About Mark Otto
As an executive, entrepreneur, author, and consultant, Mark Otto has provided management insight to organizations for more than 20 years. He is the founder of GrowthMine, which provides strategic advisory services to growth companies to help them navigate the management challenges they will face as they grow and scale. Differentiated by his experience in building and leading high-growth businesses, Mark has guided companies through every stage of growth from new venture to market leader.
Mark started GrowthMine as a result of his experiences with companies pushed to the brink by explosive growth. He is focused on issues related to business growth and the challenges faced by leaders of high-growth companies as they seek to expand and scale. Through his work with high-growth CEOs, executives, and their teams, he has developed a deep understanding of the personal, strategic, operational, and organizational challenges growth companies face as they grow and scale.
Mark is a frequently requested keynote speaker to executive groups and business organizations. He developed the Stages of Business Growth and the Growing Pains Diagnostic to help companies identify and solve their most pressing growth-related problems. He is the author of several eBooks and white papers, which are required reading on the subject of entrepreneurial leadership and business growth. Mark also shares advice, insights, and inspiration for dealing with the challenges of growing companies on his blog.
In 1999, I was a senior leader in a fast growing financial services company in Austin, Texas. We were intelligent, hard working and wildly ambitious. And we had a lot to celebrate. We had grown the business from a handful of customers to $3 billion in sales in just three years. Wall Street loved us. We won all kinds of awards and recognition. And an IPO was just months away. I believed we had found the formula for growth and success. And I was wrong.
Less than a year later, we filed a $1 billion Chapter 11 bankruptcy. We closed 30 offices, laid off 1,200 people, and went down as one of the biggest business failures in Texas history.
I couldn’t make sense out of what had just happened. Why was it so hard to scale a company and keep it growing? What separates those that successfully grow from small to big from those that don’t?
I wanted to know where the information was that could help a leader steer a business through the difficult terrain that lies between small and big? Most of the attention in the business press and consulting industries gets focused on the extreme ends of the spectrum (very small businesses and very large businesses), and I thought it was time that someone address the real problems that growth companies face.
So more than ten years ago I set out to understand what enables a small company to become a successful big company. As an executive, entrepreneur and now as a consultant, I’ve guided companies through every stage of growth from start-up to market leadership. Being that intimately involved in the business growth process and experiencing it over and over again, in businesses in all kinds of industries, I’ve learned what it takes to grow a small company into a big company, patterns that successful and unsuccessful companies follow, and predictable stages that all organizations must pass through.
I started GrowthMine to help guide leaders of growing companies through all the stages of growth to achieve long-term success.