Think Beyond Value: Building Strategy to Win.”

Even though I’d been applying V-REEL™ in the academic environment and with consulting clients for years, Christine opened my eyes to the potential for bringing V-REEL™ to the masses through a book and other products. In essence, Christine helped me realize that I could put enabling resources and capabilities in place to build something around the V-REEL™ Framework.

“It just struck me from the moment you started describing V-REEL™ that this is powerful. I’ve read everything that’s out there. I’ve tried different ways of thinking about strategy and about growing my business and once you started talking about V-REEL™, I knew that it was more powerful than anything I had seen,” she said.

When Christine and I sat down for a V-REEL™ session several years ago, it was clear that she had a real opportunity to create value in a manner that is rare for her market. She has broad experience that forms some strong distinctive competencies. But then we got to talking about eroding and enabling factors.

“It became very clear why we were experiencing massive amounts of growth and then suddenly hitting a wall. It wasn’t about our thinking or our services. It wasn’t that we were getting behind the times. It was me,” she recalled.

It’s not uncommon. Entrepreneurs start businesses because they are really good at what they do but then comes the growth challenge. Christine and I discussed how to grow beyond a founder who has a certain knowledge and rareness. It comes down to putting enablers in place so you can scale beyond the founder’s particular expertise.

“We talked about how I needed to structure the organization so that I could continue to create value and do the things I enjoy without creating more stress for myself and the organization,” she said.

Christine took a hard look internally to identify what she really wanted. She could have chosen to remain essentially a one-person operation but she didn’t want that so she needed to put enablers in place in her organization so she could grow. She needed to build a team that could work together to deliver value for clients.

“One of the powerful things about V-REEL™, unlike some of the other approaches I’ve tried to implement, is the way it very naturally integrates into the organization that is comfortable yet extremely powerful,” she said.

Christine and her team now help their clients – primarily accountants – adopt a different mindset and a different way of communicating with their clients such that now they are talking about the future with customers. And in the end teaching that new way of thinking is very valuable.

When you start looking forward and thinking about eroding factors and enabling factors, you wind up discovering how to create more value for your customer. And, of course, that’s the goal.

“Firms that are embracing that concept are doing extremely well. You see it in growth rates, their ability to recruit. And that’s what I find so exciting about V-REEL™, not only for my own organization but learning the concepts so that I can then apply that thinking and bring it to our clients and help them see the future in a different way,” she said.