First Gear - This is the startup gear.  In this phase of business, the services and products are often conceptual and unproven. There aren’t sufficient revenues and the business is being driven by a small number of people who probably multi-task.  Raising capital is a key priority. In this gear, entrepreneurial spirit is driving the process.

Second Gear – This is a critical phase of the business growth process.  It is supposed to be a transitional gear.  It is the phase where products have been more formally defined.  It’s likely there are customers who have validated products or services.  Typically the team has started to expand.  Problems in this gear usually involve growth and scaling. Leveraging people, processes and organizational structure is critical.   Effective management begins to replace entrepreneurial spirit and brute force as key ingredients to success.  Some companies move through 2nd gear successfully, getting the key processes and adjustments in place, while other companies get stuck.  Growth stalls, revenues plateau, and despite intense effort they can’t get to the next level.  We call it “stuck in 2nd gear.” 

3rdGEAR LLC can help  companies that find themselves "stuck in second"  identify what is holding them back and then make the shift to the next level.

Third Gear **– Like with a car, this is a gear of higher performance.   Your business is finding its stride.  Profits become more predictable. You have learned to work “on the business” rather than “in the business.”  It’s a smoother running machine with organized teams and repeatable finance, marketing, sales, and production processes. The focus is on management capability and execution skills.

You have made it out of second gear and  you have a "second in command."  You might even be able to take a vacation!


**Over the last 15 years,  many companies  are finding there are no gears!  More and more companies are finding they need to compete in an exponential world where the rules are different.  Consider that the company providing more overnight stays than any other does not even own a hotel room! Or the company that provides more “taxi rides” than any other company does not own a taxi!  Even more interesting,  they have both grown from zero to more than a billion dollars in revenue far faster than their traditional counterparts!

Read Samil Ismail’s book Exponential Organizations for timely and possibly relevant considerations in this area.