Nearly every day as I talk with business owners I will describe the 7 Stages to Freedom and ask them, “Where is your business on the 7 Stages to Freedom?” I have rarely heard a business owner say that their business is in the freedom stage. Take a look at the chart below:
Business owners in this stage are sick and tired of working for someone else. They are researching the market to determine a need for their product or service. They are creating a business model and looking for investment capital from banks or investors. There are in love with their idea!
1. Start Up Stage.
Business owners in this stage take the leap of faith and launch the business! They develop a plan. They talk constantly with whoever will listen about their differentiation. They are focused on all different kinds of marketing; developing a website, social media, networking groups.
2. Chaos Stage.
If a business owner is successful they descend into the Chaos Stage. This stage is characterized by disorder, red ink, and stress. Business owners are investing cash, time and energy. They are growing in sales. And usually, they are growing the team.
3. Break Even Stage.
From here a successful business owner will climb into the Break Even Stage. In this stage, the business owner is beginning to measure their results. They are providing incentives to their team and to Strategic Partners to join them. Finally, they are expanding their markets.
4. Burnout Stage.
In this stage the excitement has worn off. Too many hours, too many headaches, too many missed family events and too little pay have taken their toll on the stressed out business owner. Many business owners hire a business coach or quit in this stage. The key to moving forward is to fall in love with their business again. They need to renew their vision. If they do move forward they advance into Stage 5.
5. Profitability Stage.
Business owners in the Profitability Stage are making money but are usually working too many hours. They frequently feel “owned” by the business. To get to the next level they need to economize or to maximize their profitability. This can be done by implementing a lean program. They need to systematize, which includes documenting all key processes and making process improvements. Finally, they specialize, which may mean narrowing the scope of services to the ones that are most profitable and most scalable.
6. Success Stage.
When business owners reach this stage they are well known for their excellent products or services. They are making really good money. But they are still stressed and working too many hours. They are too involved in the day-to-day operations, and not involved enough in the business strategy. What most lack in this stage is delegation; “no one can do it as well as me.” They key here is leadership development. They need to delegate operational tasks to advancing leaders.
7. Freedom Stage.
When business owners arrive in the Freedom Stage, they could leave their business for 6 months. When they return the business would be performing better than it was when they left! In the Freedom Stage, a business owner can expand into new locations or start a non-profit. They can acquire another business. Or they can simply harvest the extra profits and enjoy a fulfilling life.
So I’ll ask you the same question that I ask other business owners. “Where is your business on the 7 Stages to Freedom?” If you are ready to go to the next level in your business, give us a call. We’ll explore that possibility with you, no charge. Since we’re talking about growing your business, here’s an article on 10 Ways to Grow Yourself So You Can Grow Your Business.
Tell us where your business is on the 7 Stages to Freedom in the comments section below.