CEO Monthly Reflection | April 2024 | How to Scale with “Brilliance”

By Terence McCarron  

This month, I completed an intense week of “educational programming” geared toward owners of successful businesses this month who are experiencing rapid growth.  It was a mini-growth MBA and challenged me so much about how I got to this juncture with OpinionRoute and whether that process will serve me the same way moving forward. 

The week was uncomfortable.  Also, it was pretty great.   

Beyond just thinking of OpinionRoute, it made me think a lot about Market Research agencies and their core business and operational model.    

Program Background  

The program “Birthing of Giants” was “incubated in the halls of MIT with the partnership of Inc. Magazine… and passed to the founders of Inc. Magazine’s Business Owners Council.”  It takes place near Princeton University in NJ, and has a faculty of wildly successful business leaders (and a great tour guide!).   

The week covered so many pearls of wisdom that I wish I could share it all in one post. Instead, I’ll focus on one theme that hit me hard when considering MRX.   

Key Concept: The Ladder of Growth   

This concept thinks of business stages as a ladder.  Then, it defines how businesses can evolve to produce more enterprise value through several evolutions.  Here’s the simplified concept: 

Step 1: This is often how MRX firms (and OpinionRoute) begin.  Particular expertise or talent can be brought to individual client relationships to add value.  This is essentially an exchange of money for time and applied knowledge.   

Step 2: This is when a company transforms technical excellence into a scalable enterprise. Real knowledge and expertise get institutionalized through processes and standards.   

Step 3: Leadership Brilliance.  This is when the owner/founder becomes more about strategy and isn’t consequential to the daily operations of the business. Also, this coincides with the growth of the company leaders into masters of their particular domain- all working in unison to achieve company goals. 

Where do you think your company is?   

My theory: Since 98% of the US MRX firms are small to mid-sized businesses, many operate between Step 1 and 2.  This creates some pain inside the business.  Owners get pulled in a thousand directions, teams work overtime to deliver on time, and major risk to the business exists in the form of institutional memory of past studies. If one teammate leaves, the remaining colleagues scramble to figure things out.    

OpinionRoute’s Focus on Partnership  

One of the hallmarks of our growth has been an instinct to share what we have learned in real time with our clients.  First with sample methodologies, then with programming recommendations, fraud prevention, and feasibility strategy. This has led to the creation of a service approach and technology that speaks to many MRXers in a different way.

My hope has always been that our experience can make your road to brilliance a little smoother.  

If you’re in a stage limbo or just curious about how to navigate your current situation, we’re here for that, too.  Hit us up here and let’s chat!  Within our Exec team, I’m sure you have a resource who is happy to brainstorm together.

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