How to Build a Business with Hockey Stick Trajectory

Success comes in all shapes and sizes. Sketched out on paper, landmark success often takes the shape of a hockey stick. For a period of time, gradual growth and accomplishments are made. You’ll see an uptick, but it’s a minor one. Then, at some point, everything begins clicking and exponential growth occurs.

In order to achieve hockey stick growth, we have to be intentional about how we run our businesses. Working from a foundation that proves the viability of our business, we have to aim high, start small and hold ourselves accountable to producing the results we want to achieve—molding the business in a way that leads toward a higher trajectory.

Getting Started

For any business, our initial leap into a market is going to feel like a “foundation” period, where we’re searching for anything to stand on. We’re looking for the right niche, pitch and approach that will transform our ideas into a profit — all while avoiding traps and pitfalls that send us home. Nearly everyone who has taken the plunge will tell you that landing on solid ground isn’t easy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 20 percent of new businesses make it past their first year of operation.

The most important thing you can do for yourself and for the future of your business is to accept that in order to experience massive success, you’ll first have to wade through your fair share of failure. That’s why it’s crucial for us to set goals for ourselves during the beginning phases of our businesses. Good businesses start with good ideas — they also start with good goals. Regardless of whether you achieve them, goals serve as a benchmark for success and keep us accountable for the results we want to see in the future.

Make no mistake about it, goal setting and benchmarking are two activities that are not only fundamental in helping us learn what it takes for our businesses to succeed, but they also push our businesses toward the exponential growth we desire to achieve.

Turning your Business into a Laboratory of Success

Each step of the way, it’s the mindset of meeting failure head-on and striving to get better because of it that will ultimately lead to exponential growth.

You may have heard the famous Thomas Edison quote “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” But you probably haven’t heard an equally insightful one, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” No matter what industry you’re in, you can find wisdom in these words. Successful business owners are those who succeed in spite of their failures.

In order to experience hockey stick growth, we have to adopt the mindset of a scientist. In the lab, finding nothing is just as good as finding something. There are equal benefits in succeeding and failing. The same holds true in business. Every step you take and decision you make should be measured and weighed for its effectiveness and purpose. When something goes wrong, there’s a reason for it—find it and fix it. Then move forward and repeat the process until everything starts to click.

It’s this mindset that keeps us focused on our end-goals. Eventually, the foundation will be set and we’ll move on to the next phase in our business, which is where we will continue to focus on refining and finding out what works. Here you’ll constantly fine-tune your hiring systems, compensation models, systems, and customer service—all of the things that make your business hum. The business will begin firing on all cylinders, producing predictable results, and all it will take is a small spark for massive growth to take place.

Handling Methodical Success

Like we talked about earlier this week, the trap that a lot of businesses fall into is mistaking the small, gradual growth between our early success and the results we want to achieve as the end game. All too often we believe that in order to achieve big results, we have to take big, exciting leaps and bounds, one after the other. The truth is that success can feel boring. It’s frustrating to do so much for seemingly so little advancement. When we line everything up and knock down one goal and idea after the other, it can feel like we’re not making that much progress at all. But, like dominos, these individual hurdles compound to achieve something much greater.

When we do the right things, the right results will follow—it’s just a matter of “when”.

If you haven’t already, use our long-term goals document to line up your goals so that you can see how your actions will take your business to where you want it to be. When we look at our daily actions in the grand scope that gives them meaning, their achievements will keep us focused and energized to keep moving the ball forward. This will ease the frustration when it feels like a lot is happening, but there are no results to show for it.

Staying on an Exponential Trajectory

When success occurs at a massive level, we run the risk of becoming complacent. We have to fight the urge to bask in our own success. The truth is that exponential growth is a series of peaks, valleys and plateaus—it doesn’t end with just one. Right when you reach the top, you’ll search for another foundation to land on and begin the process all over again.

In order to stay on track for another splash of success, keep your eyes fixed on another end-goal that will result in further, extensive growth for your business. Use our Goal Setting to the Now process to figure out how you’re going to get yourself there, and test until the right pieces are in place for you to experience another exponential swell in your business.

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