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I first heard about the book, The Small Business Lifecycle: A Guide for Taking the Right Steps at the Right Time, from the author, @CharlieGilkey, on Twitter.
I have a thing for business books. I buy them. I forget about them. Not a successful strategy! I should have been inspired to read the book because it's an Amazon Bestseller and it sounded interesting, but honestly, that wasn't what motivated me. What hooked me was that the author is in Portland, Oregon, (until recently, I spent my entire life just outside of Portland, OR) so good or bad, I wanted to learn what he had to say.
In the book, the business lifecycle is broken down into 4 stages:
- The Entry Stage
- The Growth Stage
- The Crucible Stage
- The Cruise Stage
In stage 1, you have a lot of energy. You're just starting out and feel great with every small win.
I LOVE Charlie's description of stage 2.
Riding the rocket - It's like you're holding onto this rocket and you're throwing in as much fuel as possible and you're going faster and faster and faster.
Riding the rocket can be fun and exciting but it's not sustainable, right? I had to think about that for a while and ask myself, "how am I not just throwing fuel into my business for the quick wins rather than thinking about things long term?"
Stage 3 is so much different than stage 2. You know what's working and what isn't. Instead of focusing on large changes to grow, it's more about fine tuning the machine.
One point that I found very interesting is that you can easily go back and forth between stages 2 and 4. As Charlie explains:
When you get one piece of the puzzle in place, another one pops out.
Stage 4 brings control and security. Well, it could, but many entrepreneurs crave the excitement of stage 2 so they don't always stick with stage 4 for long.
It's important to note that it's not the person who is at a specific stage, it's the business, so if you have multiple businesses, each business can be at a different stage. Or your business can be at stage 4 while just one portion is back at a 1.
What I like about the book, besides the no-nonsense writing, is that I'm told what the challenges of each stage are and what to focus on to get to the next stage. I really enjoyed the simplicity of the book and the advice.
I can easily get caught up in overthinking or trying to plan too much. Reading this book made it feel like I don't have to reinvent the wheel. I just need to focus on what's important at this stage in my business and not worry about what will come in later stages.
So, do I recommend the The Small Business Lifecycle by Charlie Gilkey? Absolutely! I highlighted chunks of valuable insight throughout the book. I got a lot out of it and think you will too.