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Exploring the entrepreneur’s journey: Actionable insights to set SMEs up for succes – Part 2 – the Acceleration phase

In this post series, we’re looking into the 4 most important phases of the entrepreneur’s journey. These phases chart founders’ courses as they reach goals, face (un)expected challenges and hit some inevitable brick walls.

Last time we took a look at the Pioneer phase. Missed it? Read more here.

This week, our focus is the Acceleration phase, sometimes also referred to as the Rollercoaster phase!

The Acceleration phase.

So what does this phase look and feel like for entrepreneurs?

Vitally, you’ve got proof that your business idea is viable. Your market validation is secure and you’re signing deals. Cash flow is increasing.

It feels like success is guaranteed — and you’re ready and motivated to jump on opportunities that arise as you continue to develop your business.

But successful growth in this phase comes with natural growing pains. Market demand can outstrip your supply capabilities. You can struggle with capacity and quality issues, as well as delivery bottlenecks. The good news? These are healthy problems to have as your company develops — and they can be resolved! Left unresolved, though, they’ll become stubborn barriers to growth.


So where should your focus be to stay on track?

It needs to shift from external (your sales and market) to internal (your people, processes, systems and positioning).

Key changes need to take place in your business structure. As your team grows, establishing clear, effective internal communication is key. Likewise, a mature approach to accountability is vital.

As your business evolves, you’ll also need to instate a management team. This involves a key decision for you as the founder, as you choose between sticking to your hands-on trade or dedicating your time to leading the organisation you’ve built. Learning to delegate responsibilities is a must!

Without these internal developments, it will be tricky to harness your people’s energy and drive into a focused, consistent and successful way of working. This is crucial for tactical decision-making going forward, to ensure your business longevity.

And if you’re feeling like there simply aren’t any more hours in the day that you can work? You’ll get to a point where you need to expand your staff. It’s not up to you as the founder to be responsible for everything, all the time anymore.


Adjust and evolve your role

Instead, you need to adjust and evolve your role to become a team leader — not right in the middle of the everyday business. Your main role now becomes clearly defining your company’s vision, and inspiring your people to ensure it takes shape.

The learning and personal development involved to make this change can be tough for founders, but they’re key to successfully navigating the acceleration phase. And don’t fall into the trap of choosing the people closest to you to fill the roles you’re stepping out of; be sure to hire based on skills and competence.

Overall, a helpful mantra for the acceleration phase is “better”, and not “more, more, more”. Shift from revenue to profit, from quantity to quality, from quick fixes to longer-term strategy, and from being always-on to tactical delegation.

At thexton armstrong, we specialise in supporting entrepreneurs during the Acceleration phase. With our expert guidance, founders build solid foundations for their businesses to grow.


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Next time, we’ll take a look at the Growth phase — usually the most challenging part of the entrepreneur’s journey.