The 4 Stages of Your Business

Sometimes it is helpful to hear that we are not alone and what we are experiencing in our business is actually the ‘norm’. It is also helpful to benchmark where we are at and what we need to do to go to the next stage.

Here are the common four stages of business…which one do you relate to? As a mentor and coach my role is to help you efficiently move from one stage to the next with minimal fuss and pain. Contact me to discuss how this can happen – it’s usually a lot easier than you think!

  1. Start Up

□ It’s all about survival – doing whatever it takes to make it

□ You’re in “do it yourself” and “it’s all up to me” mode

□ You enjoy the freedom this gives you

□ You get to make decisions on the go and change your mind at a drop of a hat, and it’s okay to do this, it’s all down to you anyway

□ You put out bushfires all day

□ You can cope though, because it’s mainly just you and you know what needs to be done

□ You know everything that’s going on, and you’re the go-to person for whatever is needed

 

  1. Start Up to Initial Growth            

Keep in mind, most businesses don’t ever get out of start-up phase, because the business owner never adapts their style of doing things to allow the business to move forward.

□ Seat-of-the-pants leadership and decision making isn’t going to cut it anymore. (I should know.)

□ You need to become more strategic, and you need to start thinking ahead and planning how it’s all going to happen. People can’t sit around waiting to see which way you want them to jump today.

□ Change your role from doing to decision maker and delegate effectively

□ Learn the difference between delegation and abdication – you don’t give it to someone in the hope they’ll sort it out for you

□ You need to decide which way the business is heading, delegate what needs to get done that isn’t core to your business (sales and marketing) and monitor the progress made on the projects with key performance indicators and regular feedback and reviews so everyone knows where they stand and how they’re progressing

□ You will be the bottleneck if you keep making all the decisions yourself

□ You need to shift from bush fire management to anticipation, planning, design of systems and procedures

Initial growth is often difficult to manage because every step means growing pains and systemising and doing things so that others can as well.

It’s a time in the business where everything is more complex, and you have to rely on others to get things done and to make decisions. Unless you’re across everything in detail all the time, you would only get in the way.

It will actually become physically impossible to do everything you need to do. You will find people will want your time but you don’t have time for them. Bushfires seems to be lighting up everywhere – you put one out and five more appear.

 

  1. Initial Growth to Rapid Growth            

You need to become more of a team builder and planner. Your focus is on getting a management team in place and building a steady and strong infrastructure.

You’re going to become even more proactive in recognising what your business needs and do so before you get to crisis stage.

You need to be thinking in one year horizons and acting in 90 day cycles with weekly and daily focus. You want to hire people who are better at their roles than you could ever be. They are specialists who focus solely on that function or area.

You’re now moving more towards having to make sure your team come together and that there is team cohesiveness.

 

  1. Rapid growth

Your product, service or program is ready, proven and sells. The market is growing and your sales are going up.

Survival is not on your mind – you’re trying to ride the wave, make the most of what’s going on and keep the momentum going.

This is what’s interesting – infrastructure at this stage will be lower than the next stage – maturity. Make the most of this phase, save as much money as you can, maximise profits and pay off your house or any other big bills. When you get to maturity infrastructure will have caught up with turnover and it won’t be as much fun in terms of cashflow!

(c) The Coaching Institute 2016

Brain Hack – Seeing Opportunity in Competitive Markets

SITUATION: you are seeing nothing but competition out there and feeling your industry is so saturated it is the major block to your success.
Brain hack by David Lennon
Use this brain hack to improve your business
Firstly…I would like to say, ‘yes, your industry and location may well be saturated and competitive’.
 
BUT…I’d like to share a brain hack to help you in this situation and point out a MASSIVE danger in believing competition is high
 
Our brains receive millions of bits of info every minute and to survive and not overload, they are designed to filter out information that is considered unimportant. Think of your computer…if you open heaps of programs and have lots running in the background it starts bogging down. Our brains are the same. Our brains focus on what they believe is ‘important’.
 
Why is this important to this business situation?  This is the awesome brain hack! If we have the belief our industry is saturated…our BRAINS WILL FILTER OUT and DELIVER TO US INFORMATION THAT SUPPORTS THAT BELIEF!
 
You have told your brain what is ‘important’. It then discards info that doesn’t match what you believe is important.
 
This is why when you buy a certain car, get a certain dog, start a certain hobby etc you suddenly notice them everywhere.
 
Your brain will notice all the inputs it receives that back up your belief that the market is saturated/competitive, and as a result, you don’t see the opportunities!
 
BRAIN HACK: If you switch your thinking and tell yourself that there is loads of opportunity in the saturated market and an absolute gold mine to be tapped into, your brain will start to deliver information that supports this.
 
I see competitive markets as opportunity because I know everyone is pretty much doing the same as everyone else in terms of service and product. And this means there is opportunity to do something different and better and stand out amongst the majority.
 
The brain hack that will help you see opportunity, is to simply start thinking it. And it doesn’t take long. Our brains are amazing computers that work extremely fast. Just try it for 30 mins and notice the difference in your thinking and the ideas that come.
 
As always, here if you’d like help or want to discuss in further detail or run a brainstorming session in your business. 🙂

Business Owners Need a Shot of O2!

‘That was like a shot of O2!’

This was a comment from one of my clients last week after our one hour session. He was motivated and pumped about his business again and felt like he’d had a shot of O2.

So often we focus on the financial rewards or reducing long hours and stress…but passion, excitement, motivation, enthusiasm and love for the work is equally important. And something I definitely can bring back to your life and business.

How did this particular client get a shot of O2? He was in a common situation of not knowing how to attract more work.

Finding and winning work is my specialty.

In our one-hour session we did two key things that gave him his O2 shot:

1. Build a quick table of existing customer categories ranked by dollars they spend, ease of dealing with them (A, B, C types, A are awesome, B are bread and butter, C are complainers and challenging), how he won them in the first place, and growth potential.

2. He was then able to look at this table and confirm which type of customer he wants more of. Great – all I need is to know is what type of customer you want and I’ll tell you have to get more of them. And that is what I did. I gave him a clear plan on how to win more of his target customer.

He came into the session starved of oxygen due to confusion about how to get more business. And I totally understand and appreciate this. When we do laps in our heads we burn ‘oxygen’ and it’s draining. We all need external input, help, advice in business, ie oxygen shots. I have my coaches and mentors.

If you are feeling you need a shot of oxygen – I’m here, at your service. Bottles of O2 in abundant supply!

5 Essentials to Include in Your Business Development Plan

SITUATION: You feel you need to write a business development plan for 2018 but the thought of it bores you to death, or you can’t decide what to put in it, or you don’t have the time…or all of the above!

SOLUTION: Try my C-L-E-A-R business development plan format. It might be just the thing you need. It’s quick and simple but covers the absolute essentials that will make a difference.

C = customer.

What customers do you want in 2018? Most businesses have three main types, A, B and C.

‘A’ stands for awesome. They buy big, don’t mind paying and they love you.

‘B’ are bread and butter customers. They are the regulars, they just keep coming and provide the bulk of your revenue.

‘C’ are the complainers. Never happy, haggle on price and take the most time to serve.

You can’t buy more time in life. Don’t waste time chasing customers that aren’t going to take you to your goal. Do you need to change your mix of customers in 2018? Who will you focus on? Get real clear on this. Your marketing, your presentation, your strategies, your staff, your product, your pricing…everything, is dictated by who you want as a customer.

L = looking for?

What are your target customers looking for in 2018? Features, pricing, packages, service etc. Get clear on this. Brainstorm with your team, customers, partner, colleague, customers, suppliers, customers, coach, and customers. Hint: ask your customers what they want! 🙂 In order to win more of a particular customer you would like in 2018, what do you need to provide?

E = earnings.

How much do you want to earn in 2018? How much do you want to pay yourself? How many customers do you need to achieve this? Or how many sales of products XYZ?

There is immense power in writing this number down. It makes a very powerful statement to the universe and your subconscious. Our brains prioritise what they focus on and notice. They have to. Our brains are processing millions and millions of bits of info every second. If our brains didn’t filter this info they would bog down like a computer with too many programs running. By writing your goals down, you help your brain know what it should focus on. The result? You will ‘miraculously’ notice opportunities you didn’t before because your subconscious is showing them to you. It’s the red car effect. You buy a red car (or a particular model) and suddenly there seem to be hundreds on the road.

A = actions required?

What actions are required to achieve the above? You might want to break it down into monthly actions, quarterly actions. Or weekly. Just as you don’t plan a dream holiday and then do nothing about it, get clear on what actions need to be taken. And this can include what different actions you need to take. What type of person do you need to be?

Workshop the actions required with your team. Very important if you want them to be clear on your plans and vision for 2018.

R = roles and responsibilities?

Now you have your action list, put names and dates to each action. Who will do them? If your team is involved, it is best to workshop this with them so they are on board. Do you need an accountability buddy to keep you on track? Break actions down into bite size pieces so they get done rather than delayed.

If you have staff that are not doing the actions you want, I have a module on the 5 common reasons and what to do about it. Email me if you want to know.

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So there you go! Simple business planning with the essentials you need to kick goals.

Have fun with it. Here if you need help.

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