Do you have to get out of product in order to get promoted?

I’m currently a branch manager at a education business in China where I’m also the main tent-pole product/service as a teacher. My professional reputation brings people in the door, I train the other teachers besides myself on what and how to teach, and then I teach the highest level classes myself. The business growth has been great since founding in 2021 while most other similar companies are failing due to the tough regulatory environment and market headwinds. Above average profit margin and everything. So big success.

However, I feel trapped. As the main tent-pole product that can be sold, the company has a major incentive to not move me into an even higher position because they think they will lose sales. So even though I’ve really proven myself at running the business and training others, I really have the sense that the company would be too afraid to promote someone who is too successful to where they aren’t front-line customer facing anymore.

My question is: is that pretty much standard for any business? Is going through front-facing customer-product basically ankle weights that will stop you from ever moving higher within the company? If so, then I will probably change careers to go do something else where the career progression is not capped in this way, like try to just go pure business management. I think creating strong product adds a lot of value to a business but I don’t want to do it if its just going to hold me down instead of lift me up.

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