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The Four Stages of (Business) Life

I was speaking with a client today. She was one of the first women I helped start her own business and she went after it with all she had. Before long, she was making more money than I was! Today, she called to tell me she had hit a slump and she thought maybe she had taken this business as far as it could go. Of course, she is wrong. She has just hit that stage in her business life that I call the "dry spell."

If you have been in any kind of business of your own then you know what I'm talking about. You will go through stages while you get things up and running and then find your equilibrium. There are typically four stages to the life of any business and what you do during each of them can dramatically impact the life of your business.

The first is the "new business excitement" stage. You have just joined a great opportunity or launched your first product or put up your first site and you are jazzed! You have the best deal out there and you are going to whip the world. You are going to make so much money that no one will even believe you when you tell them. You are full of energy and new ideas and can't wait to do them all. Unfortunately, that's the problem at this stage. You may have a tendency to scatter your time and resources among so many different things that nothing gets accomplished and you get discouraged. You are so busy building your business that you forget about the rest of your life. As resources dwindle and energy drops, you begin to worry more and more about your decisions until - you quit, thinking your business idea was a bad one or the network marketing opportunity was just a scam.

How to you make it through this stage? Focus. If you have joined a network marketing business, concentrate on finding customers for your products and team members for your downline. Decide how many prospects you can talk to effectively each day. That's your goal. If you don't gain a customer or recruit a team member that day, don't keep pushing out of desperation. Panic shows! Just set it aside and start fresh tomorrow. And don't spend all your money buying the videos or trying the products or going to the meetings. You will need to budget for these things while you grow your business. When I first joined network marketing, it was just a few months before the company's annual meeting. Everyone was talking about it and asking me if I was planning to attend. I almost got caught up in all of the excitement and was just about to spend LOTS of money on plane fare and hotel rooms when someone in my upline stopped me. He asked me how much money I was making and I told him I had just started. Then he said if I wasn't making enough from my business to pay for my trip, I should reconsider. There were probably other more important uses for that money and my time could probably be better spent at home building my business. It made sense, so while everyone else was in Las Vegas, I stayed home and recruited enough people to promote myself to the next level.

Stage two is the "dry spell." You have been working as hard as you can and yet you just aren't growing like you did in the beginning. You have run out of people to tell about your business opportunity. The initial excitement for your product has worn off. Your site just isn't getting the hits it used to. You're wondering "does this thing really work?" Don't panic. This just means it may be time for some changes. If you are in network marketing, it may be time to stop concentrating on building your own downline and focus on helping your team build their businesses. After all, if they are successful, it impacts you as well. Or perhaps it's time to look at some new marketing techniques or different markets for your products. Now is the time to learn some new ways to do things. Talk to your mentor. Read some of the books and newsletters published by the experts in your field. Brainstorm. And then make the changes necessary to move you past this stage.

Stage three is the "Wow - maybe this REALLY does work stage." You made it through stages one and two and you are seeing your business gain some new life. You feel a sense of hope that perhaps you can make this happen after all. You have new energy and a new outlook and a new optimism. Keep it going by concentrating on doing the things that helped you make it this far to begin with. This is where you want to really take a look at what held you back and what moved you forward. Discard the actions that limited you and focus on those that help you grow.

The last stage is the "I DID it!" stage. Your business is flourishing. You are making money. You have learned to balance your business life with your personal life. Don't lose it by becoming complacent. Always keep learning. No matter how long you have been in business, there is still something you can learn. Always stick to the basic plan that got you here in the first place. When things slow down, take a good look at what's happening and don't be afraid to make changes if necessary.

You can do this. Look at me. Just when I was thinking about retirement and wondering how I was going to afford it, a whole new world opened up for me! I'm doing things with my business now that just a few months ago I would not have dreamed of. And it's all because I refocused my resources, listened to the experts, made some changes to my business plan, and DID it!

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