In working with small businesses for over 20 years I’ve observed that most businesses cycle between two distinct phases in their marketplace life – and that when a business owner masters first identifying which phase they are in and then, second, executing specific actions during each phase – the business sustains success and grows over time.
Got your attention?
Now don’t be disappointed here – this isn’t rocket science. Remember the key is identification – then execution. So here we go:
The first is the business stage where everything is mostly an idea or a vision. You have invented a better way and visualize the contributions that your new innovation will make in the lives of other people or businesses. This is an exciting time because the only limit is how big you can think. It is also a challenging time because the first step from vision to implementation opens a huge bucket of tasks, challenges, projects, obstacles, questions and requirements of time, money, attention and decisions – not to mention blood, sweat and tears. This phase occurs at the invention of a business and then, along the way, at increments where new ideas are born and new opportunities are noticed. It’s a formulation phase where the fuse is lit for business success.
The tactics? Take the time to diligently and purposely plan what needs to be done, in what order to fully realize a prototype of your new idea, test it’s reception in the market, build it for mass presentation and delivery and price for profitability.
Sound simple? It is if only you take the time to do it.
The second phase of a growing business is when the marketplace discovers your well-articulated value and adopts your idea. You have customers. You’re building loyalty. Resources are being taxed, money is rolling in and the demand is pulling you out of bed in the morning. Good news right? Well only if you turn your focus to extraordinary client service, impeccable delivery of the promises you made during your sales and marketing efforts and relentless pursuit of operational efficiency.
So tactics in this phase are purposely measuring and optimizing service, follow through and internal systems.
With clarity and focus on these aspects of a well run business, anything new you invent in the future will have a foundation for great success, while the existing business is positioned to recruit repeat customers and raving fans.
Phase 1: innovation. Phase 2: implementation. It’s a cycle. And it’s either a cycle out of necessity because you have to continually reinvent your business due to false starts or poor execution…or it is a cycle that results in growth and opportunity that builds a strong and enduring company.
So what phase are you in… and what are you doing about it?