If you are an entrepreneur or small business owner that has successfully grown your business to low multiple six-figures with goals of scaling to seven, it is likely that you will find yourself in the Millions Messy Middle TM (MMM) at some point as you attempt to get there.
The MMM is the “chaotic corridor” between your six-figure vantage point (where you are now) and your seven-figure vision point (where you desire to be). If you are there right now, then you know how timely this article is – there are not enough resources for how to maintain your sanity while scaling during this pivotal time. This period is filled with sleepless nights, broken business systems, long days, questioning yourself and your business, disappointments, team breakdowns (if you have one) and more because you are growing but you haven’t shifted your infrastructure to support it.
On my own journey to the million-dollar mark, I encountered many of the obstacles and challenges that I now guide my clients through. The biggest lesson I have learned is that you shouldn’t make the move toward the million-dollar mark until you’ve made the plan and built a business infrastructure that will support 10x your goal. You read that correctly. An infrastructure designed to support 10x your goal will give you growing room as you navigate this time in your career. This is often where entrepreneurs fall short – the thrill of scaling leads to operating in haste and creates the chaos that might derail the whole journey because they aren’t operating a business on a foundation that can sustain growth at this level.
If a million-dollar business and joining the 4.2% of businesses that generate seven figures a year is your goal, there is work to do. However, with the right business infrastructure, this work can be done with grace and ease instead of hustle and grind. After having spent more than thirteen years working directly with entrepreneurs and small business owners desiring million-dollar companies, I have come to realize that entrepreneurs will always be in a middle, but that doesn’t mean that it must be messy. Messy is a decision; messy is optional – not the mandate. To avoid the mess, it will take strategic action. To help you chart your path, I recommend the following keys:
1. Remember why you desire a million-dollar company.
When you understand why you are looking to achieve a big goal like this, it helps to support and comfort you in the uncomfortable moments. The truth is there will be tough days in the middle. Being connected to your purpose will give you the courage to keep showing up for yourself, your business, your why and your goal. Lastly, when you know your why what you do has more immediate and lasting impact. When working with a client recently, coaching them through the clarity to understand why they desired a business at this level was just the inspiration they needed to do the work. Within 9 months, they had achieved their goal of crossing the million-dollar mark. When asked what made the difference, she stated boldly, “connecting the goal to my why, gave me the strength to continue when it felt impossible. I am not doing this for material gain; I am doing this for legacy.”
2. Plan before you move.
I am often quoted as saying, “before you can make the move, you must create the plan.” By taking the time to plan for millions, you help to solidify that the goal will be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time driven. The plan is essential and will allow you to map out your calculated steps as best you can. As you plan, you may find that you need additional support and guidance, perhaps from a business coach. Your plan to scale your business should include the who, why, when, and how elements of your goal so that you are able to achieve it and you can clearly delineate who will assist you in competing the critical tasks that are essential to the goal’s achievement.
3. Get into community.
Often, the biggest challenge in the middle is the feeling of isolation that accompanies a lack of support people who truly understand what you are going through. Try as they might, family and team will never bear the brunt of what you are experiencing and as a result can’t truly relate to the highs and lows of embarking on this journey. Having family and team members on board is critical and adding in those on the same journey gives you community, a shared mission, and an outlet when frustration ensues. Sometimes it’s just about knowing that you aren’t alone, and that other people are going through the same thing that gives you the courage to keep moving forward. And sometimes it’s about having a wealth of knowledge around you to give you more ideas to maximize your middle.
4. Over-communicate with team and family.
By communicating consistently, you will maintain much needed buy-in from key contributors and supporters. Those closest to you, who have been invited into your vision, are rooting for you. They will step up when you need support to help lighten the load. They will also offer you grace when you need it most. I find that having a weekly meeting with key team and family keeps everyone on the same page during this process.
5. Simplify to multiply.
The fastest path to break free from the messy middle is to do less. I share with clients all the time that it only takes one clearly defined problem to which you supply one robust solution for one ideal client to make the move to millions. And even though you may want to have a full suite of services in every price point for customers to choose from, it is not necessary to scale to and sustain a million-dollar company. Once you have gotten clear and streamlined your strategy, sales, systems and support, the rest is boring. As you refine and amplify, the simplification will take you to the million-dollar mark with grace and ease instead of hustle and grind.
At the end of the day, deciding to scale your company will create a middle – the corridor between your now and your later. By planning this period out before you begin you can break free from the messy and enjoy the middle passageway to your next level. As we work with clients through this time, we see how these strategies make the middle exciting as opposed to exhausting. It’s an exciting time to decide to take your business to the next level. Congratulations and do your best to enjoy the middle.
Dr. Darnyelle Jervey Harmon is the award-winning Inc.5000 CEO of Incredible One Enterprises, and the author of Move to Millions: The Proven Framework to Become a Million Dollar CEO with Grace & Ease Instead of Hustle & Grind. To learn more about Dr. Darnyelle, visit https://www.drdarnyelle.com