Stage 1: Formulation

In this stage, you are doing all of your thinking and planning about your business.  You put together business plans, budgets, marketing plans, recruiting plans, economic forecasts, etc.  You commit to paper everything you can possibly think of about your business.  You basically do a brain dump.

Stage 2: Concentration

Concentration is characterized by lots of energy and activity going out, but very little coming in.  For every ten actions you take, only 1 produces a result.  You’re not spinning your wheels because all of your actions are on purpose and designed to get your business up and running.  It’s just that you’re expending a lot of energy with very little to show for it. If you’ve ever had to jump start a car by popping the clutch, you know what I mean about concentration.  Remember how you got behind the car, which was at a dead standstill, and pushed and pushed with all your might but the car barely moved.  You put out a lot of energy and hard work with very little result.  The car just barely began to roll forward.  But then you entered Stage 3.

Stage 3: Momentum

Using our car analogy again, momentum is where you are still applying energy and effort, but now you’re beginning to see results.  The car is starting to move.  It’s picking up steam.  You’re still struggling, but the car is moving faster and faster, and it’s getting easier and easier to push it.  Momentum is now instead of 10 actions to produce one result, it’s 7 to 1, then 5 to 1, then 3 to 1, and so on.  In your business, you’re making phone calls and more of them are returned, you’re putting out advertising and more people are responding, you’re going on sales calls and closing more sales.  You can feel the momentum building.

Stage 4: Stability

In this stage, your business has become fairly stable and predictable.  You know that if you do certain things, customers will show up.  Ads produce a steady stream of clients, cold calling or prospecting gets so much business, etc.  If you go on x number of appointments you’ll close y number of sales.  Your conversion rates are steady and predictable.  It’s one action out, one result in.

Stage 5: Breakthrough

If you reach this stage (and I say if because in my experience few businesses ever get here) then your business takes off, often in unpredictable ways.  The phone is ringing off the hook, your seminars are filled to overflowing, you’ve got so many client appointments you can’t keep track of them.  In fact, you’re getting calls and leads from the proverbial “out of the blue.”  Someone’s aunt’s brother’s cousin’s sister calls you and you can’t even remember where you met the first person in the chain.  Business cards you left at someone’s office months ago falls into the hands of someone you don’t even know and they call you and say that they need to meet with you right away because you’re the answer to all their problems.  On some level you could almost say you’ve got too much business.  You have to generate new structures and systems to handle and manage it all. It’s almost like going back into formulation again, because in essence you’ve got a totally new business, very different than the one you conceived back in Stage 1.

Generally speaking, these stages are linear, and if you skip over one of them you usually pay the price somewhere down the road.  If you don’t formulate and go right into concentration, you’ve got a lot of activity but with no direction or purpose.  It’s random and ill conceived.  If you don’t do the legwork of concentration, you’ll miss out on valuable learning experiences and insights that only come from hard work and perseverance.  I’ve occasionally seen clients of mine in the real estate field go from momentum to breakthrough (a quick explosion of leads and appointments and listings and buyers) and they get so wrapped up in servicing those clients that they stop prospecting and lead generating. Then when things calm down and all those houses are sold and buyers have found homes, there’s no business and they have to go back to concentration again, hitting the phones, walking their farm area, etc. and it takes them 2-3 months to get back to building a stable business.  So be aware of following the model one stage at a time.

– Brad