Show Up Exactly Where You Are
I have been so privileged to meet entrepreneurs from all over the world from many different industries, and I have been asked lots of questions about building successful businesses. One thing I have noticed, over and over again, is that entrepreneurs (who are naturally forward thinkers) tend to ask futuristic questions, rather than asking the questions that will help them RIGHT NOW. I love that you are thinking ahead and that you have BIG DREAMS – there’s nothing wrong with that – but your focus needs to be aimed at what you can do to move yourself forward today, not six months from now.
There are three phases to any business: the LAUNCH phase, the STABILIZING phase, and the SCALING phase. You need to recognize which phase you are in, and ask the questions that will be the most impactful to your business in your current phase. Keep in mind, there is no wrong phase – you are where you are! I spent over a decade in the launch phase, which is when you clarify your mission and figure out exactly what you offer and who your ideal client is. It’s OK to take the time to figure things out – it doesn’t mean you aren’t working and making money, it’s just that you are getting clear about what works well and what misses the mark. This is the time for pivoting when you realize that there is a better way. It’s a trial and error stage, and many people do very well during this phase out of sheer enthusiasm. The launch stage is exciting, so embrace this time!
Questions you might have during the launch stage:
- Who is my target audience?
- What do I offer, and what are the price points?
- What programs should I have in place?
- How do I create multiple streams of revenue, and what might those be?
Wealthy people typically have 5-8 revenue streams. During the launch phase, you want to start thinking about what those revenue streams might be, and where they will fit in your business plan. Maybe in your launch, you have 1-2 revenue streams, but your goal is to have 6 of them by the time you are in the scaling phase. These are all things to consider during the infancy of your business.
In the stabilizing phase, there is a consistent income, but not necessarily big movement or growth. You have a process, and you are making money, but you are still a one-man or one-woman show, with no employees. You aren’t taking a day off when you want, because there is no one else to pick up the slack. I think I spent about nine years in this phase. This is tough, because you have an established business, but often, this is where entrepreneurs can get burned out. The idea of having a team and handing off some of your responsibilities can seem scary, which often keeps a lot of small business owners in the stabilizing spot for quite awhile.
Some questions you might ask during the stabilizing phase:
- How are my systems working – are they leading me to a place where I will be able to scale in the future? (Systems are a set procedures for different aspects of your business, such as marketing, payroll, operating procedures, etc)
- Do I have adequate structure, so that I will be able to hire a team and train them to do what I do?
- Am I spending money on marketing to grow my business, and I am evaluating the effectiveness of my marketing strategies?
- Am I consistent in my systems and structures?
When a business gets to the scaling phase, it’s time for growth and reaching a larger audience. It’s time to evaluate what work can be passed off to team members, what kind of marketing can best increase the sales, and how often to do that. The key to scaling effectively is consistency, along with having the right people in place to accommodate growth. I have seen businesses that scale too quickly, which puts them in a position of not being able to deliver what they promised. They didn’t have systems in place. Systems allow anyone in your organization to know exactly how to execute any task that needs to be done, which frees up your time to be the creative CEO that you are meant to be.
Questions you might ask during the scale phase:
- What are systems and programs that are duplicatable?
- How can I make passive income? (Think books and programs that can be sold online while you sleep)
- Do I know how much I can scale at this time? (be careful about scaling too slowly or too quickly, because either one can cause trouble)
At one point, my business almost collapsed because I was scaling too quickly – be careful with this – if you need to take a step back to stabilizing, then do that. We can shift between the phases whenever it’s needed, and there’s no shame in putting the brakes on if you think you’re going too fast! Know your capabilities as well as your limitations, and you can make scaling a fantastic part of your business venture.
So, remember – ask the important questions that you can put into action immediately, and save your future questions for when they come up. I know we all get excited and like to think 10 steps ahead, but it will serve you to be present in the moment, and get answers that can get you moving toward the next phase.
I love having these conversations with you – this is a dialogue, not a monologue, so please join the conversation! This is our community and our tribe. I would love to hear your #BOL (breakthrough out loud) about how asking the right questions at the right times has served your business and helped you to take action. What is a question you have asked that made a big difference in your growth, and what stage were you in when you asked it? What questions would be best for you to ask right now? Let’s keep this discussion open! Until next time, remember that I love you and I believe in you, and I want to see you shine like the star that you are!
Your Sister in Prosperity and Possibility,