To master anything you must first master the fundamentals. The fundamentals, those pesky building blocks that stand between the novice and the master, can be found in any activity you might consider. They are the scales and the chords on the piano, the coordination of the ailerons, rudder and elevator in the airplane, and prospecting, presentations and closing in the sales process.
Building a company is no different. The basic infrastructure must be in place and tested before much growth is piled on top of it. A faulty foundation will eventually crack under the pressure if it is not properly set. I manage this oscillation constantly in my companies, the pendulum-like swing between infrastructural growth and sales growth. Too many sales and insufficient infrastructure is just as dangerous as an over-built infrastructure and too few sales. Striking a balance between infrastructure development and revenue generation ought to be a central concern to any business owner.
Beyond knowing it for yourself, communicating which phase you’re in to the entire organization is extremely important. Knowing whether the dominant concern is consolidation or expansion makes decision-making easier. It brings people together. It prevents many of the cross-currents which undermine the effectiveness of a department or an organization from forming. It allows everyone to pull in the same direction.
Refinement is the simple process of getting better at the fundamentals. A master is a master because of his ability to string together a series of perfectly executed fundamentals. In this sense you are never “above” the fundamentals.