Have you ever attended a workshop or conference and thought the following as you were sitting there listening?
- This is all stuff I have heard before, I am past this point!
- I am totally over my head here, I have no idea what they are talking about!
- I love this, but really, I’m just not there yet.
- This is exactly what I needed to hear!
I think knowing where we are at in our business is such an important part of growth and planning. I think it also majorly determines what you should and shouldn’t be doing and what you should and shouldn’t be taking on. Because the reality of life is that businesses change and evolve over time and you won’t do everything you do in the beginning as you are in business longer. Just as there are some things you do later down the road that you just aren’t ready for in the beginning.
So where do you feel like you fit in right now?
- Are you in the beginning?
- Do you feel like your business is “on the verge” of being where you really want to be?
- Or are you in the more “experienced” stage of business?
And keep in mind, we can go in and out of the stages as our businesses grow and change, and our lives change. For example, my photography business has been alive and well for 10+ years so in many ways I am definitely more experienced. But my associate photography team is a much newer element so for all intents and purposes, we are in the beginning. And Seven Summers Creative is definitely in the “on the verge” stage of things.
And depending on where you are in your business, should be one of the most pivotal factors in the things you say “yes” to and how often you say “no”.
When you are in the beginning of your business you say yes to everything, and you hustle a lot! This is where all those 18 hour days and weekends working come into play. You are gaining valuable experience. You are going to make a lot of mistakes and even work with a lot of people that you may never want to work with again. But at this point, you are like the unformed piece of marble. You need a lot of polishing. This is a hard part of business, but one that doesn’t have to last forever. The more experience and education you can gain, the faster you can get to the next stage of business.
If you are on the verge, you start to take shape, so you are more discerning in the things you say yes to. You start to find the things you love and even develop a specialty in your industry. You start to really recognize the things that are a true opportunity, where earlier in your career anyone who wanted to give you money might have been seen as an opportunity. At this phase, I think is where many “on the verge” creatives take flight when they handle things in the right way. This can be the point in your career when you see the biggest space growing between people who you may have started alongside with. Some people who don’t have a solid plan and aren’t growing will flounder and maybe even fizzle out, while others will soar. (Need help learning to say “no” in a nice way? Check out THIS POST)
In the more experienced phase of business, you become the conductor on the “no” train. You will find that you say “no” to more things than you say yes to. You know who you are, what your business is, and what your brand is. But it isn’t all smooth sailing from here. This is also the place where many businesses can become forgotten about because they get too comfortable. In our ever-growing social media world, I have seen a lot of businesses just disappear because they didn’t stay on top of their game.
So it’s really important as you are moving forward that you know where you are right now. And that you adapt to the circumstances around you. That will very specifically determine what your focus should be and what things you need to be growing and adapting. One example is that for me as a photographer, we have had a lot of new talent come on the scene. Not just new people who bought a camera and are taking pictures, but truly talented people. And people love the “next big thing” so as an established business I had to be very aware of that and make sure that we were on our marketing game and that we were staying connected with all our clients so we didn’t lose them to someone who might have caught their eye.
I’m going to give you some homework today. I want you to take some time to answer these questions:
- What stage of business are you in right now?
- What are benefits of the phase you are in?
- What are the obstacles of it?
- What do you feel like are the three biggest areas of your business that you need to work on to move to the next stage or continue to excel in the stage that you are in?
No matter the stage of your business currently calls home, it is important to know that each stage is important and lessons learned within each stage contribute to the overall success of your business as long as the knowledge obtained through those lessons lead to positive actions.
If you are looking to better your business and acquire a set of tools to help your business progress we invite you to check out the 7S Working Community!