How Fast Is Too Fast For Your Startup To Grow?

brett fox
3 min readJul 18, 2022

“We are going to grow our earnings by one penny per share per quarter,” Jack Gifford, Maxim Integrated Products founding CEO, regularly said to public market sell side analysts. And every quarter, like a clock, the company grew earnings at one penny per quarter or better.

Picturing: Depositphotos

It sounds boring doesn’t it? One penny per quarter growth in earnings. However, those bottom line numbers compound. Soon, your earnings grow pretty quickly.

Investors that held the stock long term were richly rewarded. With this strategy Maxim’s stock grew in value over 20,000% in a ten year span. That means if you invested $1000, ten years later your investment would have been worth $2,000,000.

Controlled growth is one of the greatest lessons I ever learned.

I had a front row seat as a key member of the team Gifford built to grow Maxim into a greater than billion dollar revenue company. There were so many great lessons I learned during my ten plus years at Maxim. One of the greatest lessons was the concept of controlled growth.

The concept of controlled growth is simple to understand, but it’s hard to implement. Once you hit “scale”, you want to grow your top and bottom line in a predictable manner.

In Maxim’s case, it meant growing revenue a 30–50% clip every year. Before you know it, a $100 million revenue company becomes a billion dollar revenue company.

You should see increased profitability as your revenue grows.

Your gross margins and your profitability should start increasing as your revenue increases. Or, if you’re not profitable, then you should hit break even at some point as your revenue increases.

Where you hit break even depends on the type of company you’re building. In my world of analog semiconductors, you should hit break even revenue around $20 million.

Your costs will determine where you hit break even.

However, I’m involved with another company in the semiconductor space that will not hit break even until revenue exceeds over $100 million per year. The reason is there are significant costs…

brett fox

I work with startup CEOs to help them grow their businesses . I built several businesses from $0 to >$100M. Learn more at