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Elite Business: The six phases of business leadership to deliver your legacy

Elite Business: The six phases of business leadership to deliver your legacy

In this article, originally featured in Elite Business: To create wealth as a business owner, you need to change how and what you lead over time.


Wealth creation is a strategy, not luck. As a business owner, embracing change is vital to remain relevant, grow, and win in a noisy and competitive market. It’s essential to wealth creation.

Across your lifespan as a business owner, how you lead your business determines your wealth creation outcome. As your company grows, how you lead and direct it must change to ensure it becomes your greatest wealth-generating asset. 

Using a framework against which to know when and how to change the way you lead a business is helpful. I’ve noticed six distinct shifts in leadership attention and direction that enable the likelihood that your business and career generate wealth and a legacy.

Positioning growth leadership

This is about understanding what business you are in defined not by your product or service but by who you serve, what problem your product or service solves for them and what the ideal engagement experience would be to favour your business above competitors. When you start, it’s about serving anyone and everyone in your industry. It ends when you can prioritise less than a handful of segments you want to dominate in the future. This engagement experience includes how to market, sell, fulfill and retain your customers and forms the blueprint of your business model.

Organic growth leadership

Once we know what business we are in and who our customer segments are, the next phase of leadership centres on scaling your customer engagement and fulfilment system using the blueprint. Put differently, it is about building commercial processes and systems, which you can delegate to a team that will create a reliable, consistent customer experience. Getting this right is vital to release your time from daily operations to deliver the next phase of leadership growth.

Accelerated growth leadership

At this point, at least 70% of your attention should focus on accelerating your growth to dominate your segments by deepening your market share of the segments you have chosen to dominate. For example, if a furniture manufacturer decides to dominate the SOHO segment, calculate its approximate value and ensure you develop and enable market access strategies, campaigns and relationships that deepen your market share.

Next-level growth leadership

As you deepen your share of the segment you’ve defined your business against, the next phase of leadership is about de-risking your exposure to that segment and deepening your profitability. In my book, Sweat-Scale-Sell, I highlight the trickiness of this phase of leadership through the story of Jack the Baker. 

Having positioned his business to solve the requirement of 365-fresh-baked-goods for continental breakfast to hotels, he created the ideal experience with his team to dominate this segment in the hospitality industry. His next-level growth play saw him translate the same proposition into the supermarket segment across food retail to solve the problem of morning trade. 

It brought in a new source of revenue that could be serviced off his scalable fulfilment platform, necessitating only a moderate cost increase. The “yawn” between revenue and costs dropped down to the bottom line and a significant shift in profitability. The key to next-level growth is that leveraging your fulfilment platform solves the same problem. It was and remains the blueprint against which his brand, commercial system and team had become expert at delivering. 

Capital growth leadership

This phase ensures you lock in your business value for a successful capital exit. From start to exit, over a 20–30-year period, a business built and led against the above framework should achieve a capital exit above £50m. 

Yes, it is possible, and you can do it. I’ve seen this year in and out across the UK, USA and EU companies. Retiring in the sun by the sea is for the birds, bringing us to the final phase of leadership.  

Legacy growth leadership

The opportunity to create a Family Office to house the capital gained from an exit is worth considering. Set aside a portion of the funds within your Family Office to invest in a few early-stage companies within the industry in which you have successfully built your now-former business. You will have the network and relationships to spot young winners who benefit from your knowledge, insight, relationships, and mentorship. Investing in them can keep you in the game at a strategic level, not a daily grind, and allow you to remain relevant and enjoy a life of purpose and meaning. 

Wealth has three elements: Make money, the first 2 phases; Grow money – the subsequent 2 phases. And Protect money, the last 2 phases. Having a plan to make it happen is as important as enacting it. It will set you apart from the 94.6% of businesses started that ultimately close. It will also let you continue serving humankind, arguably a key to a rich, fulfilling and contended life.

Elite Business: Lead you must, so set the right destination!

Elite Business: Lead you must, so set the right destination!

In this article, originally featured in Elite Business: A goal that can’t be measured is meaningless, you need to calculate the numerical value of the business you’re working towards


A business owner has little choice but to lead their business. And you cannot lead without a destination or goal to guide and direct your leadership. So, what should it be?

I always ask about the future when I meet with a business owner. It’s the only thing we have control over. Mostly, in response to my opening line, “Where do you want to be in 3-5 years from now?”, answers talk about doubling growth or reaching a leading brand status. Alternatively, it is to exit the business, but without a clearly stated value.

I’ve always found these vague answers limiting as a destination. A better approach is to create a framework to lead that incorporates the entire business and team.

A business is a dynamic system of people, products, activities, and money. A single metric or two does not cater to this complexity and is not sophisticated enough to drive the well-being of a business and its intended outcome or destination. 

Your company’s enterprise value offers a comprehensive, yet simple-enough-to-manage destination. It requires that you understand how your company would be valued, and the good news is that company valuation is largely in your control. It has five primary levers that you can design, build, manage and pull in your favour to maximise your valuation. At the same time, these “levers” incorporate your team, products, services, customers, and suppliers. It is decidedly comprehensive yet simple.

The levers of valuation can primarily be presented in 5 areas of attention.

Positioning:How do you differentiate your business in the eyes of customers?

To strategically position your business for growth, it is imperative to differentiate it in customers’ eyes by clearly defining your target audience, addressing their problems, and crafting a unique and compelling customer experience. Identify the segments you serve and articulate the value proposition you offer to each. 

Measure your success by overall market growth and assess your segment market share expansion. This approach ensures a focused and tailored strategy that resonates with your audience, fostering sustainable business development.

A system of delivery: How do you achieve consistent, reliable customer experiences?

To establish consistent and reliable customer experiences, integrate commercial functions within a unified system to streamline your business positioning. It involves aligning various customer identification, acquisition, fulfilment, and retention activities. By focusing on the seamless coordination of these elements, businesses can achieve a standardised and dependable approach to customer interactions, ensuring continuity and reliability throughout the entire customer journey.

Measure the effectiveness of each commercial function by tracking key outcomes resulting from the activities within the integrated system. 

A purposeful team: How do you always get the right people to do the right thing?

To consistently align actions with strategic goals you need a deliberate approach to human resources. Recruit and train new hires to operate the systems that deliver your business positioning. By cultivating a workforce that understands and executes their roles within the overarching business strategy, you can foster a culture where the right people consistently contribute to achieving the right outcomes, enhancing overall organisational effectiveness.

To gauge success, measure staff retention rates and performance outcomes against specific job descriptions. 

Growth: How do you grow revenue and profitability?

Accelerate growth by harnessing the power of your scalable commercial platform. If you have pulled the first three levers, the platform now has the capacity to handle increasing demands and adapt to evolving business needs. 

Evaluate success through clear metrics, measuring not only overall revenue growth but also assessing improvements in profitability. This approach ensures that as your business expands, the commercial platform remains a dynamic and efficient engine for sustained growth, allowing you to capitalise on emerging opportunities and optimise financial performance.

Dependencies: How do you secure your value?

To secure your business’s enduring value, focus on the succession and transfer of operational and managerial responsibilities. Develop a robust plan that systematically identifies key roles; documents critical processes; and grooms internal talent. By ensuring a smooth transition of duties, you strengthen the organisation’s foundation, mitigating risks associated with key personnel changes. This strategic focus safeguards the continuity of operations. It contributes to your business’s long-term sustainability and resilience, solidifying its intrinsic value.

Applying your time and attention to these five levers and creating a framework around them lets you lead with purpose, intent, and consistency. Suppose you go further and involve your leadership team in defining the framework. In that case, it brings the efforts of your leadership team and their teams together within a framework everyone understands and is governed by.

Leadership is about building confidence and clarity of purpose. It’s about getting your people on board and ensuring you are sailing towards one articulated destination. Getting it right is hard until it is not. The starting point is choosing that destination.

This Week@Work: If you allow it to rust and atrophy, you’ll not have it when you need it!

This Week@Work: If you allow it to rust and atrophy, you’ll not have it when you need it!

This Week@Work, a rusty bike chain made Pavlo think of Zig Ziglar, who started out as a door-to-door salesperson.

Zig understood the art of hunting for business, something that most business owners have gotten rusty at since we started to rely on digital media to bring business to our door.

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This Week@Work: Growth needs to be led, ideally by you

This Week@Work: Growth needs to be led, ideally by you.

This Week@Work, Pavlo presented a series of workshops with business owners looking for scale and growth, of course! One of the big discussion points was who should lead that growth. As the business owner you’re the biggest investor in your business and growth inherently carries risk.

You need to be the one driving growth as you have everything to lose or gain from it.

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Ship Sailing

This Week@Work: Building a business is like sailing a ship 

This Week@Work Pavlo visit an old warship to bring to life an analogy that building a business is like sailing a ship.

Both a ship and a business need: A destination, a crew that operates clear systems, and a Captain, whose time is either spent in the engine room or up on the bridge.  

Watch as he takes you on a quick tour 

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This Week@Work: The 5 levers of business valuation

There are 2 elements that go into valuation: The first is the 5 technical levers of valuation which can be built into your business, the other 40% is all about how you strategically exit your business.

Click below to watch as I outline the 5. I have also created blogs based on The Money Show podcasts, which unpack each of these in more detail. Find those here.

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