The greatest change that happened for me? Freedom. Freedom to go into a new era using my skills to grow my business without getting pulled back into the day-to-day operations.
As an experienced project manager, I would often be responsible for the creation and delivery of highly specialised products; a 15 tonne screw for a ship that by the time it was slotted in its place, had travelled 10,000km and involved 10 teams of different geographies and languages. 1mm out and I would be left with a pointless pile of metal. Never have I relied so heavily on effective teamwork and delivery.
Which is why I was confident in the value of my software solution and its ability to bring together teams and processes to efficiently deliver projects – and it did exactly this, as long as it had the commitment from leaders and employees to use it correctly.
I knew that my product was having the right effect on the companies I was working with, benefiting CEOs who wanted a better and happier working environment. It was clear and easy to use, review, and people were excited by it and wanted to be involved.
I was always passionate about this product and when it started achieving the success I could have only dreamt of, it just began to grow. I had people involved that I really trusted and a good list of potential customers who wanted to use it. It wasn’t a hard product to sell as there was such a demand for it in the market.
I had gone through the early growth stages with just me at the helm, living and breathing my customer – so much so that their needs and passions were mine, I couldn’t really distinguish between them anymore.
As success really started happening, on top of the day-to-day, I was dealing with a constant flow of different viewpoints on what my customer needed and how to roll out my product and evolve it to be even better – all of which felt like good ideas! People that surrounded me were passionate too and believed they also knew what was best. It’s amazing how quickly you can find yourself answering and pleasing many people on top of your end user, it just happens without you realising. My days just seemed to be spent answering questions!
The challenge was having so much to do. It was fairly exhausting and I had so many open ended projects, I never seemed to be able to breathe between selling and doing. I was running at a million miles per hour and was completely immersed in every part of the business. I knew it was time to grow but how was I meant to find that time?
We followed three clear pathways, which you can read about below and see addressed in the three micro-videos with Julie at the end. Hopefully you can use one of them, or all three might be just as relevant to you as they were to me.
I have so much more clarity in my mind. Great things have happened from taking 3 steps that saw instant change - change that I never could have imagined before.
What did I do?
I redesigned my avatar
Diving deep into who I was really serving. It had been a couple of years since I had done this task and it was invaluable to recreate the picture of why I was doing all of this based on actual data that I had never had before.
I redesigned the value process
From the beginning I was focused on getting my product to my customers in any way I could. I now needed to review this process with my new customer in mind – and without any hidden bias that might have begun to take hold.
I relooked at where I should sit in my business
Where I should place myself to get the best out of it and start to take a bit of a step back too (the dream!). The funny thing is, what I thought I needed was so very different to what I discovered I actually needed.
I recreated the picture of why I was doing all of this, who it was really for. This acted like a “mind filter” for me.
This was the theory behind the three pathways and below is how it was actually put into practise.
A clear customer profile
I created such a clear avatar that it acted as a “mind filter” - I even had a name for them and a photo! All of the opinions and ideas that were put to me or I came up with myself, now had a pole to hang off. I could filter everything by coming back to how I would service my customer better with nothing now being built on personal agendas. I was confident in who we were doing this for - making me more ready than ever to grow.
A process that ensured value
I went step by step from my new avatar, their needs and the value they were looking for, I could review our structure, processes and product offering to identify the gaps and the weak areas. I could balance what my customer wanted with the value of our product - ensuring its quality stayed consistent no matter how much we grew. I now have a process I can sell locally, regionally, and maybe one day into different countries. I don’t fear that statement now... I welcome it!
A clear role for the founder
When I was struggling for time I thought I needed support on the sales side - I was juggling and converting leads single handedly. However, I realised that with more support on the operations side, I could be focused where my strengths were - sales. This led us to hire an operations manager and it was easily the best decision for the growth of my company - and for myself - taking a step back from the hands-on running of the business (after paving the way) giving it to someone more technically qualified.
What I learnt is that it’s so easy to switch to thinking about your needs and those in your team – it’s a perfectly normal survival mentality that keeps you and your team feeling good.
However, this could have a much bigger impact on your business than you might realise now, jeopardising your success and the ability to grow again.
The path ahead is clearer than it’s ever been and I’m excited to embrace it with a full team behind me.
Rapid growth brings the risk of forgetting why you are doing it in the first place. Keep yourself grounded in what is actually important; the customer, their needs and the value you want to bring to them. These things together can be used as a guide to navigate and quickly make decisions based on fact; what you lean on to keep your purpose on track when things get busy and chaotic.
How this can work for you:
Our Wyseway questionnaire is a great starting point; it identifies your growth stage and the level of alignment within your company enabling you to see the areas of your business that need your focus to enable growth to happen. Or alternatively, get in touch with us for initial guidance, completely free of charge with no obligation for full support. We’d love to hear from you.