Startup Coaching

Three Cycles

Every business in your market, your community, and in the world, is at a different stage of growth. We divide those stages into 3 Cycles: Traction, Growth, and Enterprise.

Traction Cycle

You are just getting started. You need every bit of help to get traction, that solid connection with your customers that results in sales growth. In tech start-up terms we are talking about stage one or stage two startup. Different world, same challenges: selling, selling, selling, and setting up the business model for sustainable profits and growth.

Startup Coaching - Traction Cycle and Startups need sales and a profitable business model

We know what keeps you up at night as a new business owner. Getting traction feels like it takes everything you have but the wheels still keep slipping. It is a constant effort to keep sales growing while also trying to build the foundations of a sustainable business.

Traction Cycle Priorities

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Administration
  • Growing a network
  • Growing business knowledge

Traction Cycle Tips

Sales

  1. Get out from behind your desk. There is no substitute for personal connections. In retail you have to let people know you exist and learn from them what their needs and fears are.
  2. Structure your time. Set priorities (types of products; types of customers) and use a calendar to honour those priorities.
  3. Follow up. In retail or B2B (business to business sales) follow up on every sale you can. Ask your customers for their support in improving their experience. Ask their permission to contact them to see if they are delighted. Or not.

Marketing

  1. Follow up. As early as possible start some form of CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Ask your customers for their contact information and stay in touch. Email newsletters are the most cost-effective form of follow-up, but other forms will be determined by who your customers are and the nature of your business.
  2. Get social. There are still business owners who question the value of social marketing (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc.) There is no question except ”How?” No two businesses will use the same tactics to be successful. You have to find your own social groove, but find one you must.
  3. Track your efforts. The first day you open your doors is not too soon to start tracking your marketing efforts. The sooner you do the sooner you will have a benchmark against which to measure which channels, platforms, campaigns, products, services and messages work, and which don’t. If you aren’t tracking you are throwing spaghetti at the walls and probably wasting money.

Administration

  1. There’s an app for that. Check out the various add-ons, plug-ins, and apps for your browser, your computer, and your phone that help with things like tracking receipts, managing invoices, collecting items for social marketing, using your time productively. There’s an app for almost every area of a business-owner’s work. You just have to look.
  2. Good administration is good habits. Put your receipts into the same place every day. Schedule when you do email.
  3. Hire a VA. For as little as $25 a month you can take work off your desk. Managing receipts and invoices, social media marketing, website content, and so many other things do not require full-time employees at the start.

Growing a Network

  1. Join up. Join a networking group like Business for Business Networks (or start one up in your community) and join your local Chamber of Commerce. Show up as often as you can; even 1 – 2 times per week in the beginning.
  2. Extend your network. New business owners tend to focus on creating a network of leads or potential customers. That matters, but a network of support and suppliers matters just as much. People who can provide good advice and people who can supply your business with the best products and services and provide great support have a huge impact on the success of a business.

Growing Business Knowledge

  1. Use sites like about.com to learn about business foundations (https://www.thebalance.com/starting-a-small-business-4073888).
  2. Networking is more than sales. Networking is also about learning. Go to the Business for Business or Chamber events to learn as much as to network. Accountants, insurance advisors, business coaches, social media consultants, and many other professionals speak at these events to develop their own businesses. For you it is a free learning opportunity.
  3. Take the Great Performances Business Foundations Training program. This is a fully coached online program teaches and guides you in shaping the foundations of your business for profit and sustainability.

Traction Cycle Services

The advisors in the Great Performances Group provide services to support the profitability and growth of Traction Cycle, First and Second Stage Startups.

  • Sales training
  • Business Foundations Training
  • 90 – Day Foundation Building Consulting
  • Virtual Administrative Support

 

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Doug was a joy to work with, as I pressed the reset button on our business after our main product’s market turned commodity. Though we design custom embedded systems and are challenged to explain what we do (other than “we specialize in the weird”) Doug came up to speed on our markets and talents and capabilities very quickly. He provided valuable guidance both on the process of evaluating business/product ideas (from a selection of over a dozen) to specific recommendations on some of the details of implementing the “go forward plan”. He is extremely bright, yet easy to work with, and communications were crystal clear at all times. We will continue to employ the benefits of his grey-matter in the future.

Brian Empey

Doug’s coaching and mentoring were of great value to my company as we entered and proceeded through an international business competition. With Doug’s help, our company placed in the top ten. Doug’s help was especially important in the final round when we made our pitch to an elite group of investors.

Thanks to Doug’s experience, he had the ability to intuitively understand and analyze our strengths and weaknesses and quickly provide a clear, effective plan of action for us.

Phil Bailey

I began working with Doug in 2016, following a difficult year where we faced many of the regular challenges new start-ups meet. Doug rapidly helped me take a step back from my business and implement simple yet highly valuable tools to clarify our vision, focus and address issues at a steady pace, quarter after quarter. I would recommend other small business owners to work with Doug and implement the EOS tools.

Olivier Lessard