For the last several months, I’ve been constructing a model for building a highly successful business. Based on what I’ve done to build mine over the years and harvesting the wisdom of brilliant mentors I’ve studied with, I’ve outlined a comprehensive, yet simple model for success.
The model extends well past theory and includes 7 practical steps business owners must take if they want to thrive and enjoy life rather than being consumed by the ‘job’ they’ve created for themselves.
Today, using the metaphor of how bamboo grows, I’ll share with you the 3 stages you must master to enjoy massive business growth.
Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on the planet, spurting at times, almost 4 feet in a single 24-hour period! At the beginning though, it appears to be growing (on the surface) quite slowly.
There are 3 stages of bamboo (and business) growth: sleep, creep and leap.
During the first year of a young bamboo plant’s life, most of its energy is devoted to
laying a strong foundation via the root structure. Plant shoots peak out above the ground and underground rhizomes shoot out horizontally.
As the foundation builds, the plants continue to grow but most of the ‘work’ is still being done underground. The roots branch and spread even further. They provide water to the leaves and the leaves use sunlight to produce food that the roots need to expand further and stock up on energy for next year’s shoots.
Once the foundation has developed (and this may take years) the above-ground plants grow rapidly. Each year, as the stand of plants matures, the diameter of each new cane that develops, is generally larger than those that were ‘born’ last year.
So, as with your business, the huge bamboo stand of plants isn’t built in a single year. But once the foundation is laid, growth seems almost miraculous.
Here are a few of the steps you must take to enjoy miraculous business growth.
In the Sleep phase, you dream. You envision and clarify your ideal clients, your ideal work day and your overall ideal day. Without this step, you’ll feel unfocused, frustrated and stressed.
You also clarify what you’ll be offering to the market place and how to best distinguish you and your business from all of the other vendors with similar offers. You work on branding and understanding exactly how people or companies benefit from working with you.
You define your ‘product mix’, create revenue goals, set prices, deterimine sales channels and schedule your major marketing activities.
In the Creep phase, you launch your marketing efforts in a focused and aggressive manner. You identify what you need to run a successful business from an internal perspective and from an external marketing perspective. You implement your marketing plans and measure your success. If you skip this step or do it poorly, you’ll feel scattered and leave money on the table because you miss opportunities that are right there in front of you. You’ll use the wrong approaches and waste precious time and money.
In the Leap phase, you work on leveraging your success. You work ON your business not just IN it. The focus here is on time mangement, automating and systemitizing. You document and delegate, work to continually delight your customers and build internal financial metrics and controls.
You also start to convert your ‘secret sauce’ into products that you can use to build revenue that is not dependent on you actively working with clients. You build raving fans, referrals, affiliates and perhaps joint venture partners. You enhance and expand your online marketing efforts. NOw that you’ve got your systems in place, you aggressively drive traffic to your website to generate qualified leads.
During this phase, you’ll probably encounter more leadership challenges so you’ll also work on improving yourself while managing the issues of leading a team of employees or contractors. You may even decide to pursue bigger, better and more well-heeled clientele.
If you don’t Leap successfully, you’ll survive but miss out on the mega-growth that you probably dreamed of when you first launched your burgeoning empire.
While I’ve laid out these 3 stages sequentially, you’re almost always working on some aspects of each of them. At various phases of your own evolution, you make focus on different aspects of this model. You may elect to restart the process at stage 1 if you decide to revamp your business. You may jump in at Stage 2 if you love the clients you have and the work you do, but the model isn’t generating enough cash.
And as you grow, you’ll need to work on Stage 3 to Leap into an even more prosperous future and create the lifestyle of your dreams.