After 20 years of working with entrepreneurs at all stages of growth, I have identified three stages of entrepreneurship:
You are a new entrepreneur, most likely a Solopreneur, in your first 1-2 years of business in need of guidance, support, and business foundations & systems designed for immediate and long-term success. You also need to focus your time and attention on lead generation and sales to establish a viable business and pay your bills. You are being pulled in many different directions. There is a lot to learn and a lot to do all at the same time. Only the most determined, organized and strategic entrepreneurs survive. Support from community, friends, family and business professionals is essential to your success and your sanity.
You have expanded beyond Solopreneurship. Your client base and revenue are growing and you are finding it challenging to keep up with the demands of your business and stay focused on marketing, sales and client retention. Community support continues to be a big component of your success and having an assistant now is a must if you value your success and your sanity. You should not be trying to do everything yourself anymore. Once you onboard your VA, it’s a good idea to ensure the systems & tools you implemented as a Solopreneur support team collaboration. And documenting all of your processes and procedures should be one of your VA’s top roles & responsibilities. You should be running your business like a “real” business now.
You are an experienced entrepreneur with a consistent rhythm, clients and revenue. You may identify as a Small Business Owner now more than an Entrepreneur. You’ve already built a team of employees and/or contractors or are in the process of it. Community support is still an important component of your success but your needs have changed. Be sure to find a networking group with members in your same stage of growth. It’s time to revisit your operational infrastructure to ensure it will support your current goals and a team environment. You may have grown out of the infrastructure you previously implemented. And if you haven’t been documenting your processes and procedures, make it a priority now. in addition to your operational infrastructure requirements, the success of your business now depends on the success of your team. Make sure you know how to empower them to be the best versions of themselves. And ask yourself, do you have the desire and skillset to lead?