It’s always very exciting when female entrepreneurs, embark on their business journey but for the business to be truly successful, and most importantly, strong and sustainable, we really need to have some key foundational aspects in place, to help us navigate and set a course towards business success.
Inevitably, like most business owners, we will have started our business based on an idea or passion and from that blooms our products and or services. Unsurprisingly, in our keenness to get the business going, we are quick to kick start the marketing process and ultimately start selling our wares. In the excitement of selling our initial goods, we forget to set in place many of the key aspects. These features are core to our success and if overlooked, can often be the root of many problems relating to long-term growth in the business.
At the start of our business journey, however, we are quite oblivious to this fact as, generally, we are basking in the initial success of sales. Unfortunately quite soon, this excitement begins to dissipate as sales start to plateau out.
A very common pattern that follows, is what I have termed as the ‘Feast & Famine Revenue RollercoasterTM’. I have noticed the same issues occurring with so many business owners and clients. Typically, this rollercoaster consists of lots of work (often all at once) to no work and, therefore, lots of revenue to no revenue. This creates a multitude of problems, often resulting, at best in business stagnation, and at worst, in ‘crash and burn’:
➢ Suffering significant cash-flow problems and uncertainty, which clearly, impacts on one’s ability to manage the business and make any meaningful decisions about short, mid and long-term spend or investments.
➢ When work does come in, feeling really overwhelmed and exhausted by the sheer volume coming in within a similar timeframe, whilst delivering it ALL to a high standard.
➢ Relationships with family and friends feeling strained because of the long hours and things that you are missing out on – time you are unlikely to get back.
There are some really glaring statistics relating to business success: these vary slightly from country to country but on average, 33% of businesses fail within the first 2 years; nearly 55% in the first five years and an astounding 66% in the first 10 years of business.
Your business does not, however, need to ‘crash and burn’, nor do you need to become one of those statistics, irrespective of how long you have been in business. Most business owners typically depend on a strategy where clients and revenue are reliant on others requesting their services. Clearly, there is a limitation to this strategy, as you have little or no control over this process.
As any successful business owner will attest, the one thing you need to have in place, is a very specific strategy where YOU have control, not the other way round. This will ensure that you are in control of when you work, the type of work you do and how much you work, as well as leveraging your time and effort in your business – thus creating certainty.
Whilst most business owners facing such a predicament recognise that in order to create such a change, they need to follow a different strategy to their present one, they don’t always pick the right strategy for change.
The strategy that will make the greatest impact and one that differentiates really successful business owners from the rest, is where there are plans to ‘scale’ the business not just grow it. The difference means that instead of adding more complexity and ultimately more costs and work – than you are generally able to handle – you are able to scale the business in a capable and cost-effective manner, without overwhelm and financial headaches.
I too was beset with the very same problems in the first few years of running my consulting and coaching business, some years ago. Through a range of trial and errors, costly mistakes and a lot of time and stress, I discovered that there are 5 key components that can really help business owners scale their business, so that they can concentrate their efforts on working ‘ON’ the business rather than ‘IN’ it and start creating the financial freedom that we all yearn for.
- Strategise – this first component is really important as it will give you a clear vision for your business, and importantly, who its for and why you do what you do. As a result, you will have direction in your business, so that every decision will be based on clarity instead of feeling like your navigating your business in the dark. Conversely, not having this in place, means you will fail to understand your target audience, their needs and that will mean that you are unlikely to be able to get them to purchase your products or services, however good they are.
- Stake – many business owners realise the benefit of investing in their business, however, the really successful ones, understand the value of investing equally in their business and themselves. Key to developing a really successful business, is understanding: the direction you want to drive your business in the future; gauging your skills to meet those needs; recognising the need to build relationships to better understand ‘what you don’t know’; as well investing in knowledge, business skills and external accountability, to supplement investment in their business.
- Success – whilst tenacity, drive and the ‘Power of One’ mentality are great, when you start up the business, this broad-scope knowledge approach is going to catch up with you eventually, resulting in you wasting valuable time and money – which could be better spent on improving your business. Recognising your own skills and moving away from trying to be a ‘jack of all trades and master of none’, means that you can ‘dance to your tune’, so that you are leveraging what you are good at, whilst also learning to let go of certain processes and actions in the business.
- Spot – this will provide you with tremendous advantage in your business, ensuring you are always ready to respond to the changing external needs and not just be focused on internal issues – which tends to be the norm. However, not having this in place, will mean that you are constantly going to be on the back foot and on being left behind by your competitors.
- Scale – by creating lucidity about your target markets and product range going forward, you will be able to remove the predictable obstacles to growth; build alignment in your business; create opportunities to build collaboration and leverage your business, thus creating the path to building a sustainable business.
So are you ready to get off The Feast & Famine Revenue TrainTM and build a strong and sustainable business?