There's a theory that Zero-to-One is the greatest cost you will pay when setting up your business.
The theory states that going from nothing to something will be the hardest part of your journey. Maybe that's true. I'm not sure.
What I am sure of is that going from something to something-bigger can be tough too.
I'm also sure that the skills you developed in getting your business off the ground are unlikely the same skills you will need to scale your business.
The rest of this page is about a 4 minute read. So if this is resonating let's keep going - it could be a good investment of time on your part.
A Time to Transition
Transitions are normal in businesses as they grow.
Changing pace from the early rapid-burn to a more sustainable trajectory
Growing a team
Adapting to changing circumstances
These transitions - and more - are normal but they can be difficult and the 'move quick and break stuff' attitude of the early days can start to work against us. There comes a point where we need to adapt our approach.
What's more, we discover that some of the unimportant decisions we made early on are now having a negative impact. We could not have predicted how they would play out two, three, five years down the line. Some of these decisions have become embedded in team as behaviours that worked when the team was small but do not scale well. In fact they can now be holding us back.
The issue here is that we are being grounded by the very thing that we built to help us soar. We build our businesses to provide us with new opportunities and experiences - so why at times can it feel like a prison cell?
In truth there are lots of options. But that's a difficulty all in its own right! How do we choose the right way forward for us, at this moment - what is the North Star that will guide us?
With the right head-space you could definitely work this out, but a business in this stage of its development rarely cuts us a break. So you keep going. You keep up the cortisol inducing stress, you pull the extra hours, you keep hiring. Perhaps the next hire will bring the release you need? All the while wage bills are increasing and the sinking feeling continues.
You need a platform.
You need something solid that you can build beneath you and your business. You need space to build the platform. You need some input and a process that will support you in altering the foundational structure of what you're doing. Without this platform you cannot be certain you will be ready for scale and change.
You also need someone alongside you who can give fresh perspective, bring some key insights. Someone who can help you build a platform for your business that will meet the needs of tomorrow, not yesterday.
I have a process for doing this work, plus the experience and skills to support you. If that is something you think might be a good move for you and your business I would be keen to discuss it.
A bit about me
I've been running my own businesses for over 15 years now. I've succeeded at some, failed at others - and learned more from my mistakes then anything else! I've hired and fired, bloomed and pruned in season - I have that real world experience behind me.
I'm also at heart an abstract thinker, not afraid to explore alternative perspectives and find unique solutions. These are critical skills if you want to build the right DNA for your unique business, rather than borrowing from others.
Abstract thinking in of itself isn't an answer though so I have married this with a series of robust strategic frameworks and tools, a small amount of facilitation and a lot of coaching (ICF accredited).
I now have the genuine pleasure of working with small business owners and their teams to build strong platforms within their organisations so that they can scale. And sleep better at night.
My role sits somewhere between a non-executive director, operations and coach - with the exact blend dependent on what you and your business needs.
A bit about the process
The process is not magic (maybe a little), but sometimes even time away from the coal-face is enough to get the creative juices flowing. This head-space then allows us to plan next steps.
The process will start with your goals as a business owner; what is you want (and by extension what is it you DONT want!)? What does success look like? And what is it that is important to you?
We will then ask how we will bake these into the DNA of the business. What decisions do we need to make today that will establish your platform and allow you as a businsess owner to get what you need too?
Together we can tailor the exact outputs to your needs then we put that into place with you. The implementation will depend on your unique needs but there will almost certainly be coaching and mentoring. Perhaps for you, perhaps for your team. There will also be some operations - processes and procedures - and regular space to stop and review.
It tends to average half a day a week when annualised, with a fair amount of adapting to different schedules and business rhythms (something we'll probably look at as part of our setup!).
If this sounds like it might be what you need I would love to connect with you, maybe you could suggest a good place for us to meet over lunch? It's got to be a partnership that both want, rather than need - that puts us both in a position to miss expectations.
I only maintain a handful of these positions and choose carefully who I work with - you should too. So connecting well is the best first step.
[If we don't want to work together after that first connection, that is okay.] I'm not very cagey though so I'm pretty certain you'll have a lot to think about and put in place in your business even from the one session.