Have you ever looked at someone else’s Instagram account and thought, “She’s got it all. Why can’t my business look like that?”
I know you have. We all have.
But what we often forget is that there are so many different stages of business. In each of these stages, there are different things we need to work on. And there is beauty to be found in each stage.
We can’t all be Amy Porterfield and Jenna Kutcher. Those roles are already taken, and they’ve worked hard to get to where they are.
I’m not saying that you’re not working hard. You are, and I see you.
What I am saying is that you’re in a different place, at a different stage. And you need to keep on track as you work to make it to the next stage.
This is for all you newbies, the business owner who might be trying to grow a side hustle or are trying to turn a profit. Their primary function is to do the thing they started their business to do and all of the fun (and frustration) that comes with it. Here’s what a typical emerging business looks like:
- You’re in the first few years of business.
- You feel like all the strategic objectives are priorities for you right now.
- You’re focusing on getting clients, doing the work and making money.
- You work a lot. Evenings, weekends, in your sleep.
- Your thoughts are consumed by your business. Endlessly.
The good news is that this is simply a stage and it will pass. Just like the Terrible Twos. As you work on your business, you’re developing the processes that will serve you later. You’re also getting a lot of clarity around what you want to do and who you want to do it with. Embrace this time and get clear on where you want your business to go.
If you’re not yet sure where your business is heading you need to get clear on your mission, vision, and values. Grab your guide right here!
Building the Business
Once you’re more clear on your work and have true packages and products to offer your clients, you start to move into building mode. This is an exciting time for business owners because the possibilities are really endless. There’s still a lot of trying things out, but with more clarity it just feels easier. Here’s what a typical business in the building stage looks like:
- You still think about your business all the time, but your thoughts are usually about how you can do things different or better.
- You focus more on visibility and product development than ever before. And it starts to work!
- You’re still working a lot, but you feel much more present at home.
- You feel like you can go much deeper with clients and get them better results.
- You bring on team members to help take care of some of the back-end work in your business.
So many of the businesses you see online are in this building phase. It’s fun to try out new things, raise your prices and work with fewer clients–because you can offer them better, more meaningful experiences. But it’s also easy to get stuck here because you fear hiring help and letting go of some of the work. Having a guide through this stage in your business is so valuable.
This is also the time to get yourself organized so when you do make that first hire, your business runs from a central hub. Grab my Trello Business Hub right here!
When you feel like you’ve reached the maximum price of your client work or that you’ve maxed out the hours you can work, it’s time to scale. There are different ways to scale based on different business types, but essentially you’re bringing on help to take on some of the work for you. Here’s what scaling a business might look like:
- You’ve found a way to take your service and monetize it as a product.
- Your systems and processes are so spot-on that you can hire others to take on some client work.
- You’ve started to pitch paid speaking gigs–and you’re getting them.
- You feel more like a visionary for your business and less like a worker-bee.
- You spend your time surrounded by people who inspire you and who can elevate you to that next step.
Not everyone wants to scale their business. For those who do, having systems and processes in place is a must. This often requires hiring someone to put them in place for you because, let’s face it, you’re a visionary. You’re not a systems person. And that’s okay. That’s what specialists and Directors of Operations are made for!
Do you see yourself as a Director of Operations for other business owners? This takes a special mindset, and you’re looking for a unique client type. Learn my 10 best tips on how to find your next top-tier client!
Optimizing Your Business
For those of you with hopes of being the next Amy or Jenna, this is the stage for you. Here, your business can literally run by itself (with a team firmly in place), if necessary. You all listened to Jenna’s podcast as she went on a long maternity leave, right? This was only possible because her business is optimized. She has the bandwidth to work ahead and she has a team that can handle all the day-to-day tasks. Here’s what an optimized business looks like:
- You don’t have to show up every day because you have a team who does that for you.
- When there’s an issue, your Director of Operations can handle it.
- You’re known as the go-to expert in your community.
- You are the visionary in your business, no doubt about it.
- You’re looking at new roles and avenues in your business to impact more people.
Are you one of the business owners on track to optimize their business? While not everyone can be well-known across the small business world, there is plenty of space in different niches and industries.
No matter what stage of business you’re in, a partner and mentor is so important. You need a community of people surrounding you so you can grow and thrive and get to that next stage–no matter what that stage might be.
It’s hard to tell how quickly one can go from one stage to the next because it depends on how quickly you take opportunities and risks and what kinds of relationships you’re building with those around you.
If growth is something you want to achieve in your business, I encourage you to think about what the next best step is for your business. Maybe it’s gaining more visibility. Maybe it’s finding a higher-tier client. Or maybe it’s getting your systems in place so you can start to scale.
I love supporting business owners at every stage of their journey. Head over to my Facebook page and let’s stay connected!