Where is the road map for a scientist to build a profitable business, build a team and scale up without burning out?
Your scientific training is a great foundation for building on your expertise, developing a contract services, supply, or consulting business. You have the valuable skills of analysis, information sourcing, research, problem solving and the mind-set of objectivity and skepticism.
This means instant credibility and the ability to quickly gauge the credibility of others.
You rapidly become the “go-to-expert”, absorbed in doing what you do well, and applying your skills on working “in the business”.
You know how to add value for your customers, but to scale you need to develop a different skill set and make a key transition from Expert to Entrepreneur.
If you recognize one or more of these common blind spots, you may be stuck in the overworked Expert trap…
1. Limited business training or business network.
2. Under-developed people skills (networking, selling, customer relationships, investor relations).
3. Over-analyzing to the point of inaction.
4. A distaste for marketing, not clearly differentiating your services because that’s not “objective”.
5. Hatred of selling.
6. Your own expertise – you’re the best at making decisions and at delivering to the customer - has become a bottleneck. You struggle to delegate.
7. You struggle to ask for help.
As the one and only expert in an SME, it’s easy for “the business” to become a 24/7 obsession. Even if you’re not physically at work, you may find it difficult to stop thinking about your latest challenge. So you’re effectively working up to 168 hours a week.
Imagine for a moment that you can work in a different way, become an Entrepreneur. You can create a company that is independent of its founder as the sole source of value creation.
I know it’s possible because I made that transition myself.
On my journey from Expert to Entrepreneur, I identified four key indicators of a company that has reached this level of maturity.
· The founder is no longer responsible for everything, and can go on vacation without impacting the functioning of the business.
· The financials, particularly the balance sheet, are healthy.
· The business has a team who collaborate well together, achieve their numbers and move towards accomplishing the company goals.
· Sales and marketing are process-driven.
These indicators work symbiotically and show that growth has taken place systematically and that the company is prepared for future growth.
In fact, these indicators function as “value signals” that investors and buyers look for when valuing a company.
Here’s a simple road map to help you evaluate where you are now:
1. Hire Your Team, covering the basic company functions of operations, administration/financial, and sales/marketing.
2. Create Your Sales and Marketing Process.
3. Monitor Your Financials, focus on value on and off the balance sheet.
4. Promote The Founder to a Non-Executive Role. That’s you.
Want to know more about how to apply these four value signals? Here's a short video that might help.