When you decide to undertake and launch a new project, it is normal to feel lost and not know what your priorities should be at all times. Almost nobody takes into account the growth phases of a business, and as we have a natural tendency to compare ourselves with other entrepreneurs we are assailed by a thousand and one doubts.
"What do I do now?"
"Am I following the right strategy?
"What should be the next step?
If comparisons are never good, in the case of business, even less so; because most likely you are comparing lentils with oranges.
Tell me something: if you're just starting out, do you think it makes sense to compare yourself to someone who has been in business for 10 years?
However, although this may seem obvious, the growth phases of a business are not usually talked about and it is a question that most entrepreneurs don't even ask themselves.
But it is something fundamental. Why is this so?
Basically because each stage requires different priorities, objectives and tasks.
So in this article I propose to discover in which phase you are now, so you know what you should focus on to climb to the next step in less time and with less stress.
You have heard us say more than once that productivity is not about doing more in less time, but about doing the right tasks to get results.
Well, to improve productivity, knowing what your goals should be is basic. And for that, first you need to define your priorities and, consequently, in which phase you are.
Phase 1: Just an Idea
At this stage, the business is just a dream, an idea.
Fear, worry and lack of self-confidence are often travel companions.
It is a stage of motivation, but in which many entrepreneurs get stuck because they bet all their effort on an idea that is not profitable.
Therefore, at this stage, your priority should be to validate your idea to ensure that there is a real demand in the market and there are people willing to pay for it.
In addition to researching the competition to find out what is working best for them, try offering free content on your topic (to see what response it generates and get feedback) or do some paid campaign that allows you to test your idea in the market in a real way.
Now, without a doubt, the best strategy to validate your idea is networking, because direct conversations with other people will give you valuable information that you will not find otherwise.
So go to events, talk to other entrepreneurs and share your idea with them.
And don't be afraid to ask if they would pay for what you offer. I'm sure they'll be happy to answer.
In short, the most important task in the idea phase is validation. Keep in mind that more than 80% of businesses go bankrupt in the first 2 years. And the reality is that without validation, the chances of success are slim.
Phase 2: Start-up
At this stage, you have validated your idea, you know it has a place in the market and your business is up and running.
You have achieved some sales and worked with your first customers, but the volume is still not enough to say you have a really profitable business.
What tasks are the priorities in this phase?
Basically, three: marketing, sales and improving your product. In other words, create, sell and increase the flow of customers.
Unless your product is so good that it sells itself, you need to activate it in the market. Let people see it, try it, talk about it, and above all, buy it.
When you are in this phase, if you spend time on other secondary tasks, you will deviate from your objective, you will disperse easily and you will have the feeling of investing too much effort to see few results.
So, to stay focused, don't fall into paralyzing perfectionism and apply the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) strategy.
What interests you at this point is to know if your idea has a real path or not worth investing time and effort in it.
And once this is done, you will need to make yourself known and improve your visibility. To do this, establish collaborations with other entrepreneurs and practice guest posting on blogs whose audiences are formed by your target audience.
Phase 3: Consolidation
When your business is consolidated, you generate income on a recurring basis, but you may have to spend a lot of time on it.
This is when most entrepreneurs enter a hamster wheel and feel like slaves to their business.
It is, therefore, a dangerous stage, because the pace of work is so high and the feeling of lack of time becomes so overwhelming that it is easy to end up burned out, disenchanted and to wonder if all the effort made so far is really worth it.
To avoid this, at this stage your priority should be to create systems and processes that allow you to improve your organization and create habits to avoid getting burned.
This is the moment to invest in tools that allow you to save time in tasks that are repeated recurrently and to document each area of the business for when you form a team and want to delegate.
For example, you could consider using applications that allow you to do this:
- Automate your publications in social networks.
- Create email marketing funnels to segment your audience and sell automatically.
- Make automated sales webinars.
Your goal in this phase is not where to find time to work more and more, but how to document your processes and recover time to spend on tasks that really translate into results.
If you don't do this, you'll get stuck at this stage and won't make it to the next one.
Phase 4: Escalation
This phase of your business will be marked by the objectives you pursue:
- Increase income.
- Open new business lines.
- To have more free time.
At this stage one of the main productivity mistakes entrepreneurs make is that they want to control everything. They find it difficult to trust other people and believe they are indispensable in each area of their business.
But this is not the case.
In order to have more freedom and make a better time management, in this phase of the business it is essential to have other professionals and to delegate.
Your priority here is to team up and work with collaborators.
For example, if you think about it, it is not necessary for you to take care of the administrative part, invoicing, content creation or design. If you delegate these areas to good professionals, you will have time to spend where you can really add value or no one can replace you (like we do in the videos).
Phase 5: Leadership
We have reached the last of the growth phases of a business.
In this stage, you have reached the top and positioned yourself as a market leader. Now your goal will be to stay on top of the wave.
This position offers endless opportunities: people know you, you become a reference and you have negotiating power.
Have you ever heard the phrase "money calls to money"? In this phase it makes all its sense, but there are also mistakes that can make you fall.
The gears of your business are in full swing, each member of your team knows what to do and how, and you can focus on strategic areas.
Well, one of your tasks will be to keep an eye on innovations and market trends, because if you relax too much, a startup can appear and knock you off your pedestal in no time.
This is something that has happened many times. Think of pocket video camera companies, for example. Those that didn't know how to adapt to the arrival of smartphones, fell into a tailspin.
So no matter how much money your business moves, pay attention to the market, watch and listen to anticipate. And also look at the startups that are emerging and the potential they have. You may even be interested in acquiring some of them.
It is not easy to climb the mountain of the growth phases of a business, but when you know what your goal is and what your priorities are, you can carry your backpack with the right material to conquer your peaks.
And to help you define your goals, set priorities and focus on the tasks that will become results and allow you to work more efficiently, we have prepared a free training.
In 4 lessons you will discover why you are always overwhelmed (and what to do to solve it), how to set goals and draw a plan of action, what you waste 80% of your time on and the pillars of an effective productivity system.