A web company might do really well with thirty people and a few million dollars in revenue. To get to a thousand people (big enough for an IPO, say), it will need to transform both the product and the way it’s sold. And in between the size it is now (which is working) and the size necessary for the public offering, there’s a dead zone. This is a leap, not a stroll.
It’s worth charting both profit per employee and owner satisfaction against the number of people in the organization. Perhaps getting a little bigger isn’t what you want, and it might not even be possible.
My takeaway is a broader lesson about size and scale