Bridging the Victory Gap: 6 Steps to Massive Results (Part 2)
by Warren Coughlin
In my last article, I introduced the concept of the Victory Gap, that small distance that separates those who reap the big rewards and those who come up short. We explored the Critical Victory Factors that apply in business, while raising a caution about the way those factors are introduced into a business. If the business is to move up the evolutionary ladder quickly and effectively, it is critical that the owner know enough to ensure that the CVF's are pursued in the right order. If not, the business could falter. By developing them in a strategic and planned manner, the business is built on strong foundations that can support its continual growth.
The CVF's are developed and integrated into the business through the 6 Steps to Business Success.
Step 1: Mastery.
Shockingly, most businesses never get past Mastery. One has completed the Mastery level when the basic essentials of the business are fully understood. This means knowing which marketing activities generate what kind of results; understanding cash flow and the information that can be derived from financial statements; managing one's time and developing a success mindset by, among other things, setting goals and plans. To pass through Mastery, one must focus on the skills associated with success mindset, financial management, time management and those skills from marketing that deal with testing and measuring the costs and results generated from different marketing activities.
Step 2: Niche
Once a business finishes this stage, the business can stop competing on price. By focusing on niche, you stake out a piece of territory in the market that is yours. Maybe it is a segment of the market you focus on, or it is convenience or service or exclusivity or product range or location. It can be anything that will allow customers to feel it is worth a little bit extra to deal with you. At this step, you want to focus on those marketing skills that allow you to develop and communicate your unique selling proposition and on sales skills that allow you to motivate prospects to examine considerations other than price.
Step 3: Leverage
Now that you are generating some positive cash flow on a consistent basis, you do not have to keep doing everything yourself. You can begin focusing on high value activities that have the biggest impact on your business. Other tasks can be delegated to other team members or to subcontractors. You can also diversify your marketing activities. By this time, you will have a great idea, from your testing and measuring, of which marketing activities will generate results. You will now be in a position to invest more in those activities to generate greater results. So at this level, you will be focusing your learning on sales, sales management, marketing, more advanced financial management and, of course, system development. For many entrepreneurs, the development of systems initially feels restricting. It removes the “seat of the pants” adrenaline rush that, for some, presents an illusion of freedom of action. In reality, however, you will enjoy much greater freedom when you have systems in place that allow your business to deliver your service with predictable consistency without your involvement at every stage.
Step 4: Team
Obviously, to get to this level, you will have had a team working with you. That may be an internal team or various subcontractors. At this step, you bring your team knowledge to a higher level. You want to have the right people in the right positions pursuing the appropriate objectives. Therefore, you must learn recruitment techniques that minimize time and expense and maximize the likelihood of finding superior performers who will stay with the business. At this stage, you will also make sure you have adequate performance appraisal systems, compensation arrangements that align performance with business objectives as well as clear policies about procedures and practices that comprise the culture of your organization.
Step 5: Synergy
Now you are becoming a true entrepreneur. At this stage the team now runs the systems themselves. You learn to build career planning into your systems and team practices. You develop contingency staffing plans and you groom a general manager who can take over from you. Because the systems and team are now in place, the business can, if you choose, experience dramatic growth. The high water mark of synergy is achieved when the business can run without you being there. That doesn't mean you have to step away from the business; many business owners love working in their business. But it does mean that you have the choice. And with choice comes freedom.
Step 6: Freedom
Here you learn a whole new level of financial management and systems. Here is where you move from being an entrepreneur to being either an investor or a serial entrepreneur. You learn to identify investment and business opportunities that, if properly leveraged, provide even greater degrees of freedom and fun.
An important question to ask yourself, now that you have reviewed these 6 steps is “Where is my business on this evolutionary ladder?” Once you are able to place yourself, then you are able to begin focusing on the appropriate CVF's that will allow you to climb to the next stage; a stage that will take you that much closer to true freedom. Next week, we will look at some of the obstacles that can prevent a business owner from successfully getting through all 6 steps and what can be done to help.
Warren Coughlin is a business coach, with Action International in Toronto who works exclusively with entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses to achieve true freedom. Action International is the world's largest business coaching organization. To learn more about how business coaching can accelerate your businesses growth, email Warren at
Knowing the Critical Victory Factors for business success is not enough. You must know when to introduce those factors into your business. This depends on which of the 6 Steps to Hyper Business Success your business stands. To find out where your business is, you must read this article.
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