Many businesses never get beyond Stage Two because the entrepreneurs who grew them refuse to make the personal changes needed to accommodate the next level of growth.
Steve Carter, my first boss in the publishing industry, was that way. A true entrepreneur, he made his first fortune selling tractors to the Russians during the height of the Cold War. When I went to work for him, he had two businesses: a trading company that was selling American technology overseas and a publishing business that was reporting on international commerce.
I worked for the publishing company. (I told you a little bit about that experience in Chapter 4.) And it was apparent, right from the beginning, that Steve was a persistent entrepreneur. I remember how he would worm our way into international meetings and embassy functions and, once inside, force me to walk around with him, interrupting clusters of important businesspeople and diplomats, pushing our newsletters—literally pushing them at those people—to garner subscriptions.
Steve loved selling. And almost every conversation I had with him was about selling. This was very effective in getting our business to a certain level; but we had trouble growing it beyond that point, because we were spending money as fast as we were bringing it in. Steve wasn't interested in managing the business. He left that up to me. But I was an English literature major just back from two years in Africa with the Peace Corps. What ...