Tag: business

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

Are you Flogging a Dead Horse?

When to throw in the towel

Are you chasing your business dream but feeling like you are treading water? You could be flogging a dead horse.

‘Don’t quit!’ ‘Never give up!’

Rubbish!

The most successful entrepreneurs quit fast and cheap and without guilt. They move on quickly when they hit a dry gully. It is known in the game as ‘pivoting’. But how do you know when that horse has died? Here are three red flags for me when I’m talking to a client about their business.

1. You’ve been at it for 3 or more years and you are still not profitable.
Businesses, like farming, take time. You need to plant the seeds of your business, nurture your customer base, and grow the best mix of products. There seems to be a magic three year mark regardless of the industry. At this point, you should really be starting to see a steady inflow of customers. If after 3 years you are struggling, something is wrong and it could be terminal. Especially if it will require more financial resources than you have available to keep going, or new technology has made your offer obsolete or too expensive.

And if you haven’t been in business for three years yet? Don’t panic, it could be too early to pronounce the horse dead. You need to look at how your business is trending over the past year. If your profits and customer numbers have shown a steady increase, then you could be ok. Whether you are ok or not will depend upon whether you have the financial resources to keep going at the current level of growth.

2. You are getting little or no repeat business.
If your customers are not coming back for more or telling friends about you, something is wrong. Plain and simple. You need to be creating raving fans. No matter what the industry, word of mouth is one of the most cost effective and essential business generators.
Don’t despair just yet. Frequently the reason is an easy fix. And then in some cases the business owner is just not suited the line of business and its time to move on. Independent advice from a good business coach is essential at a time like this.

3. You have lost your mojo.
If going to work each day does not excite you, or you are procrastinating on important tasks, listen to your gut feeling. If everyday feels too hard, or your health or family life is suffering, something is wrong. Even amongst the hard work of business, you should feel a sense of excitement or achievement.

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If any of these 3 red flags sound like you and your business, then it is time to check your horse’s pulse. It is time to get some objective professional help to assess your business and help you decide whether it is time to get off the horse or change direction.

A business coach or mentor can help identify the blocks and causes to the above and help you make clear and accurate decisions on whether to get off the horse or pivot. Business owners often don’t acknowledge ‘lost opportunity costs’. This is the money you could be making if you went in a different direction and every month counts. One thing we can’t buy more of is time.

Remember: it is not a sign of failure to quit while you are still ahead; it is a sign of a seasoned entrepreneur who knows when to cut their losses and move on to the next challenge. And quitting doesn’t mean your dream is over!

Getting off a dead horse frees up your time, money and creative energy so that you can apply it to a business that will deliver your dream.

Complimentary Checkup
I specialise in quickly identifying whether your horse is ‘dead’ or just has a bad cold, or whether you need to change direction.

Shoot me an email or give me a call to book an obligation free checkup and prescription.
0400 520 471
david@davidlennon.com.au

Business Lessons Bonus Video

In this two minute video I outline a key business lesson that Mark Bouris of Yellow Brick Road financial services (and ‘The Apprentice’ fame) gained from Kerry Packer and he credits this one lesson for the reason his company grew to making $1billion per month in loans. Reinforces the fact that one conversation can make you $100,000…or more.