Understand the 4 business stages below for the answers you need.
Do you sometimes feel like you always have too much to do in your business and there isn’t enough time to get it all done? Read on because this isn’t the result of a time management tool or hack you are unaware of. That overwhelm is most likely related to the stage at which your business has reached in its growth.
If you know how to plan your activities while leaving some time for yourself, then you know enough about time management and may not need additional tools or hacks.
However, what you do need to understand is the stage at which your business is, the benefits of that stage, and how you can move your business to the next stage.
Take a minute and think about the stage at which your business is at the moment. Is it a rowboat (if you don’t row, the business goes nowhere), or are you at stage 2 of the dragon boat in which you have recruited an army of other rowers and your job now is to instruct the rowers on how to pace their rowing?
Stage 3 is the pontoon boat. Have you upgraded to a pontoon boat which has an engine so you no longer slave away like you used to in the first two stages? Notice that the pontoon doesn’t move fast, but this is the first time that you are using leverage in your business, so you can afford to take champagne and relax in a Jacuzzi. Almost everyone can sail such a boat because it isn’t so demanding, doesn’t go so fast and isn’t complicated.
The 4th stage is akin to having a 55ft go-fast boat. Notice that it comes with four engines which give it a lot of power. Your job is therefore two things; first is providing direction. You keep your hands on the steering wheel so that you can head in the desired direction. The second job is minding the throttle. This helps you adjust how fast or how slow you go at different points on your trip.
Back to you and your business, are you an army of one in your rowboat? Are you the leader yelling “row!” all day to your team of rowers? Have you put an engine in your boat? Or, are you the captain of a go-fast boat in which your business is thriving and you engage in coaching here and there while also regulating the speed at which your business moves?
Big question, if you wanted to go 100 miles, which of those four boats would you wish to have? The go-fast boat offers you the best chance of covering that distance in the shortest time and with minimal strain on your part.
The costs and benefits of each stage during business growth
Stage 1: The solo rowboat
The pros include;
- Having tons of control. No one tells you what to do and you decide when to row, for how long to row and in which direction to move.
- There isn’t a lot of responsibility. This is because you are only responsible for yourself. You don’t have any worries about paying wages or what other families will feed on if things go south.
The cons of the solo rowboat include;
- The row boat is really slow! You can’t move fast, and if you want to grow, it will take you a very long time.
- The rowboat is also exhausting, and you have to take frequent breaks to rest and regain your ability to keep rowing.
Think about those four things and take note of what someone is optimizing their business for by opting to stay in a solo rowboat. Such people are choosing to optimize for control as they don’t want to lose control when the business takes on many participants.
The inverse relationship between business growth and control
Now one client of ours was getting $2 million a year and told his mentor that he couldn’t figure out why he had failed to grow beyond that revenue. The mentor told him that growth and control are on opposite sides of the spectrum. If you want to grow, you will have to release some of the grip you have on everything going on in your business. You’ve got to find other people to do all the stuff and that means you will have to let go of some control.
This client is now doing $28 million a year and he confessed that he hardly does anything in the business! He guides and steers the business, and his team does everything else. They have solid systems to ensure everything is going on well and he has a dashboard to keep track of the key metrics of the business.
Stage 2: The dragon boat
You’ve decided that you’ve had enough rowing on your own and you now have a team of rowers that you can incentivize and inspire to do the rowing for you. Note that you are no longer a rower but will instead take on the role of shouting “row!” all day while your team rows. If you aren’t there, your people will not row the boat.
The pros of this stage include;
- There is somehow “less” work for you. This is because you aren’t actively rowing the rowboat. Have you ever noticed that you at times get a bunch of people to do something for you thinking that it will ease your work, only to find that you have got a huge different kind of work to do as a result? That is the point at which lots of business owners get wiped out by burnout. This could be because you hired the wrong team, didn’t have the right onboarding procedures, you don’t have ongoing training or you are missing something so your team starts making things worse than when you were on your own.
- You also get to move a lot faster. If you have witnessed a dragon boat race, they move really fast when compared to a person in a rowboat.
The cons of this stage include;
- It comes with lots of other work, such as organizing and managing employees, in addition to fixing their mistakes. You’ve to establish systems, a culture and so many other things needed for effective team performance.
- More things could break, faster. This happens if you haven’t built the proper foundation for your business. For example, your autoresponders may send a bunch of emails to the wrong people or someone may not keep track of due payments and you end up with cash flow problems.
Lots of people look at this stage and wonder why they switched their original problem for this new set of problems. They think it isn’t worth it. Such people may decide to give up on this stage and go back to doing things by themselves. That is a huge mistake.
I was coaching a startup that raised over $100 million in funding and within a spell of 12 months, they grew from 28 employees to over 160 employees. They went from a small dragon boat to a rocket ship!
The problem is, when you have that many new people and your business doesn’t have the organizational systems (hiring practices, onboarding procedures, dashboards to keep track of different parameters, etc.) in place to manage those people, things can get really messy, really fast. If you can get those things in place, you may end up having a boat with an engine, which is the next stage of growth.
Stage 3: Single Engine Boat/Pontoon Boat
An engine refers to the systems that you put in place so that things can get done without your individual effort or that of anyone else. The engine moves your business forward without you or another person being there to do the heavy lifting.
The pros of this stage include;
- You begin to get a little more freedom. This means your business will keep moving forward with or without your presence/participation. The pontoon boat moves slowly and no special skills are needed to control it.
- The boat goes a little faster than you could move in your rowboat or dragon boat. You have a bit more freedom and your business is growing a little faster. This is in contrast to the dragon boat which eats you up with a different kind of work.
The cons of this stage include;
- The pontoon boat isn’t as fast as you’d want it to be.
- It is really comfortable at this stage. In fact, I have a client in Australia who is at this stage and they don’t want anything else. You get comfortable with the amount of money you are making. You get comfortable with the number of clients you have. You get comfortable with the type of work you do every day. You fear that if you try to go any faster, it might break and it isn’t worth taking that risk. So, these people just want to stay there and maintain what they have.
I usually tell such people that they are only thinking about themselves and their team, and not thinking about the greater good they can do if they served more people, made more profits and invested them in causes they believe in, etc.
Stage 4: The Speedboat
I talked to a guy whose service I subscribed to recently in Australia. He told me that when he was younger, he used to buy and sell businesses, and he used to make a ton of money charging premium prices. He was trying to make more while working less, and it was all about him. However, he says that something clicked in his life and he woke up to the realization that the purpose of a business is both to give the owner a good life but also to provide jobs so that other people can feed their families, as well as to provide a deep and meaningful service to society so that other people can benefit from the work the company does.
When all that clicked in his head, he no longer wanted a pontoon boat. Instead, he wanted a speedboat that could go faster than anything he had ever had before in his business.
The pros of the speedboat include;
- It goes fast.
- You also get to work with A+ team members. Think Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Usain Bolt, etc. It is exciting to go to work with the very best in the world.
- This stage also has a ton of profits when things are done right. I’ve seen some businesses which when they get big they don’t get rich. You’ve therefore got to make sure that you not only grow big but also grow extremely rich. This is an area that we help lots of businesses with.
- You also get absolute freedom during this phase of your business. This is because you have a capable team handling things and your only tasks are to keep your hands on the steering wheel to give the business direction, as well as keep your hand on the throttle to control the speed. If things aren’t moving as you’d like, you reach out to your team and get things back on track.
The cons of this stage include;
- It requires really skilled people to pull it off. You have to know how to recruit top talent. For instance, you don’t expect to get the best people by posting an ad in the papers. Think of Lebron James; he’s not sitting around looking for a job because he is on a great team and he’s one of the best there. To bring him to your team, you’ve got to lure him away from where he is. That is the same approach to assembling a winning team for your business.
- You have less control at this stage. Notice that at stage one, you have lots of control and at stage four you have minimal control.
So, back to your business. Where are you with regards to these four stages?
If you would like help elevating your business through those stages, go to businessprofitaccelerator.com and fill out the form. It is really quick and has five questions plus a couple of multiple choices, that’s it. I will review your information and get back to you if we can be of help. If we can’t help, we will let you know and we could refer you to someone who can help.
Thank you for coming this far, I hope something here inspires you to think about elevating your business to the level where you have an A team instead of working alone or having to yell at your team all day while they row the boat. If you know someone who is stuck in a rowboat, dragon boat or even a pontoon boat, please send them this post so they can learn that help is at hand. See you all next time!
To Your Success,