The transition from a startup to a well-functioning growing business can be tricky. Hence, why I call it the “teenage” phase of business. Some are conscious about the growth of the business, know their worth and adjust accordingly. A good example of this is social media Chris Brogan who wrote an excellent behind-the-scenes post about it called Redrawing.
I see many other businesses who struggle with how to scale their business–especially when it comes to serving clients and adjusting their services or products. It’s a familiar story I hear from founders all the time. An entrepreneur starts a business. Because they’re just starting out they take every client they can get. Typical of this phase of business. Fast forward a couple of years. They’ve been relatively successful and have a steady list of clients. Now comes the tricky part. They’re still acting as if they’re brand new to business. They’re reluctant to raise prices. They continue to act on the whims of their clients rather than setting up a relationship that works for them as well.
Bottom line: They don’t want to demand too much from their current clients. They’re afraid they’re going to scare away that steady cadre of business.
The Transition From Startup to Growing Business Can Be Tough
This is a common problem for businesses that are past the startup phase and moving into (or further into) the growth phase of business. While their skills and ability provide quality services or products has evolved, their beliefs haven’t. The white knuckle mindset (as I like to call it) will actually cause a business to stagnate. Or worse, the business holds on for dear life to their customers and existing standard operating procedures–white knuckling it all the way into decline. Business is not only about the tangible things like pricing, marketing, product development and feature sets.
It’s also a mental game. You have to know what you’re worth–and ask for it. If you don’t, you’ll miss growth opportunities. You’ll set your prices to low or allow the client to negotiate the price. You might give away too much for free. You’ll run all over town (or the online equivalent) trying to meet unrealistic demands of clients that serve their needs but not yours. You’ll be resentful or frustrated. Profits will stay the same–for years. Worst case scenario–you’ll go belly up.
Do the other things matter for a company in the growth phase? Absolutely. But if your business mindset ain’t right–it doesn’t matter what else you do in the business.
So how do you get your mind set for success?
Step1: Know the strength of the business. Figure out what sets you apart (this is also known as differentiation).
Step 2: Plant your flag there. Read: believe in your business. (And yourself)
Step 3: Know what you’re worth.
Step 4: Ask for it.