Don’t Rely on Luck: The 7 Stages of Business Success

Many business owners are looking for a break. If things just go their way, the business will succeed, the sales will zoom, and all their dreams will come true. But that never really happens, does it? Leaning on luck is a dangerous strategy, but we all know of businesses that just seem to grow and grow. Looking from the outside in, it can seem like hard work and effort have nothing to do with success. But the truth is, big profits don’t just happen. Some business owners might be “lucky” for a few months, or even a year, but not year after year.
Certainly the pandemic taught us that no matter who you are or what you do, “business as usual” can only get you so far.
That’s because growth and profitability don’t happen through luck. Every successful business owner out there – every single one – had to learn how to run their businesses in ways that allowed them to expand fast while maintaining margins. Luck had nothing to do with it.
Even when the odds seem to be in your favor, mistakes happen. Unless you know why businesses grow, how to move through the stages, what to do, and when to do it, even the luckiest business will not thrive.


The 7 Stages of Success


Once you put luck aside and start focusing on process, many business owners can grow their organization very quickly. By using reliable, predictable tools, companies can grow from a small enterprise into a major concern with dependable revenue in just a few years.
Conversely, if the founder doesn’t understand how to scale their business, they will get bogged down at the start, and that will prevent them from growing and increasing profits. 7 Stages is a methodology that I teach in my own consulting business, 7 Stage Advisors, but I’m also proof it works. Because I’ve used the 7 Stages process to grow three of my multi-million dollar businesses by age 40. I’ve
used it to help over 7,000 companies in 68 countries, so I know it works. The 7 Stages approach helps businesses determine what they need to do to grow and prosper reliably and predictably. Business success relies on strategy and process, not luck.


Stage 1: Strategic Planning Stage


How can any business grow dependably without a roadmap? It will be tough to make rapid progress if you don’t create a strategic plan that outlines goals, strategies, and timelines. Whether you started a business this week or ten years ago, it’s never too late to create a strategic plan. Once this plan is in place, it becomes much easier to understand what you need to do to succeed, and you have a tool to keep your team focused.


Stage 2: The Specialty Stage


In this stage, the business owner must become an expert in their field. This is also a time to fortify a point of difference. In Stage 2, business owners become known for their specialty and working at being the best at whatever they do.

Stage 3: The Synergy Stage


Maintaining control is a recurring issue for business owners. However, running a growing business is a team sport. That means the founder needs to build teams, create strong leaders, and delegate responsibility to handle different parts of the company. Even though it’s scary for many business owners, this is the time to stop doing everything and let others do their jobs.


Stage 4: The Systems Stage


Systems help your teams achieve success consistently and reliably. In Stage 4, owners create processes and systems for everything that needs to get done – from ordering copiers to training salespeople to onboarding new clients. By developing repeatable processes, checklists, and evaluations, the business owner empowers everyone to understand what they need to do and how they can succeed.

Stage 5: The Sustainability Stage

With expertise, teams, and processes in place, this is the stage in which businesses can grow fast. Intangible value becomes much more important in this stage. With everything in place, a company can add more locations, facilities, customers, and profits. Owners can scale product, operations, markets, and expertise in ways that allow them to increase profits exponentially.

Stage 6: The Salability Stage

Most business owners don’t want to run their businesses forever. However, for those who decide that they want an exit plan, this is the time to adjust the company in ways that make it a profitable commodity that is appealing to buyers, partners, or even family members.

Stage 7: The Succession Stage


Not everyone business owner wants to sell the business. Some want to step aside, step down, or step away from a company. No matter which option they choose, steps need to be taken to ensure that the firm continues to succeed after the owner is out of the picture.

Learn More About the 7 Stages of Success.

While listing these 7 Stages makes it look easy, growing a business is hard. And there isn’t any one-size-fits-all roadmap for success. But by internalizing the 7 Stages of Success, and follow the methodology in ways that build on strengths and eliminate weaknesses, you can become one of the thousands of people who own a multi-million dollar business. If you have questions or want to learn more, feel free to email me at carl@carlgould.com.