5 proven strategies for practice growth

5 proven strategies for practice growth

All businesses go through 5 stages of growth from start-up to becoming a successful business. At each stage the business needs to invest in very specific strategies and the owner needs to adopt a change in mind-set to progress to the next stage. Failure to do so means failure to progress or even falling back to a lower stage. This blog takes practices through these 5 stages and the specific strategies to achieve sustained growth.

The important thing to remember with these 5 stages is that the thinking and strategies that got you to your current stage are not the same strategies and mindset that you need to move onto the next stage. Changes in strategy, systems and psychology are required at each stage.

Like a rainbow of light these levels work at different frequencies and energies of activity.

Stage 1 is the lowest energy or INFRA-RED LEVEL. Most practices naturally go through this stage as a START-UP or can end up here through internal or external factors of bad luck, bad management or a system BREAKDOWN from a level above. These business owners are often in Victim or Orphan mode of thinking in terms of blame, denial and excuses for their predicament and are generally chaotic and reactive in their responses. They often complain of no time, no money, no plan and no discipline.

These practices are highly distracted and uncertain about the future with too many things to focus on leading to a descent into stress, anxiety and confusion. Hope is either optimistically high or desperately low. These practices are out of control.

Therefore you need CONTROL.

At this stage the owner needs a PERSONAL VICTORY. To progress you need:

  1. Discipline
  2. Personal Flow
  3. Focused Action


ACTION – You need to:

  1. Commit to change
  2. Manage your time & energy
  3. Measure & control finances

Stage 2 is the RED LEVEL of SURVIVAL
. Here the SURVIVOR is in enough CONTROL to have enough money to have nothing and no time because you are doing it all. This is all action, no time to plan, living in hope, blame, denial, fear and anxiety. This represents the Martyr phase: I’m OK but Powerless– hard work is the only way out… A lot of vets can get stuck here.
What you want now is Stability and AUTONOMY.
To move on you now need to change your focus from your personal needs to the needs of the BUSINESS.

To PROGRESS you need to:

  1. Be accountable and give up blame
  2. Make rational decisions from good data
  3. Build your cash-flow, pay the bills and yourself


ACTION – You need to:

  1. Set your standards of value, care and business systems
  2. Establish your business plan
  3. Understand and follow the flow of business– Get a Mentor if you need to.

This means planning, pricing and protocols.

Stage 3 is the
ORANGE level of STABILITY. Here you have the safety of a decent wage, a level of autonomy and choice and enough money to be able to pay the bills each month. Essentially you have built yourself a reasonably well-paid job and you are your own boss. A worker with autonomy earning a wage.

The business is generating cash but not a lot of excess profit. You are exchanging your time for money – if you need time off you pay a locum or lose the income. One person (you) is still controlling, if not doing, everything. You are now the optimistic hopeful, you have Freedom of Choice and you are Planning to Plan. This is the fur lined “Busy-Trap” – Hard work is a virtue but you are in the Comfort Zone of Stability.
This is the Warrior phase of business growth – hard work and aggressive management. However to move on you need to MASTER management and establish yourself clearly in the market.

To Progress to MARKET VICTORY you need to:

  1. Let go of the control that got you here
  2. Focus on and create attraction in the market
  3. Understand and build your market flow


ACTION – You need to:

  1. Create market identity and create a market strategy
  2. Know your customer specifically – your market avatar
  3. Create profit through promotions and campaigns

To move to the next stage you need to move your team from Employment to ENGAGEMENT to Progress the TEAM VICTORY you need to

Stage 4 is the YELLOW LEVEL of SUCCESS where you have Mastery of Management and have moved from dependence to independence and the business is now earning a decent profit and a good return on investment.

However you find yourself in the “Busy –Trap” v 2.0 and you have become the Octopus Manager – not just managing yourself but you now need to be responsible for everyone else in the organisation. You are managing resources, controlling, organising and planning, fixing people problems and everyone is doing a bit of everything. This needs strict command and control, protocols and systems.

At this point – you begin to wonder… ‘Is it really worth it?’… ‘Is there a better way?’… ‘Or will I just sell up and get out…?’

Some start the inner journey of the WANDERER – a quest for personal and professional development and interdependence.

To move to the next stage you need to move your team from Employment to ENGAGEMENT.

To Progress the TEAM VICTORY you need to:

  1. Let go of the freedom you have so strongly fought for
  2. Create a team in flow
  3. Create your business as an asset


ACTION – You need to:

  1. Establish your enterprise as something separate from you
  2. Establish business systems & processes that support the team
  3. Synchronise your team to run the systems

At this stage you change from everyone doing everything to everyone doing one thing well.

Finally, Stage 5 is the GREEN LEVEL of SCALABILITY.
You have become a PERFORMER working with an engaged team having moved from independence to interdependence. Your job is to provide Vision, Inspiration and Momentum to the team so they can get on with running the business and every person is doing one thing very well.

In this way you are building assets and bringing in people who are as good as, if not better than, you in their chosen tasks. You are creating flow and attraction to high quality leaders, managers, team members and clients. You are now leading teams that are managing the systems and processes, and measuring and monitoring performance. At this stage you have regained your time by investing in your team. This is the realm of the MAGICIAN – having learnt all the previous lessons you can apply your wisdom as appropriate to the changing world you now live and work in. You become a source of contribution and hope in your industry and the wider society.

Now you create INFLUENCE.

To progress to the PROFESSIONAL VICTORY you need to:

  1.  Let go of management and learn leadership
  2.  Attract leaders into your business
  3.  Create industry flow and influence


ACTION – You need to:

  1. Grow your team to multiple autonomous teams
  2. Assert your influence in the profession and society
  3. Build your assets (physical, talent, intellectual, financial)

LEADERSHIP and CULTURE are the two sides of the same coin. When these are established many of the challenges of management and the lower stages seem to disappear as if by magic.

With these new Rules of Engagement;

  • Work turns to flow
  • Need for profit turns to a desire for legacy (purpose)
  • Need for control turns to allowance of autonomy
  • Performance management turns to mastery & progress
  • Employment turns to engagement

Leadership Responsibilities of the top 5% of practices appear to be:

  • Developing a shared vision & goals with the team
  • Managing yearly & quarterly planning process
  • Implementing protocols and continuous improvement processes
  • Accessing accurate and timely data to make wise decisions
  • Creating clear management structures
  • Creating and using clear and frequent communication structures
  • Using robust decision and delegation structures

Even if you are doing well, are you sure all the underlying structures are in place and working and what is next? If not, your business may be at risk.

So the question remains: “What stage are you at in your business?”

That’s the only decision you need to make.

By Alan Robinson

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