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August 24, 2021

126 | Part 2 – Phases Of Business And What To Focus On In Each

Last week we covered the first three phases of business from pre-conception, to conception, to embryonic. If you missed that, you’re likely in one of those three stages, so please do go give that a listen, then come on back.

Today we continue from embryonic to infancy. I know that all sounds so young when you can feel like, “oh my gosh, how can I possibly be in infancy when I am beginning to scale my business and possibly even hire multiple humans?!” But I assure you, you are still an infant.


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Last week we covered the first three phases of business from pre-conception, to conception, to embryonic.

If you missed that, you’re likely in one of those three stages, so please do go give that a listen, then come on back.

Today we continue from embryonic to infancy. I know that all sounds so young when you can feel like, “oh my gosh, how can I possibly be in infancy when I am beginning to scale my business and possibly even hire multiple humans?!” But I assure you, you are still an infant.

For perspective – I consider my business in the adolescent phase and I won’t be into adulthood for YEARS. I am just BARELY an adolescent in many ways. 

As I stated in the last episode, you are not confined to these definitions by any means. Maybe you’re between phases or resonate with a bit from one phase and a bit from another. The point is to identify and define YOUR PHASE, and what you need to focus on in order to make it to the next phase – if that is indeed what you want for your business.

Not every business will make it out of embryonic, or adolescent and that’s A-Okay.

So, small review of embryonic stage – the client roster is full, you feel like the bank account doesn’t always reflect the work put in, and you need to scale, you’re at your ceiling but you also don’t know HOW to do that, because you recognize that what got you from conception to embryonic is not going to get you to infancy. 

Infancy

If you haven’t already invested in your biz, I’d argue that infancy almost demands it. Either through hiring a house keeper, going to therapy, hiring a coach, or delegating tasks to book keepers, assistants, and other coaches is definitely going to happen. Directly related to, or indirectly related to your biz, get ready to invest money in order to create space or expedite having a plan to move forward and generate more revenue.

In business, we have these natural ceilings – periods of time where we need to create more space in order to grow. In those times, something has to give. And that’s normally money. Hello infancy.

You’re all in. You’re past sinking or swimming. You’ve proven you can swim, but it’s time to upgrade. You’re either building out an offer suite, to ensure that no money is left on the table, or hiring a coaching staff in order to reach more humans with your signature offer. Either way you’re scaling. This is typically where my 1:1 biz clients come to me at. Here, or in between embryonic and infancy.

In this phase you feel established. You know what you know, and you know how to leverage that. Your messaging is clear, and you’re confident in what you do, even if you need a reminder every now and again. As proud as you are of what you’ve built, you now see how much more you could be doing with your biz. How many more people you can reach – or you can reach your same people but in a new way, from a different angle.

Say you’re in the 3-5k per month mark but you want to hit that $7-$10k mark. This is, in my opinion one of the hardest jumps to make in the online health and fitness sole-preneur game. It’s massive to hit that $1,000 mark, and then $3,000. It’s massive to fill a client roster and be fully tapped out with 1:1 clients, let’s say. But THEN WHAT?! How do you get from that $3k to that $5k and from that $5k to $7k? This is where we go from being an online coach to thinking more like a CEO. To where we work ON business as apposed to IN our business.

That last part is infancy – the transition from solely working for yourself as an employee, to thinking and functioning more like the manager. 

The focus in this stage is how you’re going to scale. That’s it. What is your approach going to be for optimizing what you currently have, create space to OFFER MORE, and then launching whatever that solution may be. As stated in part 1, these phases are not time constrictive. There is no rule book here. So you may be in infancy for one year or three years. Only you know that! And I can’t tell you what to expect.

Once you do figure out a scaling structure that works for you and the idea of business you want for your life, then you begin to enter adolescence. That is, after you’ve actually scaled – successfully.

Adolescence 

You went through transition in your stage of infancy – less working in your business, more working on it. Being the visionary, the planner. That increases exponentially in the stage of adolescence.

When you reach adolescence, you will have hustled for years, likely. So, look forward to undoing a lot of what you’ve done from a behavioral standpoint once you reach adolescence. Boundaries will become a priority if they haven’t already. Where infancy demands investment, I believe adolescence demands boundaries.

You’ve built out your offer pyramid and scaled successfully through infancy. Now, you’re managing it all. Your focus is to optimize what you’ve built. What does your annual and quarterly plan look like? What are your revenue projections? You see where we’re going here?

Adolescence is managing your flow, and steering the ship. If you have passive offers or an offer pyramid with live launches, you’re planning those out so that it makes sense in a quarterly map. If you’ve hired coaches, you’re managing meetings, reviews, probably team building, their numbers, how to get them more clients etc. 

Or maybe you’re expanding your business even further – creating more offers, transitioning live offers into passive offers, to again, create more space in your business.

By this stage – by adolescence, your focus should be what people talk about in the first year of business (which is completely unrealistic and ridiculous). That is, focusing on getting closer and closer to doing only work that requires YOU to do the work. If you find yourself doing a task that someone else can do, delegate it. This requires you to get clear on what it is that your role is in your business. What lights you up + can’t be done by anyone else? That doesn’t have to be ONE TASK. But what are those things? And how can you make sure that you have the time and space to do those things to the best of your ability.

Like I said earlier, this is my current state of business. Because I am in it, I am sure the feelings I will describe are bias.

But in adolescence, I would hope you feel grounded, and like you’re finally getting to a place where you can actually balance life and business. You’re ACTUALLY running a business. For me, a joy has returned in this phase. There is joy in every phase, I hope. If you can’t find a bit of joy in every phase, I don’t know that owning a business is for you, to be honest.

Oh, in between adolescence and infancy is also where you begin to feel the weight of giving the government (in the U.S. anyway) all of your money. I’d say I am kidding, but I am not. I laugh just a tad at those who complain about capitalism. But we won’t go down that road today. Or likely ever on my show. Just remember that having to pay taxes is a good thing in the big picture. You’re profitable if you’re paying taxes, my friend. And we want to be profitable!

In the phase of adolescence you will focus on refinement, and optimizing what you’ve built, to the point that you either continue optimizing or build something new – either way continuing to scale to the next level, of adulthood.

You know how I mentioned earlier, that it gets murky in these last three phases of business growth? That is especially true when it comes to business size and revenue. I could see a range from $10k per month to $90k or $100k per month in adolescence, and then $80-$100k per month being that jump to adulthood. But even then, that’s low for so many businesses. I suppose in content of a personal brand and not a corporation, that’s a solid mark. Let’s roll with it.

Last up for the phases in building and growing a business is, adulthood.

Adulthood, if not in adolescence, will undoubtedly involve paid advertising. Again, perhaps I’m wrong here. I am sure some businesses in adulthood don’t use paid ads. And I am sure that some companies use paid ads in earlier stages of business. No one-size-fits all here. But I do think that by adulthood, most entrepreneurs are going to need to use paid ads to reach that next level. Especially if new offers are not being built, the offer suite is complete, and now you need to simply increase the lead pool….that comes through paid ads.

That’s the focus in adulthood – sustainable, optimized, growth. How do you take a $500,000 company to that seven figure mark. I think that’s the question that likely has to be answered in adolescence in order to reach adulthood. Adulthood is then managing, tinkering, and fine tuning structures, and processes all across the board.

I didn’t really mention numbers in any of these phases because ideally you’re tracking key performance indicators and profit and loss from conception through the other phases. But in infancy and adolescence that will become increasingly important because data is largely how we make decisions in business. Data provides context and clarity in choosing what direction to go, or what to focus on with efforts and/or finances. 

Most of you aren’t likely in adulthood. If you are, kudos to you. You’re an actual baller.

I do want to ask some questions and just give you some things to think about moving forward with your business.

I hope you see the progression in these phases from you doing EVERYTHING, quite literally, to getting more and more refined with each stage. You can’t do it all at once. Each phase will demand something different of you. And I think that’s natural.

So what phase are you at now? And what is your focus in order to get to the next phase?

Something I see often with entrepreneurs, and something that I did myself – I actually have an episode that talks about this previously – is doing these things out of order. Putting the cart before the horse if you will. We see other business while we’re in the conception phase and we think oh we need a funnel! So we start building the pieces to a funnel but we don’t even have an audience yet. We have no clue who our ideal client is, we have no past data to go off of, we’ve done exactly 0 market research. There are naturally progressions in business that need time to run their course.

Organic sales into paid sales. Live launches into evergreen offers. 1:1 into memberships. There are reasons for these.

So I encourage you to be patience and nail the basics before moving on – just like you’d tell one of your health and fitness clients. No point in taking fat burners if we haven’t managed stress, optimized sleep, nutrition and recovery. No point in paid ads if we haven’t nailed down an organic sales strategy and messaging that we know lands with the target market.

What phase are you in? And what is your current focus? It’s okay to have the bigger vision. I knew I wanted more tiers of BBA than just one. But I needed to build one, see how it worked and then scaled. I knew I wanted to do paid ads someday but I am just now, six years in, willing to make that investment and take the risk.

Don’t worry about what you’ll do in adolescence if you’re still trying to conceive your business, yeah?

Alright, I’ll cut it off there!

Business is a fantastic teacher of self. I hope you gained something from the last two episodes, and you feel a bit more grounded and aware of your current state in business. 


Finally, If you loved this episode, please head over to iTunes and leave the show 5 stars + a written review. it is MUCH appreciated. Remember, I am now choosing a review each week and choosing a listener of the month each month that will receive 50% any non membership program of choice PLUS a free 123 travel set from Fre skincare. You can always use my code FDBA to save 15%. And if you’re not on my main mailing list, make sure you are because there are podcast listener discounts at the bottom of every weekly email! 

Until next time, I’m Annie Miller and thank you for listening to the FitsPRO podcast.

Review of the week comes from KatGonzooo and says,

“I am a trainer (& trainee) myself, and every now and then I tend to question my own thoughts and beliefs. Literally every time I listen to Annie’s episodes, I’m reminded that it’s okay! Every single episode has knowledge that I am either reminded of, or something totally new. I appreciate her thoughts, and the fact that she is willing to share it all! Thanks girl!! ”

Remember you need to check the show notes (here) to see if you were review-er of the week, and then keep an eye out to see if you were listener of the month as well. That will be in the show notes and Annie’s Weekly Wrap. You can subscribe to Annie’s Weekly Wrap here.

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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