If you answered yes, you might be stuck in what I call ‘reactive business operator mode’ or you’re riding the boom and bust rollercoaster. That can be exhausting, a scenario I knew all too well for many years. After the lessons learned on the journey to cracking the Growth Code®, I now get to share them with you so you don’t have to take the hard and bumpy road like I did.
After all the years of trial and error, it wasn’t what I learned from all the gurus I paid to coach me either. It was what I learned from living through the different stages of growth. Living it, getting through it, surviving, and then thriving.
The big lesson is that there are different phases or seasons to business and we are different people in each of those phases. When we take the time to pinpoint where we are and identify who we need to be, we can get unstuck and move to the next level.
Cracking the Growth Code® is easy once you’ve cleared the path of what’s keeping you stuck where you are and aligning with who you need to be.
Let’s go on a little journey of those personas and look at things from a different perspective.
What type of business owner are you?
It’s a strange question I know. I’ve designed a matrix of the four key personas or business owner types. I believe that business can be the biggest teacher in our self-development. It’s one of the reasons I love business so much because growth is obviously an important value to me. Let’s dive into the four types of business owners.
In this stage, there is little to no consistency in revenue, very little or no pipeline and she is so busy riding the roller coaster that every day feels like a battle.
Constantly swinging between winning new work and delivery
One minute cash is flush, the next worried about where her next client is coming from
Inconsistency and analysis paralysis keeps her from making good decisions
Operating out of fear, she starts discounting prices and accepting work from wrong-fit clients
Relying heavily on referrals and word of mouth for new business with no strategy to support it
She falls into the trap of thinking if I just work a little harder, work a few more late nights, get a few of these projects out the door, land a big project, and hustle it’ll be change soon. Yet she still has no time to work ON the business so things aren’t going to change. For this persona, it’s time to pause and look at beliefs, what needs to be done, what action needs to be taken to fix the pipeline, and who you need to be to hop off the rollercoaster.
Many businesses are set up by operators. They’ve been managers, account handlers, client relationship managers, or in service positions reaching a point in their careers when setting up their own shop is the next logical decision.
Operators don't want to run a business - they want to own a business, but at the same time keep doing what they're doing. This is where things get interesting.
The operator thinks hiring people means less work but it’s quite the opposite
She might not be on the rollercoaster but business feels like a game of whack-a-mole
Hiring feels like the “chicken and egg” story, it’s a dilemma, and easy to make hiring mistakes
The operator is stuck in the weeds of the business, scaling is a pipe dream
She starts to worry about the quality of delivery as the business is growing and she’s not sure how long she can keep all the plates spinning before one drops. For the operator, thinking small will keep her small. And it’s time to start systemising and creating systems that can scale.
The Skilled Producer
The skilled producer has extraordinary talent, it’s why she went out on her own in the first place. Here, instead of one boss, she’s got several - they’re called clients. And they often want her!
There’s a lot of repeat business, and a lot of referrals keeping her doing the same work day in and day out. She's possibly fallen into an accidental niche.
Things are really busy, she’s so ingrained in day-to-day and delivery but the level of busy doesn’t match the revenue.
Stuck in delivery, what you love is now becoming a job you own.
She’s so tied to the business, it relies on her and she’s become the glass ceiling to growth.
If the operator isn’t careful, she’ll slip onto that rollercoaster. She’s not sure when the last time was that she took a vacation without her laptop. For the producer, it’s time to look at who she needs to be to be able to step back from being the point of contact for all delivery.
It feels like graduation. This is where your personal identity and the identity of the business are separated.
She has mastery over sales, getting new clients, the business model and she’s cracked the growth code
She’s stopped trading time for money and has more flexibility and freedom
There’s consistent growth in revenue and profit
There’s even more time to work ON the business, expanding into new markets, innovating, and scaling
There are seven impact areas or pillars of the business to master and this persona makes time to work ON all of them. She has a solid handle on every area, tracking metrics and KPIs. All from her deck chair in Cape Town or from the first class lounge at the airport going on another vacation.
The business mastery and the seven impact areas are what I work on with my one-to-one clients in the Growth Code®. Part two of this mini-series will be on those so stay tuned or sign up to the email list to get notified.
Let’s put it all together
Understanding where you are right now is important. Then you can start looking forward to all that you want to be, do, and have.
Do you kind of know where you are, maybe you're straddling between one or more of the identities? It’s hugely impactful to pinpoint the blockers and bottlenecks of the stage you’re in. This will help decide where to focus first to move you forward.
So I mentioned that there are seven areas of business mastery. But until you graduate to the Boss, there are three key themes that you need to get to grips with to get out of this “messy in the middle” phase as I call it.
They are consistency, a market, and solid pipeline, and sexy systems.
Cracking these is what it takes to have more growth, prosperity, and freedom in your business. And we need a good baseline of these before you’re ready to do things like scaling. I see too many people trying to go from one of the three spaces to scaling, and I know from first-hand experience it will belly flop, and not on purpose or gracefully like a manta ray.
After reading about the types of business owners, what is coming up for you?
Can you identify with any of the challenges and barriers to being in any of the three spaces?
If you have any questions or I can help you with those blockers, please feel free to contact me, and let’s talk it out.
Before you go, I’d love to invite you to something very special.
I’ve referenced the seven pillars of business mastery. But the first two pillars are contingent, they are marketing mastery and sales systems and what move you away from being stuck and reactive. I believe that if you crack those two pillars then there is no business problem you can't solve and there isn’t a goal you can't achieve. So in three months, let me walk you through nailing your marketing, and building out the roadmap to scale your marketing. And once you have your tailored marketing plan with a pantheon so you never have to worry about the algorithm dropping your leads through the floor or where your next client is coming from again. This is a strategy and a framework that's as easy as drag and drop which will keep delivering to your business every after year.
Here’s a link to the Nail It & Scale It page with more details.