How mature is your business? (part 2)

Table of Contents

In part 1 we talked about the different stages and how to assess which stage you’re in, for part 2 we want to cover strategies that can help for each stage you’re going through. Find the right Strategies for your phase right now.

Startup Phase

During this initial stage, we know the big focus is driving acquisition by focusing on Marketing and Sales.

It’s part of the game. Also, because you tend to appeal to more Innovators and Early Adopters (explained in part 1) even if your service delivery is clunky, you will do okay.

This is probably one of the most challenging parts of the business because it brings tons of uncertainty with it, and it can be seen as your proof of concept phase.

This is where we want to understand what our customers want and need, and how to serve them in a way that their expectation is met.

Typically our recommendation is to keep costs low, the company lean, and operations simple as complexity would be unbearable at this stage. 

You can be making multiple six-figures and even seven-figures with no team or a very small team in the Startup Phase.

As soon as you feel you have some kind of a reliable and semi-predictable acquisition method you’re ready to move on into the Growth Phase.

Growth Phase

Things start to change a little in this stage, and although for phase one the focus was Marketing and Sales (where we as Ethical Scaling don’t support our clients much), now in this stage is where our presence can be critical as it aligns with our wheelhouse.

In the Growth Phase there are three big components you should focus on:

  • Product/service development
  • Talent acquisition
  • Scalability analysis

Going back to the concept of Diffusion of Innovation, you now have crossed the chasm and not working only with Innovators and Early adopters, but with the mass market. (if you haven’t you will soon)

These new clients won’t accept clunky operations and service delivery and they want the certainty and predictability that their expectations can be met.

Spending time developing your product or service to meet the demands, wants, and needs is a must before you move on to the next stage of your business maturity.

Then with all the growth, it will become hard to do it all by yourself or with a small team. This phase is where most companies go on a hiring spree (normally too much), and increase overhead to a level that it becomes hard to sustain and messes too much with profit margins.

When we think about talent, during this growth phase, I’d focus on hiring people for things that either are not generating revenue directly or if they do generate revenue they need to be trained for that effectively.

As an example, online businesses tend to start by hiring sales reps. While I have nothing against it, your understanding of sales was probably what helped you survive and thrive in the Startup stage. Delegating this too early will create uncertainty and it will mess up your decision-making process.

On the other end, if you don’t love doing all the delivery to your clients you can start thinking about hiring Client Success Managers or Account Managers to take care of that (one of the things we do is find, vet, and train them for you).

A great CSM or AM will help with product development, decrease client churn, increase retention and upsells, and get you out of the weeds.

The last part of this phase is looking at your business model and finding if it’s scalable.

To make it scalable you need to make most of the systems more efficient, by removing waste, streamlining processes, or both.

This stage requires radical truth and a powerful data tracking system for client success in order for you to find what can be removed, optimized, streamlined, and delegated.

This might require new product changes like removing some features if the cost-to-value ratio doesn’t align with the scaling you want.

Before you’re ready to move on and scale you need to understand your Business KPIs so that you have a benchmark and quality control processes can be implemented (more on that in a second).

Scale Phase

The one stage everyone is excited about, and this one is probably one of the simplest ones. Everyone gets so used to the uncertainty of the Startup Phase, and so used to the stress and chaos from the crazy growth during the Growth Phase, that they expect the same for the Scale Phase.

This phase can be boiled down to three simple things:

  • Talent Management
  • Quality Control Processes
  • Understand Market Dynamics

We cover this in great detail in our book Customer Success Manifesto, as this is the phase we help our clients the most after we help them go from Growth to Scaling.

How do we do that? By focusing on customer retention and loyalty.

And we do that by making sure the Talent you hired during the Growth Phase is properly managed and built up for this stage.

This is interconnected with the Quality Control Processes you’ll need in place for this stage.

This stage is not about the new or experimenting (while you still can, the 80% is keeping it reliable), it’s all about keeping the standard without breaking the system.

During this stage your biggest focus will be to ensure what you promised during the Startup Stage, and what was delivered with volume during the Growth Stage, is not a standard.

Keeping an eye on the company KPIs (calculated for scale) like Churn, Retention, Upsell, Referrals and Success Rates will allow us to keep track of what matters.

This might require hiring new talent, firing people, removing features, add features, among other things. But those conclusions should be made based on the Quality Processes and the Data available.

Maturity Phase

In our own business Ethical Scaling, we’re not in a Maturity Phase yet, and probably you’re not either.

I’ve had other businesses before, and I was a consultant for a big company in the Maturity Phase, which taught me a lot about this phase.

There are three main things you want during this stage:

  • A self-managed team
  • An understanding of client demands
  • Explore new markets/verticals

After you hire talent, and now have a team of strong leaders, if you want to keep the business running the decision-making can not be reliant on you.

You’ll need a team that’s self-managed and understands how to make decisions. Also as you have become more and more disconnected from direct interactions with clients, it’s super important to gather feedback from your team to understand changes in client demands and how you can keep driving innovation with a product that’s still perceived as valuable.

Last but not least, when you have a proven model that goes through all the stages and is mainly focused on one market, you can start exploring new markets and verticals where you create a proof of concept to expand your reach.

As an example for us, although we’re not mature yet, we’re exploring opportunities to enter the Software as a Service market.

After connecting with several people in the industry we understood that what we do for Coaches, Consultants, and Coaches with online businesses, is directly applicable to this industry. We will explore this model after our business enters a Maturity stage. 

Summary

We know this can feel like a “lot”, but no one forced you to sign-up and become an entrepreneur! It’s just who you are, and we know you’ll crush it.

Make sure to stick to the action plan presented for the phase you’re in, apply, move on to the next stage, and come back to check recommendations for the new phase.

This blog post should be seen as a playbook for you to revisit at least every quarter to help you make the best decisions for your business.

If you want our help, and you’re at least in the Growth Phase, click this link, book a time with us, and let’s see how we can help you scale.

Take care,

Jay

Ben McLellan
Ben McLellan

The Spiritual Entrepreneur- you can embody spirituality and still have a thriving business.

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