As a coach, I hear a similar story from many of the business owners I talk to. The stories they tell often fall into one of two categories:
- difficulty with growth
- an inability of the business to work unless they are at work.
The specifics are as unique as the owners themselves, but they reduce down to one of those two things.
The solution comes down to understanding that every business has a lifecycle. And each step requires different things of the owner. Trying to skip a step is asking for all manner of problems.
So, what are the steps?
Step 1: Infancy
Think about what happens in infancy. This is the time we develop the fundamental skills we will need for the rest of our lives. We learn to control our bodies, to walk, to talk, etc.
This is where you build the foundation for a successful business. It consists of all the unglamorous but critical work of:
- Establishing a viable business model
- Creating an organization to support it
- Building the systems and processes that make it work
- Creating the control systems to measure success
This is the foundation of the business. Without it, anything you try to do later will not have the support it needs.
Unfortunately, this is the step that too many people try to skip.
When someone starts a business, they are dreaming mostly about the freedom they will have (step 3). Then they start trying to grow (step 2) so they can get that freedom. They skip right over the first step and end up frustrated that their efforts are failing.
As someone once told me, “If you skip the start, you never get started.” Meaning you can’t jump straight to the result without doing the hard work to get there.
Step 2: Adolescence
When we hit adolescence, we grow rapidly. We get taller. We get heavier. We get stronger. We become adults. None of this would be possible without having gone through infancy first.
This is the case for your business, too.
In this step, the business…
- Gets bigger
- Gets more complex
- Gets better at doing what it does
This is a difficult stage for any business. For a business that hasn’t established the fundamentals in step 1, it’s all but impossible.
Step 3: Maturity
As we become mature adults, we are wiser. We have learned from our experience. We are established.
When a business is mature, it has become its own entity apart from the people who work there. It operates according to systems and procedures that were estabished in step 1 and refined in step 2.
Employees can (and will) come and go, but the business will go on. The people working there will operate those systems and produce the result expected by its customers and owners.
This is where the owner achieves the freedom they dreamed about when they started. At this point, they have created something that can exist apart from them. Now, this owner has the choice to be in the business or not.
Getting to this step simply isn’t possible without the hard work of the first two steps.
Frustrated that you can’t grow or you are chained to the daily operation of your business? I can guarantee you the source of your troubles lies in skipping or shortcutting step 1.
The good news is this. You can go back to the beginning any time and work through the steps.
That’s what I help owners do every day. I can help you, too. Get in touch to talk about how things can be different.