Startups: How to Go Beyond the Honeymoon Phase

Startup Businesses: How to Go Beyond the Honeymoon Phase

Cincom’s Expert Access team recently interviewed me for their show. Here is a reprint of that program and a replay of the radio interview.

“A company is like a marriage, ” says Lisa Nirell, author of EnergizeGrowth® NOW: The Marketing Guide to a Wealthy Company and recent guest on Expert Access Radio. “When you have a start-up mentality, things are great and it can be a lot of fun, like the honeymoon; but like all honeymoons, it has to come to an end.”

During the “honeymoon stages” of a business, you are constantly feeling like you are fighting fires and crises. It’s that love for the adrenaline rush of doing different things every day that leads you to a point where you have to move on. When you reach that crossroads in the life of your business, you are forced to make a decision on where you want your company to go.

In most cases, there are two choices:

Option 1 – Build an infrastructure, clearly defining the roles and responsibilities for the staff, so that they know how their jobs are tied directly to the vision of the company.

Option 2 – Continue to immerse yourself in the adrenaline rush. That chaos and frantic excitement is not always the wrong direction. Some people live off the adrenaline rush and need it constantly through their careers. When you choose to stay in the adrenaline rush stage, you have to come to terms with the fact that your ability to predict your growth will diminish greatly.

Investing more in your business, like with option one, is going to help you get over that first big hurdle that happens to every company. It is the commitment to growth that will help you reach the next level of success.

Planning Beyond the Honeymoon

Dv1938020-300x244Planning is essential in coming off of the “honeymoon stage.” Planning is also the difficult part for some people and businesses. People often plan something and then can’t follow through. The reasoning behind that, according to Nirell, is that our current planning methods reward good ideas, complexity, be rewarding on.

“Today’s planning has to include our simple ways to make the plan come alive. We are bombarded with data and information in our work and daily lives. It is the challenge of coming up with a simple way to process that information and look for those little nuggets of gold that will help bring the company forward. When you are caught up in busy work, it is hard for any individual to be able to see past what is right in front of them; to see truly what is essential.”

Time Deficiency Syndrome

You can be stalled in the “honeymoon stage” by Time Deficiency Syndrome. Time Deficiency Syndrome is a term to explain those times when you feel like you are working but you are never completing anything.

“The first clue that you have Time Deficiency Syndrome is that you have a to-do list with 20 items listed,” said Nirell. “Throughout the day, you were only able to complete four of those 20, and admit failure.”

Second, you are in a constant state of overwhelm. That is a real sign of sickness when you start to feel like there are circumstances preventing you from succeeding at what you are trying to do.

Third, look for things that tell you that you are suffering from time deficiency syndrome. You start clinging to the familiar activities, even when those activities have not been serving you well. Those familiar activities could be painful and damaging to your brand, and even ruin your relationships with some key clients.

Bypassing the Honeymoon

“Remember that you can’t fix crazy,” said Nirell. “When someone is clinging to those familiarities, refusing to accept external feedback and still trying to run a company, it’s not worth wasting time on that kind of scenario. But when you are willing to accept help, get insight from someone else and move on, the honeymoon can come to an end.”

This post originally appeared in Cincom’s Expert Access by Robyn Johnson, Cincom

[Image: by Thinkstock]

copyright 2013, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.

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