WHO IS JACOB ALDRIDGE, BUSINESS COACH?
“The smart and quirky advisor who gets sh!t done in business.” Back independent since 2019.
Since April 2006, I’ve been an international business advisor providing bespoke solutions for privately-owned businesses with 12-96 employees.
At this stage you have proven your business model, but you’re struggling to turn aspirations into day-to-day reality. You are still responsible for all 28 areas of your business, but you don’t have the time or budget to hire 28 different experts.
You need 1 person you can trust who can show you how everything in your business is connected, and which areas to prioritize first.
Hi! I’m Jacob Aldridge, former Director of Strategic Advisory at businessDEPOT (2016-2019) and independent business advisor since 2006. This is the first in a series of videos done in partnership with the awesome team at businessDEPOT that we called “Blackboard Fridays”.
In today’s video, I’m talking about speed bumps hurdles and brick walls, the impediments the business owners experience as they go through their business journey. One of the challenges for business owners today is now the abundance of information and advice that exists.
We’re 20 years ago when I was starting my career–it was often hard to get good business advice now through the internet workshops and even just your friends. There’s a lot of information out there but knowing what to apply to your business can be a challenge because most of that information lacks two key elements. One, an understanding of your personal vision: How big do you want to grow this business? Are you trying to create a multinational multi-generational business, or are you looking for a small by yourself? A job kind of what enterprise the skills and strategies you need to apply will differ similarly knowing where you are along.
Your business journey will have a massive impact as to whether the strategies you design and implement work or fail. So, do you know where you are along your journey? Let’s walk through it quite briefly as we go through the journey of business. Energetically, the business owner and the business itself will go through periods and waves where they’re up exuberant excited about the business, or down feeling a little bit more introspective, or perhaps even stressed concerned or apathetic about the business, and this follows a general pattern in the startup phase. The energy starts off high—we’re excited, we’re venturing out into a new process, we’ve got business partners, or startup capital. There’s a lot of cash and other energy coming in to help us build the energy; unfortunately, that initial excitement doesn’t last. We hit what we call a speed bump.
Now, the problem with speed bumps isn’t that they’re massive and significant obstacles. It’s just that if you don’t approach them with sufficient speed, you can’t actually get over them and in fact, here in Australia, 50% of businesses that are started failed within the first three years. This speed bump is where they die and in reality, that many businesses don’t get the momentum that they need to get through that, and so that excitement turns into anxiety, uncertainty, and eventually a desire to shut down business. For the businesses that make it through that, that get their business model right, they will move into the scale-up phase. This is where growth in both revenue and profit starts to become a whole lot easier. Each month is better than the previous month.
Clients are now coming to you instead of you having to chase them and this is a phase that can last a decade. It feels fantastic, it feels like it will never end and unfortunately, in reality it often does because as we reach the pinnacle of this journey, we achieved the initial vision that we set out to achieve. It maybe five, eight, ten years since startup we finally realized the success that we wanted to commercially for ourselves culturally for the business. Maybe even changing the industry or the world but once you’ve achieved that, the challenges of the business start to build your energy will take a dip. This is the hurdle that many businesses overcome because they’re moving at such speed whether they manage to jump it or run straight through it. They keep going some businesses; however, do implode at the end of this phase.
For those that survive, they move into the step-up phase. This is the challenge because what we’re really encouraging you as the business owner or a CEO to do is step up and face the new challenges that the business is experiencing. The energy for you and across the whole business we’ll move down here into this negative territory. It’s not necessarily negative in terms of bad. It’s just negative in terms of necessitating change, and that’s one of the hardest things as a leader that you can do with the organization is look at things that maybe used to work but no longer work and change them—change the systems, the processes, and the people your business can successfully navigate this. It will move into being one of the top five businesses in the country.
Half of all businesses don’t get past that speed bump. The ones that actually make it through the brick wall are in the minority and what they get to do is choose: Do you choose to sell up the business from a place of success, knowing that you’re handing the buyer of the business or the next generation in your family are thriving? Ongoing enterprise that doesn’t depend on you, or indeed you may make a different choice you may feel based on your career, or just your energy in the excitement that you’ve got in front of you but rather than selling the business here and exiting you might take on funding or even out of cash flow decide to go through this cycle again at a much larger and bigger opportunity?
Understanding where you are along this journey and it is an energetic and emotional journey as much as it is around revenue and profit gives you an idea of what you need to be developing. In our next video, we’re going to go through the top three priorities that businesses. In each of those four phases need to review and implement, I hope from understanding this you’ve got a better understanding of where your business is the journey that you’ve gone on what you’re facing next, and most importantly you now have an additional contextual tool for filtering advice that you get especially from other business owners who may be in a different phase in their life cycle.
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