By Darren Shirlaw

It’s too late to think about survival, you need to be focused on where your business is in its lifecycle to get your strategies for economic recovery timed to perfection.

Good times...to stress times

The easiest way to understand this concept is with reference to the Stages Model, where brick walls represent a company’s ‘platform- building’ phases.

Typically, businesses experience healthy growth between theses platform stages — in other words between the first and second brick wall.

Early on in this stage businesses report “good times” of healthy incremental, annual growth - times they’ll look back on as “the good old days”.

As confidence and revenues build, the business moves swiftly to payback, when business owners say, “We’re doing really well!”

During this stage, the business is typically cash-rich, with higher revenues and returns than the owners originally thought possible.

But there aren’t too many businesses in payback right now.

Payback can be a time of real euphoria in the business. But it rarely lasts. Business owners have built additional capacity and complexity into the business — and may have lost some focus.

The result is that, following payback, business owners usually find themselves having to deal with masses of day-to-day matters such as staff, overheads, debts and client servicing.

These drag the business owners back into the operations of the business and away from strategic and growth initiatives.

Enter frustration, which eventually leads to stress.

At this stage the business needs major restructuring, and new ‘platforms’ such as client servicing programmes, to enable more growth. We call this stage the second brick wall.

People often find that once they’ve gained clients during good times, the necessary infrastructures aren’t in place to service them — and the investment may be lacking.

So what happens in a recession? Recessions often cause businesses to accelerate into this second brick wall. Typically client numbers and revenue reduce and operational and staff issues increase.

Business owners are suddenly focused away from strategic and client issues and into the minutae of the back office. Businesses that were doing well in 2007 suddenly find themselves in the second brick wall in 2010.

Shirlaws is an international business performance and coaching company. We help business owners achieve their business and life objectives. Our programmes have changed the lives of thousands of business owners all over the world by removing barriers to growth and ensuring their business pays them richly in money and time. What Shirlaws brings is a language and system for growing businesses and building internal capability. A language and system that gives our clients three simple things: more time, more money, and less stress. Founded in 1999 Shirlaws has now grown to include operations in North America, UK, Europe, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. Our coaches take the many complex issues involved in running a business and help make them simple and easier to manage. We work alongside clients to guide their businesses to achieve long-term, profitable and sustainable business growth.

To find out more you can download our new book for free at www.shirlawscoaching.co.uk


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