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Infusionsoft is a company that we use, learn from, and admire. It has helped literally tens of thousands of small- and medium-sized businesses succeed, including SmartBox Web Marketing and our clients.
Here is some advice from Infusionsoft Vice President Clate Mask. It’s about how your role as owner changes as your company gets bigger. Where do you find yourself in this list?
- The first level of business is the “solepreneur.” Of the 27 million small businesses in this country, 22 million have one employee and bring in $100,000 or less in annual sales. The biggest factor for success in this level is time. The owner has to handle every part of the business. To be successful, the solepreneur must devote most of his or her time to making the business grow.
- The next level is the partnership. Here the solepreneur adds two or three employees and sales are somewhere between $100,000 and $300,000.
This stage may include bringing on a partner. Clate warns that finding the right partner is key. The business owner needs to find a partner with strengths in areas where he or she is weak, such as finances or people management. At this stage, sales are the main key to success.
As owner of the business, you have to emphasize selling your products and services.
- The next stage is a steady operation. Now you’re in your groove along with nearly 2 million other businesses. You may have four to 10 employees and annual sales of $300,000 to $1 million.
The biggest keys to success at this stage are marketing and customer service. Marketing will bring in new customers and increase sales. Customer service will keep customers coming back and referring you to others.
- Beyond that is the local success story. About 700,000 businesses in the US fall into this category. These are operations of 11-20 people with $1 million to $3 million in sales.
At this stage, the owner must focus on setting a vision for the company. He or she may not be able to hire every new person and make every decision, and he or she must be able to support the people who are hired to do so. The owner needs to look at the big picture and put processes in place so that the right people make the right decisions to keep the company growing.
- Finally, the managed organization. Here your company has between 21 and 50 people and up to $10 million in sales. For a dentist, you are really doing well if you are at this stage and congratulations. You are one of only about 300,000 businesses in the whole country doing this well.
Here, you need to focus on company culture. As Clate says, “Culture is what holds managed organizations together. Culture attracts the right people, ejects the wrong ones and ultimately guides a company’s path to success.” You must establish core values and a mission that will cause employees to either buy in or ship out.
Clate deals with lots of different companies and this is not specifically for dentists. But as you grow and succeed, it is important for you to understand that your role on the business side of your practice will have to change.
We want to help you be part of that growth.