The top reasons why many a promising new business fails include a lack of business support, lack of access to markets, and poor planning. By contrast, those businesses that survive and grow in scale did so because they were able to leverage strong personal networks to access the right mentors, management support, practices and know-how they needed to succeed.In other words, they tapped into a community of people and businesses with the right experience to help them make it through the difficult early years. Not just difficult years, but with this current difficult time, it’s time to take a look around and see what competitors are doing differently. Let’s explore the four key steps of the entrepreneurial journey and explore the specific challenges that new business owners will encounter along the way…
Phase 1 – first stepsIn this phase, entrepreneurs often wear multiple hats and are directly responsible for a range of operational activities – including marketing and finance. Those who successfully progress to Phase 2 will already have started to plan their strategy for moving beyond these self-limiting constraints that result from being the sole person ‘making things happen’. Because no matter how hard an individual entrepreneur works, a nascent business will plateau if additional personnel aren’t appointed to take charge of certain key operational tasks.
Phase 2 – knowing what ‘good’ looks likeRelinquishing control to individuals who are trusted to manage aspects of the business is a major step – but one that should release the entrepreneur to focus on more strategic tasks. In this phase, delegating to a small team of people who are working to a common vision, measured by KPIs but separated by silos, depends on having appropriate processes in place. Business leaders will need to become adept at evolving their managerial roles as the company becomes larger and more complex.
In this phase the relationship between revenue and expenses will be a top priority if the business is to maintain a healthy bankroll, as are day-to-day operational decisions and controls.But entrepreneurs will also need to focus on what the next phase of the business will be and what ‘good’ looks like from an operational and business model viewpoint. Those who are part of a community will be able to learn about what has worked for others, exploring potential frameworks, best practices and business plans that have been a proven springboard for the success of other businesses.
Phase 3 – building out teams and evolving the long-term strategyDivesting more control to others will be top of mind in this phase. Breaking down silos and building out high functioning teams that can expand or keep the company stable and profitable is just the start. Issues relating to productivity and top flight management practices and skills will be essential for the long-term viability of the business. Founders with a long-term vision will need to become adept at predicting changing market preferences, investing in new technological capabilities, and transitioning systems to support the growing needs of the business. They may also identify new opportunities and capabilities that, if executed well, will ensure the business continues to evolve beyond its core offerings.
Phase 4 – leading toward legacyEntrepreneurs in this phase will be determining the ultimate legacy of the business once they exit the business. Whether that’s handing over to a family member, an employee share scheme or a buyer. Empowering the next generation of leaders with the skills and values they’ll need to keep things stable and profitable, and take the business forward, is the primary goal here.
Take advantage of a community supportBeing able to connect with like-minded individuals and peers who can offer a sounding board and share ideas can prove enlightening for entrepreneurs as they progress along their journey, even with today’s global uncertainties. One thing is for sure, the challenges that entrepreneurs encounter will change as the company grows. Understanding how to handle each development stage, avoid potential pitfalls, and anticipate upcoming factors is truly empowering. In other words, being part of a community is the ultimate route to crowdsourcing the insights and directions needed to stay profitable and scale with confidence.
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