What it takes to drive a successful business? I have been asked this question at various platforms by people who are looking at starting their businesses or are stuck in growing their business to next level.
My answer is very simple, same what it takes to deliver and nurture a baby, the only two differences are, you may be a man doing it and it can be a journey of more than 9 months some times. When you deliver a child you do your best for the unborn child in any given circumstance. Just explaining in stages-
Stage 1: First trimester
When you are in your first trimester, you are still taking time to adjust with it and accept that you are having it. You can’t see or feel it much. Though your body within starts showing signs and different signals good or not so good. Sleepless nights, worry of future and overwhelming feeling. The world cannot see it at all. Besides planning about the birth, you share with family and close friends to take advice and share the happiness. You get 10 different opinions and advices including the right advice of doctor which you follow. All this for delivering a healthy child.
Now assume you are starting a business and you have begun, for first few months, you do not see the identity as such, what you exactly do is plan on papers, plan in your mind, meet people, understand consumer, do research so that when you launch, it’s well accepted. You have sleepless nights and the only agenda is your how can I make it a success?
Stage 2: Second trimester
In the next trimester, you can see and feel the child visibly. You eat, drink, take supplements, meet your doctor, and stay hydrated throughout the day so that you can nurture it. It’s like making sure the foundation is good to have a healthy child. Similarly in business the next stage after planning and research is to make it more visible by discussing the idea at valid forums (idea validation), meeting potential clients and talking about it, network with people. Just like you have a doctor, Infact it’s a great idea to have a coach or mentor at this stage.
Stage 3: Third trimester
Now the world knows about your pregnancy and it tries to help you like doctors, colleagues, family, friends even strangers. Your hospital visits are more frequent, you are making sure you take it slow because a slip off can be very dangerous, you are taking walks (if not a condition) even if its tiring, you are sleepless and waiting for it to be born while planning the after birth scenario.
Similarly in this stage you find people are connected to you more, your idea pitching sessions, investor meetings are more frequent. You are giving your best shot to launch it being very cautious with launch strategy, the next 1 year to 5 year plan and strategy and business model is made clear.
Stage 4: The birth
Once your baby is born, you rejoice and then you plan next few months, and year may be, from planning you get into managing routine and resources like help, elders or hubby, it’s very taxing and your team supports you. In business after launch you celebrate for a while and then get involved in management on daily basis, putting resources in place, getting work from team and are involved in nurturing it.
Stage 5: Nurturing
For initial few years of birth say 2.5 before pre-school, the daily routine, adjustments, feeding, timing for baby, time for self and everyone around is adjusted with. Playing, eating, bathing, sleeping is all that is important. Similarly first few years of business are about setting culture, marketing, getting business, giving it best, team management and giving best quality to customers is all that is important.
Stage 6: Growth
Growing a child is though is an unending process because there is no set bench mark, no guideline and no one situation, still if you do it well for 5 years, the child acquires abilities and skills to be independent for ever. You start pushing the child into sports, hobbies, arts to give more exposure and growth. The main transition is you don’t have to do anything, you just need to oversee.
Same way in five year your business gets to the stage where you are less and less involved, systems are on autopilot and you just oversee. Growing it from here is networking, adding more lines, more projects or products, diversify or extend geographically.
Stage 7: Encash
After this the last is enjoy the harvest. Your child now is regular in school, doing good, giving you more reasons to smile. You are still watching over things but enjoying it now. In business your sales are going high, even growing it by various possible ways is a routine now, its reaping profits and going great.
All the 7 stages are crucial and may look like never ending. The good news is they evolve; you evolve at each stage, from a start-up to a successful business owner, from a wannabe to an established entrepreneur. You get here only when the foundation is strong. So happy Parenting!
If you are struggling don’t be disheartened, parenting can’t be taught, it comes with experience and every experience is unique. You can see a doctor though J