Think Bigger

Heading for the Exits

Their work done, it's on to the next success story.

Not all entrepreneurs stay around when the companies they found hit it big. "When the business becomes larger and more complicated, even bureaucratic, it's not fun anymore. Entrepreneurs who feel that way walk away," says Thomas L. Doorley III of Deloitte & Touche. "They say to themselves, 'This is not the company I wanted.'"

Mark Kvamme, 39, has been there. Kvamme and two co-founders built the integrated marketing company CKS Group into a $150 million company. When they merged CKS Group with Internet service company USWeb Corp., the move added another $100 million in assets. "There were more employees, and there was a larger executive staff. At each stage, we lost people because the company got big," Kvamme says. "Some like the small, intimate groups."

Kvamme was one of those people. Less than one year after the merger, he relinquished his spot as CEO at USWeb/CKS and became chair. "Right then I was on the board of Connectify, a new company run by two of my old buddies," remembers Kvamme. "It was very much like the early days of CKS, when we were three guys trying to do something new."

As a partner at VC firm Sequoia Capital, Kvamme stays close to his entrepreneurial roots by helping fledgling companies find capital and by offering those companies support and advice through various board memberships. "I couldn't be CEO [of USWeb/CKS] and be on lots of boards of small companies," he says. "I'm having more fun helping young companies [become] large companies."

Think and Grow Big

The 10 essential steps to creating a high-growth company

1. Believe deeply that growth drives value creation.
2. Articulate a growth vision and embed it throughout the organization.
3. Link growth performance to rewards and recognition.
4. Create a valuable formula as a platform for long-term growth.
5. Manage the valuable formula across the growth cycle.
6. Globalize the valuable formula; maintain integrity and modify locally.
7. Identify and nurture all growth-supporting processes.
8. Leverage two key strategic weapons-innovation and alliances-to exploit valuable formulas.
9. Benchmark growth foundations vs. the "best of the best," and aim to beat them.
10. Design and implement initiatives to align foundations.

Source: Thomas L. Doorley III of Deloitte & Touche


Cynthia Harrington, a freelance writer in Austin, Texas, writes about business for a variety of publications, including Bloomberg Wealth Manager and Senior magazines.

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This article was originally published in the December 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Think Bigger.

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