Stage 4: Build & Thrive

The quality leads, prospects and clients coming in has given you renewed excitement about your business. The sales and profits are helping you breathe easier.

You have positive cash flow and consistent revenue flowing in due to the external communications system you implemented in Stage 3.

Even though the consistent revenue has finally started to support the type of life you want financially, more sales and more marketing is exhausting you because you’re still ‘labouring’ in your business.

It’s hard to enjoy the fruits of your labour because you’re still busy running the business off your own frenetic pace, feeling like a hamster on a wheel.

You don’t have any spare ‘mental space’ because you’re always thinking about the business and all the new opportunities that appear at this stage.

You realise you don’t have the infrastructure to grow, and need to start building a small team to remove the many hats you’ve been wearing until now so you can offload some of those tasks to others.

This stage is typically where most entrepreneurs hit their glass ceiling with the grit and hustle they personally possess.

On average, only 50% of entrepreneurs who start out have the capability to build their businesses to this stage, because many entrepreneurs lack the skills to build sufficient operational systems in their business.

Not because they’re not capable of learning how to do it, but it’s because this is not how their mind naturally works.

Most people can learn to market and sell themselves and the offer they create, but fewer have the ability to streamline and systemise their business, which is why this stage can be the ceiling for many people.

In order to see the path to freedom, they need someone with a ‘systems mindset’ to help them.

Depending on the goals and vision you have for the type of business and life you want, hitting this ceiling and choosing to stay as a solo entrepreneur, not growing the business further than yourself is totally fine.

Not everyone wants to build an empire nor offload their work to others.

If your business is giving you the lifestyle you want, you’re loving the work you do everyday and don’t want to offload your work to someone else, then I congratulate you for making your dream a reality! 🥳

There’s no ‘one-way’ or ‘the right way’ to build a business. The only right way is what is right for you.

A successful business is a business that supports the life you want to live.

Common Questions At This Stage

  • How can I cut back the number of hours I’m working without things falling over?
  • What can I get off my plate and who can I hand it over to?
  • Where can I find people that I trust to work with me?
  • How should I structure my business to grow?
  • Which areas of my business should I systemise first?

If any of this sounds like where you’re at, then pay attention to what you need to focus on below in order to advance your business to the next stage.

This stage is all about developing and building your operations and support.

You want to be focusing your attention, time and energy on systemising the operations side of your business starting with one area at a time until you have solid systems in place across the board.

Explore the key areas of business including:

  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer Service
  • Product/Service Development & Fulfilment
  • Finance
  • Logistics

The key system to implement in this stage is your operating systems.

The key skills you need to level up in Stage 4:

  • Systemising
  • Hiring
  • Training

The fastest way to systemise your business operations is to bring someone on board that knows how to do this with you.

Just because you’ve proven that you’ve been able to bootstrap and do things yourself in the past, it doesn’t mean that’s how your business should be run going forward.

If you want to grow beyond a “one man band”, you need solid systems and people to support your growth.

Remember: What got you here, won’t get you to where you want to go.

Once you have solid operating systems in place across the key parts of your business, you should have reduced your working hours by at least 20%. Which means, now you’ll have the time, the team and the head space to level up!

Note: If you find yourself in boom and bust cycles, it’s potentially a direct result of not having a solid external communications system that consistently brings quality prospects and clients into your business.

Do yourself a huge favour  — go back to Stage 3 and focus on getting this fixed. If you don’t, you’ll always be teetering on the edge of burn out.

Pitfalls To Avoid ⛔️

Believing that you need to do all the work

At this stage of the business, your revenue is likely directly correlated to you doing a lot of the work. This is a dangerous belief to hold onto if you believe this is the way things must always be.

Something will have to change, unless you plan on being a hamster on the wheel forever.

More growth

Having more growth at this stage will potentially hurt your business if things aren’t in order and running smoothly behind the scenes.

You are taking on more risk for mistakes to happen, and things to slip through the cracks. This will affect your brand experience and your reputation.

Some things you might hear yourself say:

  • No one can do the job as well as I can!
  • Can I trust other people to do what I want them to do?
  • If only I could duplicate myself…
  • I’m not even sure who I need to hire or what tasks to give them

Habits To Develop 🕰

Trusting others

You may feel cautious about bringing people into the business to help, however, you need to learn to trust the work of others and empower them to do the jobs you want them to do.

Delegate

Develop your delegation skills by learning what to delegate, and how to delegate tasks out in order to get the results you want.

That means, knowing how to brief and instruct people to do the work you want them to do, without you needing to “fix things up” afterwards.

This is where the communication skills that you’ve worked hard to develop in Stage 3 comes into play. If you know how to clearly and succinctly communicate with others, delegation becomes much easier for you at this stage.

Often problems and lack of results arise in business due to miscommunication.

Hire an operations, system focused person

If you know that you lack a ‘systems mindset’ as well as the skills to develop and build sufficient operational systems in your business, then look to hire a Business Manager, Operations Manager, Project Manager, Consultant or COO.

This person will help you take care of the parts of the business that have always slowed you down and exhausted you because it’s not in your wheelhouse.

There are quality people out there capable of doing this job, so it’s your job to find them.

Primary Focus in Stage 4: Build & Thrive 🔍

Establish your operating systems.

Develop the skills you need to improve your ability to systemise your business and hire the right people:

  • Systemising
  • Hiring
  • Training

If you don’t develop and build operational systems across your business, then it will be difficult to grow and thrive beyond being a solo entrepreneur. You will continue to be a hamster on the wheel in this stage.

It will take time to properly systemise all areas of your business, but it’s necessary if you want to grow.

Remember that each stage is built on top of the other. If your systems aren’t clearly established and properly implemented, everything after it will eventually falter.