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tough businessman

To succeed in business, you must be willing to work very hard for it. Successful entrepreneur and stock trader Tim Sykes describe this desire to work harder than most as being “crazy aggressive.” In his case, he turned the $12K he received for his bar mitzvah into $4 million by the time he was only 22 years old. As he describes it, “I was crazy aggressive, but that kind of determination is what has made me successful.”

The word aggressive in this case doesn’t denote hostile behavior, but instead refers to your determined efforts to truly make your business all that it has the potential to be. As a small business owner, you need to be particularly aggressive when it comes to transitioning from a startup company to an established, successful business. This transition can be especially challenging, which is why a majority of small businesses never make it.

Many businesses that successfully move to the next stage lose sight of their original goals of creating an innovative product or service. These businesses expand so quickly that the only thing that seems to matter is their profit margin and annual growth percentage.

Blanchette Press is an exception to this idea of super growth, and as such, has been aggressive in its efforts to always stay just the right size. After over 45 years in business, the company’s business concept still revolves around being the best printer, not the biggest.

As Blanchette Press owner and founder Kim Blanchette puts it, “As you grow outside of what we’ll call your ‘sweet spot,’ many things tend to become less important and capital growth is often the only thing that matters. Businesses will put the blinkers on and lose sight of what gets them to that point. We believe our sweet spot is the people we serve.”

Surviving the Transition from Startup to Established Business 

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, up to 70 percent of businesses fail in their first five years of existence. They never make the transition to becoming a long-term, established business. Forbes contributor Martin Zwilling says, “Early-stage entrepreneurs rightly keep their focus on creating an innovative product or service. After celebrating success at that level, they often find themselves ill prepared to move to the next stage, for scaling their business into a high-performing enterprise that delivers a superlative customer experience.”

As your business becomes more established, you should avoid growing so large that you no longer meet the needs of your customers. This means keeping a high standard of quality and innovation in your products and services. Although technology can play a significant role in your business’s transition, it should never replace personal contact with customers—they are ultimately the foundation your success is built upon.

During this period when your business is transitioning, you need to take time to reflect upon your company’s future and where you want it to be in the next five years. Dan Arens, business growth advisor for Inside Indiana Business, suggests performing an internal assessment of your company by asking these kinds of questions:

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About Barbara Swenson

Barbara Swenson has several years work experience in the areas of accounting, real estate investing, marketing, financial management, insurance, and independent book publishing. She’s written numerous articles for AllBusiness.com, and is a Contributing Writer for Retailing Insight. She was also a Contributing Editor for the international magazine Magical Blend, and has penned articles for Aquarius and NAPRA Review magazines. She has written and published 25 personal transformation books in the last twenty years. Barbara holds a Bachelor of Arts from California State University Sonoma (with honors), and a Masters Degree in Science from California State University Sacramento (with honors). She lives in the Sierra foothills with her husband and son, two huge white dogs, and four cats.

  • http://www.31west.net David Miller

    Brilliant article Barbara! The zeal to innovate is lost with growing success, eventually leading to a downfall. Founders get involved with running the business leaving little time for creativity which then is a window of opportunity for competition.

    Look at every successful founders and/or CEO, they outsource & delegate major business functions to experts, allowing themselves more time and mental space to consistently reinvent their products & services. This, I believe is a biggest differentiator.

    At 31West Global services, http://www.31west.net we catalyze growth by managing inbound call center & tech support help desk services. We fully absorb the CRM function, which in todays time is critical for success. We are trying to reach out to as many small businesses as possible to help their growth story.