Welcome to stage 5 of the s-curve of business, also known as breakthrough. If your business has reached this point it means your dream has taken off. As a result, you’re likely wearing many hats. You could be getting new customers, keeping on top of operations, delivering on promises made, making sales calls, keeping your current customers happy, and so on. In other words, you’re finding it very hard to say no, especially when each of these things is helping your company grow and thrive.
We get it. It’s an exciting (and probably incredibly exhausting time). It’s also a time when things can start to go very wrong. Why? You simply aren’t physically capable of doing everything yourself anymore.
This is the issue at the heart of the breakthrough stage – scalability. In other words, can you grow your organization so it operates on a larger scale? Or do you go back to where you were before?
This is a critical choice for entrepreneurs. While it’s great to see your dream grow and thrive, scalability is not always fun. You’re going to have to make some excruciating decisions, particularly about people. Are the right people in the right seats? Do their personalities and work styles jive with the culture and mission of the company you created?
Further, you have to be able to fund operating on a larger scale. Raising capital is tremendously difficult. In essence you are reinventing your company and transferring your value proposition (a statement that summarizes why a consumer would buy a product or use a service from you). Before the value proposition of your company was YOU. Now, it’s something larger and it needs to permeate through the entire organization.
These are tough decisions to make, but they matter if you want a healthy, sustainable business. It’s also important to remember how you got here and the importance of each step along the cycle. After all, all growth companies go through numerous S-curves during their existence, especially as they refine their products and services for their customers. Don’t believe us? Just look at the progression of companies like Apple or Microsoft.
So as you walk down the S-curved road, make sure to learn from each stop along the way. Generally speaking, the five stages are linear. If you skip over one, you may end up paying the price somewhere down the road.
No, we’re not being dramatic. Here are a few examples of things that may happen:
- If you don’t formulate and go right into concentration, you’ll end up with a lot of activity with no direction or purpose.
- If you don’t do the legwork of concentration, you’ll miss out on valuable learning experiences and insights that only come from hard work and perseverance.
- If you skip out on the momentum stage, you’ll potentially miss the conversation related to how your company can run on a larger scale. Think clarification of the decision making progress.
- Without taking the time to think through your future in the stability stage, you’ll miss the crucial conversation of where your business should go next.
- Getting to breakthrough allows you to reinvent your company and build a larger, more scalable model.
So enjoy the journey, but also understand the importance of each of these stages. And we hate to sound like a broken record, but a trusted business advisor will be able to help you navigate each step. If you want to learn more, let us know. We’re always here to help.