The Business Owner Pyramid

Jul 08, 2021

In every business, there are six stages that every owner and founder moves through as she grows her business.

The stages are presented as a pyramid.

I’m going to assume you already play the role of the CEO, but you share one (or all) of these jobs within the Business Owner Pyramid.

While it’s likely you wear multiple hats every day, the point here is knowing where you should spend the majority of your time—leveraging your impact across the entire organization.

Let’s start from the bottom.

Stage 1 - the technician

The Technician does the work being sold to customers. These are the folks who make the product, fulfill the service, and support your customers. They are responsible for delivering whatever it is people buy from you. In the early days of Apple Computer, Steve Wozniak was the
technician. The lawyer in her upstart law firm is a technician.

In fact, the vast majority of independent business owners are technicians. If the work stops, the money stops.


The Manager is responsible for supervising the technicians. She is in charge of ensuring the work gets done on spec and on budget. Managers spend the majority of their time on operations, quality assurance, coaching, and leading a team of technicians.

This person identifies business opportunities, generates leads, develops relationships, and closes deals.


The Marketer is responsible for spreading the vision of the organization. They tell the story of the business to the right people in the right way.

The CEO is responsible for everything in the company. Whether you’re a one-person business or have a hundred employees, this is you. You’re in charge. But if you’re still stuck spending too much time (really, any time at all) in the prior four roles, you haven’t graduated completely to
the C-suite.

The peak of the pyramid is nirvana for every person who starts a business. The Owner is the investor. She receives financial returns from the performance of the business without direct involvement in the day-to-day management and running of the business.

The CEO will report to the owner on the overall performance of the business. As an owner, real wealth is generated via payments of profits and value creation of the company.

This is where you want to be!

I see a lot first-time founders stuck in the technician and manager phase of their business model. They don’t have time to do the high leverage activities because they’re too busy just trying to do paid work.

In order to scale yourself up the business—you need an intimate understanding of your business model and its financial drivers. The numbers leave clues on how best to spend your limited resources in order to level yourself up the business owner pyramid.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be deep diving into these numbers. Be sure to follow me so you don’t miss out.

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