“It’s absolutely true that the market finds you. And it’s not usually what you expected.” –Becky Rohrer
WOW! Look at you! You have made it to the final stage and you’ve certainly come a long way. You have faced challenges head on and experienced what it is truly like to start a business, be an entrepreneur, hold yourself accountable, and maintain a balance for accomplishing your goals. If you don’t quite feel like you are at this stage yet, it’s okay. Try reading or rereading our previous blog post on stage one, stage two, and stage three of your emotional road to startup success.
The important thing that authors Abarbanel and Freeman tell us in their book, is to make sure you keep your momentum. This stage is exciting because you are starting to find that your business has started to develop its own rhythm; a unique pace that you have been looking for since the beginning when it seemed like a distant goal so long ago.
The authors explain in their book, “Birthing the Elephant,” that over the next twelve months, you major goals should include the following:
- Gain a better sense of your business’s rhythm.
- Let your market reveal itself to you.
- Take advantage of mentoring and build new alliances.
- Create a renewal strategy to prevent burnout.
What you’ll expect to feel:
- Been there, done that blues
- Pedal-to-the-medal fatigue
- More confident
Key success strategies:
- Let your market find you
- Use downtime productively
- Push promotion to the next level
- Make renewal a priority
The “been there done that blues” may describe your day-to-day grind pretty accurately by now. You may be feeling more empowered than ever before but you may also be wondering, “where are my perks?!” Are you still working out of your garage, making dozens of phone calls, or stuffing envelopes (or something similar), yet you didn’t imagine your “before” stage to look similar to the “after” stage? Heck, maybe you envisioned yourself as being featured in an Entrepreneur Magazine article by now! Don’t worry–this is when you have to let your market find you. This is an organic natural process and it’s important for you to let your business evolve rather than force it in the direction you think it needs to be going in your market. Remember to stay your course, and use those motivators you developed in earlier stages.
In addition to the “been there done that blues,” you might also find yourself feeling “pedal-to-the-medal” fatigue. As a part of your expectations for the perks you should be getting by now, you are desperate to find the time to take it easy for a bit. However, right now your only option is to do the complete opposite and keep going full speed ahead. In this stage, it’s critical that you take care of yourself as well as your business. If the empowered entrepreneur version of yourself is turning into a version that is taking a toll on you and your personal life, there are things you can do to help. This is what the authors call the strategy of making renewal a priority. This renewal strategy should be in line with setting the goal of bringing the personal and professional sides of your life into a better balance. Use the downtime you do have, productively for both you and for the relationships in your life that you may have unintentionally neglected. Don’t forget: the relationship you have with yourself is just as important!
Finally, in this stage you should be feeling more confident! Like every other stage, this is the silver lining. The work you have done that has all led up to these final moments are starting to pay off in ways you may not notice right away. There have been many ups and downs but what has changed is that you believe in yourself and your ability to form your business into a thriving success. Enthusiasm and expertise that have been building up have led to the final outcome of a tremendous amount of internal and external success in yourself and in your venture.
In this final stage, make sure to utilize mentors for fast-track advice, and discover or nurture creative alliances. Your business is going full-speed ahead, so keep up the momentum with promotion. Your marketing program should be proactive and consistent. It’s alright if it takes you a little while to find the best program to fit your business; just make sure you keep experimenting, testing, and readjusting as needed. Take a real hard look at who you were coming into this massive undertaking, and who you have grown to be, and I’m certain that the experiences you’ve had are going to be ones that you will remember and will benefit you for the rest of your life.
Where are you in your stage of start-up success? How have you managed to stay motivated? Tell us your story in the comments below!