Overcome Overwhelm: 3 Stages of Business

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In our 3 Causes of Overwhelm post recently, we shared that the primary cause of overwhelm is trying to do all things equally and simultaneously while constantly being seduced by new and brighter shiny objects.

In order to manage your overwhelm, you must know which stage your business is in and what your priorities are as a responsible CEO/business owner in that stage.

The 3 Stages of Business

Every business goes through 3 separate and distinct stages — truthfully there are 4, but everyone tends to merge 1 and 2 together so it makes sense to treat them as a single stage.

Level 1: Foundation and Getting Clients

Level 2: Adding Leverage

Level 3: Increasing Profits

It’s critical to note that “length of time in business” has absolutely no, make that ZERO, bearing on what level your business is in. It’s a matter of reaching certain goals or levels, totally irrespective of “time in business”.

Now let’s break these down:

Level 1: Foundation and Getting Clients

Level 1 is where most business owners start… and stay.  Often until they close their doors. I don’t tell you that to be all “doom and gloom”, but rather so you can avoid the pitfalls of so many before you.

What often happens however is that Level 1 business owners want to achieve success quickly – become highly profitable, earn 6 figures, host a high level program or offer high level consulting services, all when no one knows who they are or whether they’re even going to stay around.

While a version of this is true for most businesses, it’s much more so for online-based businesses. There’s such a low initial investment for becoming an online business that people are starting and closing them daily.

Level 1 business owners are often easily seduced by those who cater to opportunity seekers – simply because they’re so anxious to generate revenue.

As a result, many Level 1 business owners end up deep in debt with very little to show for it.

At its core, a Level 1 business owner is defined as someone who needs clients to ensure the business is viable. Period. 

Level 2: Adding Leverage

You know you’ve reached Level 2 when you’re serving clients, earning revenue and spending way too much time working in your business and not enough living your life.

You’ve created a more-than-full-time job for yourself.

It’s time to add some leverage so you can continue to receive the revenue, even increase it, while optimizing your time, growing your profits and, dare I say it, even reacquainting yourself with friends and family. 

Level 3:  Sustained Growth and Increased Profits

You know you’ve reached Level 3 when your business is humming along. Your clients are happy, you have plenty of well-paying clients who appreciate what you offer and refer you to others, your team is doing their job and it’s time to focus on scaling profitably.

Want more specifics about the levels and what types of activities to focus on in each? Download our complimentary e-book here.