All of us who have built multiple new companies remember the energy, excitement, chaos, and uncertainty of the early business startup days.
Every business startup up not only has to find its own path to profitability, but it also has to establish a sustainable sales base to provide the cash flow to give it staying power to grow and develop.
During this time you’ll likely be working long hours with no guarantees of success. This means that there is no control and no freedom. But the good news is that done intelligently, you can quickly move through this Start-Up Phase start to enjoy the rewards of a rapidly growing company.
As part of the Level Three Road Map™, we break the Business Startup Phase into two parts: Level One and Early Stage Level Two.
Level One: The Birth of Your Business Startup!
Planning; Funding; Launching!
At Level One, you’re designing and planning your new startup.
You’re gathering your initial team, raising any required startup capital, and executing your launch plan.
Your focus at Level One is to plan your new business and get immediate market feedback to learn if your business concept and model is economically viable. This is a fancy way to say you’ll be testing your product or service to see if you can sell it at a price that allows your business to be profitable.
The 4 Action Steps You Must Take in Level One
Action Step 1: Clarify your basic business idea.
Action Step 2: Conduct your market research.
Action Step 3: Write your business plan ‘draft.’
Action Step 4: Test your product or service to make sure it will sell.
Maui Advisor David Finkel with Thomas Jordan. Thomas raised $1.2 million to launch his start-up.
Business Startup Case Study: Thomas Jordan, Peregrine Mobile Bottling, LLC
Thomas Jordan, a three-time Maui Mastermind Wealth Summit graduate and Business Coaching client for two years, left his corporate job and launched his own business – a mobile bottling company in Napa Valley, CA. He raised over $1.2 million to get his business off the ground and even though he was scared and overwhelmed at times, he held true to his dream, and followed the Level Three Road Map to successfully launch his new business.
This past year Thomas and his company grew sales by over 50%, and are on pace to do it again next year!
Steve Barcik, a former engineer, raised over $2 million of venture debt to launch his LED lighting start-up.
Business Startup Case Study: Steve Barcik, Firefly LED Lighting, Inc.
Steve Barcik of Firefly LED Lighting started from a problem—traditional LED lighting solutions were either inefficient, or would fail too early. He and his partners created a breakthrough technology (along with over 10 patents) to not only deal with the “thermal” inefficiencies (i.e. to dissipate the heat better), but to also keep their lights running multiple years longer than their competition.
After raising over $2 million of venture capital, Steve got down to business—nailing down the manufacturing process and establishing several sales channels.
A client in the Business Coaching Program for over 2 years now, Steve’s company double sales the last two quarters straight!
He says, “What I would say to someone that is trying to decide whether or not to be part of Maui mastermind is just to do it. If you wait, you’ve wasted another year. I wish I would have done this 20 years ago.”
Early Stage Level Two Business:
Pulling the Trigger and Launching Your New Business—Out in the Market Selling!
As an Early Stage Level Two business your focus has now shifted to securing your early clients and becoming profitable.
This is the time when you can really leverage your ability to change and adapt, keeping costs low and your business lean.
Fresh in the marketplace, your Early Stage Level Two business has just started actively marketing and selling its products/services. This is the time to learn your business and market, and if needed, discover and cure any fatal flaws in your business model or in the way your targeted customers perceive the value you’re creating.
Your early focus while launching a business isn’t on building the perfect product or service, but rather on figuring out how you can get people to buy. Too many entrepreneurs get caught in the trap of making the perfect gizmo, but never actually sell that gizmo in large enough numbers to ensure a profit.
Know that at this stage in your business’s growth, you’ll be wearing just about every hat in the business. That’s okay for now, but as you move toward Middle Stage Level Two, you’ll need to find ways to leverage your personal production for the business by hiring staff and building basic business systems.
Remember, an Early Stage Level Two business is working to generate sales, establish a market position, and become a sustainable business.
Three Priorities of an Early Stage Level Two Business
- Priority #1: Sell, Sell, Sell!
- Priority #2: Start Creating Simple Systems and Structure to Operate Your Business.
- Priority #3:When Your Business Can Afford It, Begin to Build Your Team
Peter King leveraged the power of systems, business controls, and staff to have his first 5-figure month!
Business Startup Case Study: Peter King, Digital Publishing Solutions
Peter King had a background in internet marketing. His main challenge is that he didn’t know how to scale his business beyond the “one hour of work for one hour of billable reward” model that too many knowledge experts get trapped in.
In his first 6 months of the Business Coaching Program, Peter learned to implement specific operational systems inside his young company that helped him produce and fulfill on sales that went well beyond just his own personal production for his clients. The results speak for themselves—in less than six months working together Peter enjoyed his first of many 5-figure sales months!
Here’s how Peter puts it, “In just the first 6 months of the program I’ve used what I learned to implement some key operational systems, and am now focused on building my sales and marketing systems. As a result we recently had our first 5-figure month! If you want to have a concrete road map to follow as you develop your business, I strongly encourage you to work with the Maui team.”