Or a big fat business baby?
Now, this might sound like a daft question to ask you.
I mean you’re fairly old, right?
You have a mortgage and car repayments, and you recycle.
Of course, you’re a grown-up.
But when it comes to business, are you so sure?
After 14 years in business, I can now see that I spent a lot of time as a ‘business teenager’.
Glowering at the world through my fringe, making knee-jerk decisions and often being a petulant brat.
It’s only now that I can look back and say, ‘wow these days I’m so mature’ (kinda).
So in this post, I’d love to take my business maturity test and see if you qualify as a sage, mature business human – or if you’re still in that wobbly, teenage stage.
Don’t wanna read? Watch the video
1. You have clear processes and boundaries
You’ve waved goodbye to ‘seat of your pants’ business planning.
You’re no longer writing every email from scratch.
You have a file packed full of well-formatted documents and email templates.
And you’ve invested in software to help you with projects, customer relationship management and finances.
In the early days I’d be sending invoices as word doc, and vaguely tracking them in a spreadsheet; I agonised over every client email, often having to let them stew overnight before I sent.
Every project threw me into a bum-clenching panic of how to set milestones and meet the deadlines.
But no more.
Investing time (and it does take time) in your business processes, reduces stress, removes a lot of repetition, saves time and also gives your clients and customers the confidence that this ain’t your first rodeo.
It lets your customers know you’ve done this before, and gives them confidence you can lead them through the process, set clear boundaries and be the captain of your mutual ship.
Asserting your boundaries and laying out clear processes creates more respect and an easier life for everyone.
2. You pay yourself a salary and super
You’re using financial software to manage your business finances.
You’ve implemented Profit First (or similar).
You know exactly what money is yours.
You pay yourself a regular salary, and super and save for your tax and GST.
Gone are the days of lurching from one month to the next, never knowing if I had enough to pay my bills. Gone is that gut-wrenching feeling at tax time when you’re genuinely horrified to see your bill.
And there’s no more dumping all your money into the joint account and having no idea what you’re actually earning.
Financial maturing was especially hard for me. I’m from the North of England; we don’t talk about money, at all. I’d firmly decided I was no good with figures, and I trusted everything (mistake) to my tax human.
This led to huge ATO debt, abject panic and a feeling of no progress.
Implementing Profit First was a landmark moment in my business – it was tough at first, but it changed my life completely.
3. You no longer fret about the competition
You’ve stopped comparing your journey.
You no longer ‘hate follow’ other competitor accounts.
You’re confident about your strengths and weaknesses.
You’re happy to do your own thing.
Oh, the long years I’ve wasted worrying about ‘other people’.
Why are they smarter, cuter, more connected with me?
Why aren’t I speaking at that thing?
Why aren’t I launching that program?
Why aren’t I attending that lady lunch?
The rabbit holes I’ve fallen down, beating myself up all the way, when I should have been focusing on MY business.
These days I just don’t look.
And if I do, I sit and try to see the truth. To understand the reality behind what my competitors are achieving, the struggles and to realise that perhaps I don’t even want the same things.
And most importantly, to realise we’re not all eating the same pie.
There’s plenty of pie to go around, especially if you’re focused on your business and ready to go out and grab it.
4. You know that business isn’t a popularity contest
You’re not checking the number of likes on your posts every ten minutes.
You accept that not everyone is going to like you and that’s okay.
You’re not pretending to be something you’re not.
You’re sharing your quirks, your voice, your values and opinions.
This one is a toughie. Because we all know that business is a numbers game.
The more enquiries you get, the more money you can make (one hopes).
But we have to realise that not all numbers are a true reflection of success.
That person with 30k Instagram followers could barely be making a cent.
But even if they are, and you’re sitting there thinking ‘how can I make more people like me’, you have to realise it’s an impossible game to win. Some luck. Some clever marketing.
You don’t like everyone, so why would you expect everyone to like you?
They say your vibe attracts your tribe, and I believe this is entirely true. It wasn’t until I embraced my slightly scruffy, sarcastic odd self that my business really took off. I don’t have a gazillion followers but the ones I do have are loyal, repeat buyers and advocates.
As Erin Huckle from Chuckle Communications shared:
“For me, a mature business is one where you’ve created a strong network – of trusted suppliers, partners, collaborators and clients. Building long-term, mutually valuable relationships with people who know, like and trust you. Part of this is recognising the people who aren’t the right fit for your network, and focusing your energy on the ones who are.”
I may not be the most popular girl at school, but I’ve got a great gang of trusted humans who meet me behind the bike sheds and eat crisps with me.
5. You’ve started to delegate
You’ve realised you can’t do everything yourself.
You understand that investing in people doesn’t always have immediate ROI.
You’re clear on what your skills are and how best to use your time.
Whether you’re trying to build a business empire or just a business cul de sac, at some point you’re going to realise you can’t do that without (shudders) other people.
This doesn’t mean you have to have a clutch of employees in a trendy warehouse. Or that you’re hiring expensive business coaches.
There are lots of ways to involve more people.
- Maybe it’s a buddy who you regularly chat to for accountability.
- Maybe it’s a few sub-contractors who help you out when you’re busy.
- Maybe it’s a VA or bookkeeper who does a few hours a week to save you from drowning in admin.
Or maybe it’s a clutch of employees in a trendy warehouse!
I’m all for DIY and also for learning your business with a ‘start in the mail room’ mentality. But after a while it doesn’t serve.
You’re spending your time on $30 tasks when you should be focusing on the $300 or $3000 ones.
Involving people in your business takes a degree of trust, faith and patience.
Not everyone is going to work out; the first three months are an investment as you’ll have to spend time training and mentoring.
But in all honesty, it takes a village to raise a successful business. And building with a hamlet is a good beginning.
Join the discussion in the Misfit Entrepreneur group
Watch the Reel
So, did you pass the test?
How many business maturity points did you tick? And what did I miss?
When did you really start feeling you were out of start-up mode financially and mentally?
I’d love for you to share business maturity milestones in the comments below.
Psst want a pdf of this post?