We often think of our lives as falling into four seasons and it’s a handy way to think about your business too. What do the seasons mean for you?
Spring – Starting a new business, I think of the Spring season as the first five years.
Running a business is hard. You need to learn new, complicated information and processes. You need to (gasp!) sell. You need to figure out how to price your services and get prospects to understand who you are and how you can help them solve their issues.
You need to find ready buyers, network productively, manage your client relationships, and work efficiently. You need to use technology effectively, handle your accounting, and manage people. You need to set boundaries and expectations, have difficult conversations, innovate, and improve.
You need to generate a healthy profit so you can continue doing all the above.
And… Spring is a time of new beginnings, exciting adventures, and sunshine and rainbows. Your business can be a means to having the impact you long for in the world, a signal of your achievements, and an effective vehicle to build wealth.
Summer – Summer starts with the first blush of heat. You’ve made it this far and learned how to navigate the challenges of Spring.
While there are always ups and downs in business (as in life), you’ve weathered the storms and your business is growing steadily.
Owning a business can be lonely. As a service provider, you’re often working by yourself, adding contract staff and employees as your business grows. If you’ve come from a corporate career, you may really miss having a team of colleagues and resources at your fingertips.
You may feel extremely reactive, like you are handling everything you can handle. This hyper-vigilance can keep you from making improvements and force you to maintain the status quo. Everything seems like a priority and progress feels stalled.
Summer is the time you may be looking to innovate and reduce your own stress. This is prime time to improve your networking, surround yourself with advocates, and build up your revenue.
Autumn – When the leaves change color, you may be ready for change. Autumn in your business can be a time to evaluate and evolve.
With mastery comes restlessness. You’ve built your career as an expert in your field, and you’ve built your company with steady growth. You may start looking for new challenges.
The mistake we often make is thinking challenges have to be completely new, different, and difficult. We look for external solutions, like starting another business, searching for a business partner, looking for ‘passive’ income, or even closing the business to pursue something else.
Instead, you can seize the opportunities of Autumn and look internally for the significant challenge of preparing your business for Winter.
Winter – Every step you’ve taken to build your business has led to Winter.
You’ve spent decades honing your reputation, credibility, and business acumen. You care a great deal about your legacy and want to realize the value of what you’ve built. You’ve worked hard and earned every achievement. Shouldn’t there be a payoff?
The single biggest challenge of Winter is uncertainty, and the single best approach to uncertainty is maintaining control.
At some point, you will exit your business, whether it’s voluntary or not. If you needed to step away from your business today, due to a health problem or a family issue, would your company fall apart?
That uncertainty feels risky and scary, and you may fear you’ll have to close the doors and get nothing from what you’ve built. But your life’s work doesn’t have to end that way.
You may be thinking you have ‘nothing to sell’, but that is almost never the case. If you intentionally build real business value, you can position your business for your exit one day. Not today - not tomorrow – but on your timeline, at your pace, under your control.
Building value takes time and positioning your company for your exit can take five years or more. Build value now, so you can exit when you are ready, in a way that makes sense for you.
This is my life’s work: helping you fine-tune your operations and scale your revenue for strategic growth, creating real business value and emerging exit ready. That value can transform into wealth when you are ready to exit your company - and I believe that wealth in the hands of women elevates society as a whole.
Discover your Exit Readiness Index™ with this assessment: http://she-exits.com/
Which season is your business in now: Spring, Summer, Autumn, or Winter? Is your business where you want it to be?
I'd love to hear what you think. I read and respond to every email personally.
P.S. Are you giving 'invisible' discounts to prospects who didn't ask for them? The anxiety you feel when talking with a potential client leaks out when you slash your price because you're afraid you'll lose the opportunity if you don't.
I’ve broken down exactly why this 'discount dilemma' happens in an exclusive training called The Value Equation, which you can get for FREE by signing up for the bonuses that are companion pieces for my book, Your Hidden Advantage.
My life’s work is empowering high-achieving women business owners to fine-tune their operations and scale their revenue for strategic growth, creating real business value and emerging exit ready. That value can transform into wealth when they are ready to exit their company - and I believe that wealth in the hands of women elevates society as a whole.
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