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Thought Leadership

Inspired by Randy Gerber’s first book, The Integrated Entrepreneur: Achieving Happiness in Relationships, Business & Life, we are highlighting the five stages of business success first-generation entrepreneurs go through, with a five-part blog series designed to help you thrive in all your adventures. 

In this third blog of the series, we highlight the third stage of business success: the Light at the End of the Tunnel Stage. 

How do I know I’ve made it to the Light at the End of the Tunnel? 

If you’ve been following our blogs, you know about the thrill of the Intoxicating Stage and the burden of the Trapped Stage

Usually occurring between years three and five, the Light at the End of the Tunnel stage is characterized by your business being on level ground, finances picking up, customers signing on, and long-term contracts being collected.

Simply put: you’ve made it out of the Trapped Stage alive, and can feel confident that you’re not going out of business tomorrow.

For many entrepreneurs, with the Light at the End of the Tunnel Stage emerges a sense of relief. You see the potential for sustainable, long-term growth in your organization and are able to have fun again, both in your professional and personal life. 

Why, then, do entrepreneurs often feel a lingering sense of anxiety during this stage, as if everything they’ve built could fall out from under them? 

You’re one disastrous decision away from ruin. 

Even in the Light at the End of the Tunnel stage, you know you and your business are still treading on delicate ground. Entrepreneurs in this stage often need to hire people and purchase assets to support their projected growth before they can actually afford to. 

It’s possible that an entrepreneur’s revenue will grow in the Light at the End of the Tunnel Stage, but their profit and cash will most likely not. This is a normal stage of development for businesses, and trying to rush through it with quick profit schemes is not the answer. 

It’s often said that entrepreneurs are only three bad decisions away from being homeless. For entrepreneurs in the Light at the End of the Tunnel Stage, it may be only one

In a business’s early years, short-term, temporary failures— failures that could be overcome if the business was a little more secure—often lead to total, permanent failure. So how can you ensure that the choices you’re making are going to advance your business? 

Four Strategies for Stage 3 Success:

  1. Learn to work “on” your business rather than “in” your business. Focus on “big picture” projects and delegate the day-to-day responsibilities to another leader.
  2. Obtain strategic advice from consultants, mentors or an advisory board. These professionals have “been there done that” and know the answers to questions you don’t even know to ask.
  3. Implement a proven management system. Systems such as EOS, MAP Management Consulting and Rockefeller Habits help new entrepreneurs avoid mistakes, or at least minimize the impact of them. 
  4. Integrate your work life and implement planned experience sharing. The secret to establishing good work/life habits is ensuring that all aspects of your life are working cooperatively, something that most entrepreneurs are not successful at during the first two stages. Now you have money to solve problems and more time to do it, so you no longer need to brute force your way through solutions. Seek enjoyment and engage in and be present for those things that are important to you outside of work.

Use these strategies to get to the light at the end of the tunnel and be sure to stay attuned to the success stories all around you. They serve as motivation and inspiration when you are going through the ups and downs of each stage. 

Once your business becomes a little more stable and you reach the end of the tunnel, you will then move forward into Stage Four: The Acceleration Stage. If you’d like to learn more about Randy’s book, order your copy on Amazon!

How have you experienced the Light at the End of the Tunnel Stage? Share with us on Facebook and Instagram!