Friday, October 18, 2013

What Happens After Success?

Many think that success is the destination. I urge you to consider that it is a layover. 

Not to rain on anyone's parade who has (finally) achieved success in their business, but I want you to avoid a potential devastating reality that I have seen sneak up on too many "successful" entrepreneurs. Too many times to list, I have been asked to help bring life back into a business that peaked with immense success and then (sometimes slowly) diminished into declining sales and profits. 

How does this happen? 

I have written before about how this happens and although it is important to know the pitfalls, I think it is critical to understand that once you attain success, the game is not over. Therefore, I offer to you what I know to be important to understand early in the life of your business so that you can maneuver through success to sustained success and continued growth. 

A few questions to ask yourself…

  • Do you want to continue to grow? 
  • Do you have an exit strategy?
  • Do you intend on selling your business (at any time)?
  • Does your passion run hot for new markets or is your vision myopic?

The above questions were really breadcrumbs to lead you to the answers. Trick move —sorry. 

If you don't continue to grow your business, it drastically effects your ability to sell your business when you are ready to leave (retire, move onto other things, et al). It will also eventually effect market share. (Yes. Someone else will come into your space and do it better, faster or cheaper — or just with more attention!) Therefore, you must add new markets, new channels, new products, new exposure (entrance) points and new marketing strategies to move past the success phase and to continue to thrive.  

This isn't to say that you shouldn't enjoy your success. We all set goals to achieve them. Be proud of what you have done. But please, do not take this achievement as the end game. To use an old phrase, it is a marathon – not just a sprint. Another way to look at it is that it is continuous entrepreneurship. It is not a permanent destination. Success is just a layover onto the excitement of more growth!

So, once you have attained your goals, celebrate! Then, get excited about the future. Don't stop! Build new products. Find new ways to promote. Seek new markets. Develop partnerships and consider prudent, well-suited acquisitions. With a solid understanding that there is a "post success" phase you will be ready for it. You will be ahead of most who believe that success is the destination. Enjoy your layover there, but get back on the cruise ship and take the rest of the journey. When you are ready to move on, you will reap the rewards of being a serial entrepreneur with a sale worthy business that possesses a innate culture of continued growth. Sound life a journey? It is...enjoy it!

Fore reading on the pitfalls that many encounter, here are a couple of past posts to take a look at: