I came across a very interesting blog post yesterday on HubSpot’s thinkgrowth.org platform. While the post, Why Your Startup’s Marketing Strategy may Already Be Doomed, was geared primarily for SaaS startups, a portion of a chart in the post resonated with me.
The focus was on the journey that most organizations go through when they implement inbound marketing and demand generation strategies. It highlighted six distinct stages that simply nailed the experience of just about any organization that has ignited and sustained revenue growth.
The most frustrating aspect of growing a business (from my personal experience and in the work I do with growth businesses) is the inherent unpredictability involved. It’s an experience that can feel like vertigo (which I’ve also unfortunately experienced). Yet, when you zoom out, the journey isn’t so mysterious. Understanding the The Six Stages of a Successful Growth Strategy can be extraordinarily valuable.
You can learn more in the article about the high growth journey. Here’s an overview of the stages:
- Preparation/Beginning. In many ways this is the most fun part of the journey. Filled with vision, excitement and confidence, a strategy and plan are laid out. The danger is that, no matter how well it’s done, the plan is fraught with assumptions that must be proven.
- Disappointment. There is probably no scarier time than just before you launch on a new approach. Fear, uncertainty and doubt is at its peak; and the negative feeling is multiplied as it comes right after clarity and excitement. Rarely are results gained at the rate people desire and a feeling of “this just isn’t working” can be overwhelming. The key at this stage is to maximize learning to enhance the strategy and execution.
- Growth. If you learn, adjust and persist you begin to experience success and the fun returns. It’s easy to feel like you’ve made it, but the journey is nowhere near done. It’s crucial that you continue learning and adjusting to prepare for the next painful stage.
- Stagnation. Suddenly things start to regress. Confusion sets in as you ponder how something that seemed to be working and trending so well could hit such a wall. As the saying goes, “what got you here isn’t enough to get you where you want to go.” This is another crucial learning period toward the destination of sclable and sustainable growth.
- Strategy Reboot. You gain a deeper understanding into the problems your desired customers have, the processes you need to master and the people you need to employ. All of this is dependent on what you’ve learned to this point. It is at this stage where a true growth team emerges.
- Scale. Finally you reach the destination you sought. Growth becomes predictable, margins are strong and what’s more, you’re able to sustain it - in good times and bad. The biggest danger here is becoming complacent.
Successfully growing a business is quite similar to the hero’s journey. Remember, that before you’re admitted to the “promised land” you’ll be tested, often beyond what you thought you could handle.