What happens to your business beyond startup?
You’ve been focusing on getting the business up and running for some time, so what to do now that your dream is a reality?
I was chatting with my sister a few weeks ago when we realized that few people think about what will happen after they achieve their goals.
Looking at our own lives, we identified instances when we had worked so hard and then gotten stuck after achieving the goals.
My sister also pinpointed examples in my business.
Talk about looking right at a mirror!
Getting beyond startup
This conversation got me thinking about the period beyond startup because there are specific things that happen at this time that lead to business failure.
I looked at my business mistakes and talked to other people who had started strong, only to have the businesses slow down, fizzle out and die.
What was common in all these cases was that the person was very clear and focused about the business they wanted to start, how it would look like, how it would make them feel, the kind of customers they would attract, and the money it would make them.
But they never thought beyond startup.
Once startup euphoria and beginner’s luck have run out, there comes a huge REALITY CHECK as you have to get down to real business and make money!
A lot of people give up at this point because they cannot see the road ahead, and it seems too long and full of pitfalls.
If you’ve already started your business and you’re struggling 1, 2, 3 or even 5 years down the line, chances are high you never thought of what you would need to be, do or have after you started the business.
Below is a summary of the things you need to work on immediately, if you’re to survive beyond startup.
1. Get very clear about where you’re going
It’s time to recreate the vision you had when starting the business and make it more suitable for growth this time round.
Think 5 years into the future and come up with a crystal clear picture of what you want your business to look like, how you want to feel about the business, the income you want, and the general levels of success you want.
Include everything you can think of – staff, suppliers, location, customers, products, services…everything. It would help if you could create an organizational chart of the complete business.
I’m not talking about your mission and vision statements here; I’m talking about your business dream.
Once your long-term vision is complete, narrow it down to 3 year goals and goals for the next 12 months.
2. Create a strategy for achieving this vision
You’ll then need to turn your 12 month goals into projects. This will help you come up with monthly goals that you can split further into weekly and daily action steps (to-do lists).
Taking the 3 main goals for the year (one at a time), brainstorm everything you need to do to achieve each of these goals.
Get a pack of 3×5 index cards and write out one specific activity per card. Arrange the cards chronologically in order of priority, sequence and timing.
Take the first card and start working on it.
Keep track of where you are in each project so that you don’t get lost doing meaningless things.
3. Improve your skills set
In business you will need more skills than those required by an employee. Required business skills include (among others):
- Creating a powerful vision to map your course to success.
- Proper goal setting so that you know how to achieve your vision.
- Being proficient in your industry or profession so as to deliver a quality products or services to your customers.
- Marketing effectively and consistently to attract a steady stream of ideal prospects.
- Constant sales to convert prospects into paying customers.
- Outstanding customer service to keep customers happy, increase their loyalty to you and have them refer others to your business.
…and many more…
4. Take charge of your internal and external states
Your place of work should be pleasant and well optimized in order for you to work at your best level. It should also be free from distractions, especially if you’re working from home.
Your physical health is very important as your business will need you to be in healthy and energetic. Take care of your diet and fitness so that you’re in optimal form.
Also make sure that your image reflects the type of business or industry you’re in. As the saying goes, “You only get one first impression” so make it count by always looking good.
The books/magazines you read, music you listen to, movies or TV programs you watch, and your choice of media affect your mental state positively or negatively. Be very careful about the people and/or things you allow to influence your mind.
Finally, take stock of the people you hang out with or whom you spend lots of time with:
- What do you spend time talking about?
- How do they treat you?
- Do they put you (and your dreams) down or do they empower you?
- Do you have more of people who leave you feeling drained and less energetic or more of those who are your cheerleaders and motivators?
Your circle of support, whether relationship-based or in a mastermind or coaching program, will have a very a powerful effect on your ability to succeed in business.
5. Master your inner game
This is an often overlooked yet very important aspect of business success. It’s actually where I spend most of the time with my clients.
Your thoughts, beliefs and values will always determine what you can or cannot do. Unfortunately, the thoughts, beliefs and actions that govern our lives are subconscious and we don’t know they exist.
Most of them are picked up as we grow up and it’s not until you deliberately analyze them that you will identify the ones that are your own (normally few) and those that belong to society, the media, your family, friends, employers, colleagues, the church…society in general.
For you to take your business beyond startup, you must dump a lot of your old ways of thinking or doing things, and acquire new ones.
This change generally doesn’t sit well with the people around you, which is when an external circle of support becomes useful.
Those are my tips for taking your business beyond startup. Take action on these 5 steps and let me know how it works for you in the Comments below.
(Image credit: Master isolated images at Free Digital Photos)
Want more tips on how to grow your business after startup? Join me for the 3 Common Startup Mistakes That Kill Businesses Fast (and how you can avoid or recover from them) Teleseminar. Click here to sign up for the next event.