The 5 Steps from Surviving to Thriving in Business

Business can be a tough gig and not for the faint hearted. Balancing cash flow, clients, staff and your own sanity can be a juggling act at best. How do some businesses cut through all of that and go from surviving to thriving?

First let’s explore this concept of surviving in business. It doesn’t matter if you are a start-up or been in business 10 years, you could still be surviving. We know what survival means as a human – that we have money to buy food, we have shelter over our hear and clothes to wear to keep us protected from the elements. In business survival can look a little different except for the money side. No business will survive if there is no cash-flow.

Other traits of a ‘surviving’ business include having very few clients, no capital for investment, no team around you for support, working 24/7 and feeling like there is no progress – I call that “The Mouse on the Wheel Syndrome”.

Many businesses can be experiencing only one of the above or maybe none. But you could be at risk of falling back to one of those. For example you may have one awesome client worth a lot of money to you, so cash flow is coming, you may have a team around you but if that client pulls the pin you will slide into survival mode very quickly. Not a fun place to be, and may even cause the odd sleepless night.

So what does a thriving business look like? A thriving business has good solid and reliable cash flow, a great team, know what they stand for, have systems in place and the ability to leverage the business to scale, replicate or sell. Or the business owner has the ability to go away for 6 months and the business runs without them.

The following are the five steps to building a thriving business:

  1. Understand you strengths and development areas, be honest with yourself and be clear on what you are good at and what skills you may need to develop.
  2. Build a solid tribe around you. If you are in business alone then the tribe may include a mentor, accountant, coach and other business owners. Join a network group. Build your client community, know where they are hanging out and concentrate on creating raving fans.
  3. Know what you stand for, know your mission, vision and values. Stand out from the crowd and don’t be like everyone else. Never deviate from your mission.
  4. “McDonaldise” your business. In other words create systems, processes, procedures, checklists for everything. That way as you grow others can do the work for you.
  5. Leverage. Know your business model. If the business relies on you as the key person then take an income and build a wealth portfolio. If the business doesn’t rely on you then consider replicating, scaling or have it ready to be a sellable asset that you can retire on.

These steps can take time and need to be focused on concurrently. The most important of all is step 3 and that is being absolutely clear on why you are doing what you’re doing and what is the ultimate purpose of the business.