7 Things I Wish I Would Have Known About Growing My Business Sooner
Growing my business is simple these days.
However, it wasn’t always this way.
In the past, I’d listen to conventional business advice, apply it, and then find myself jumping through hoops only to crash and burn shortly thereafter.
I know that I’m not the only one who feels this way! I bet that you’re one of the many business owners who's in the midst of this same dreaded cycle.
To help you avoid that same crash and burn, I’m sharing 7 things I wish I would have known about growing my business sooner.
Had I known these things, I would have avoided a whole lot of problems and enjoyed more success earlier on!
Apply these 7 principles to experience what I’m experiencing now- Consistent, long-term business growth in less time and with less resistance than ever before.
What Most People Told Me About Business Growth Turned Out to Be False
Not only was I NOT told what I needed to know about growing my business, but most of what I was told turned out to be false!
By that, I mean that what I was told was incorrect and didn’t help me grow my business in the least bit.
In some cases, the advice I was given took my business backwards.
Believe it or not, a majority of business owners are being told the same incorrect things that I was once told! Then they wonder why their businesses aren’t growing.
Here are a few of the most common things I was told about growing my business that turned out to be false.
People Told Me That Business Growth Is Complicated
First off, business growth is not complicated, yet most people told me that it was.
They made it seem as if I’d have to jump through hoops and over landmines to grow my business, but that just didn’t turn out to be true.
The truth I later realized is that business growth comes down to a single factor: sales growth.
Sales growth is central to every business growth strategy! Not digital marketing efforts or not team building, but simply making more sales in less time.
When you think about it, business growth of any kind all comes back to increasing cash flow through sales growth. And there are countless ways to grow sales, including forming strategic partnerships, expanding your target market, or developing new products.
Bottom line: Business growth is a simple matter of sales growth.
Just Work Harder and You’ll Succeed
How often do people tell you that you just need to work harder to succeed?
The truth is that this is not true for most people.
Here’s the thing- There is no such thing as success without hard work. It’s why Thomas Edison said, ‘Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration'.
However, most people don’t ever take a step back and ask themselves if they’re working hard on the right things.
Think of it like this- If you’re on a race to the grocery store but you’re on the wrong path, running any faster won’t help you win the race! Instead, it’ll just set you back further.
Therefore, what most CEOs need to do instead of just working harder is to take a step back and determine if they’re even on the right path to begin with (which most CEOs aren’t).
If you’re currently spinning your wheels but going nowhere, stop and step back before trying to spin your wheels any harder.
You’ve Got All the Time In the World
How many times has somebody said something to you along the lines of, ‘Just relax, you’ve got all the time in the world!’?
Yeah, the only people who say such things are people who don’t live in reality, but most people don’t live in reality at all!
If they did, they wouldn’t say such things. Instead, they would say things like, ‘That’s a great idea, so you better get moving!’
Most people won’t tell you that you don’t have all the time in the world to get moving because they don’t want to risk making you feel bad at the moment.
The reality of life is that we don’t know how much time we’ve got left. Therefore, if you don’t take initiative when you’ve got the chance, then you might not ever get the chance again.
7 Things I Wish I Would Have Known About Business Growth Sooner
Here are 7 things I wish somebody would have told me about growing my business sooner because knowing these things would have helped me achieve more success sooner.
Take it from me- Knowing these things will help YOU grow your business more in less time and with less resistance!
1. You’re Going to Drop the Ball at Some Point
You’ve got a lot of plates to balance. You’ve got all your different business plates plus your personal life plates.
For example, you’ve got to develop a new marketing strategy, connect with your current customers, update your sales process, go to the gym, and still have time for family at the end of the night.
I wish somebody would have told me sooner that I wasn’t going to be able to keep all of my plates balanced all the time.
Moreover, I wish that somebody would have told me that I was going to drop at least one of my plates every once in a while and that it was okay!
Regardless of what you see on TV or read about in books, there isn’t a single entrepreneur out there who can balance all their plates at all times.
At one point or another, they realize that they’ve only got so much time, energy, and resources to keep things balanced.
That said, if somebody would have told me sooner that I wasn’t going to be able to keep all my plates balanced all the time, I could have chosen which ones I was okay dropping rather than letting fate decide.
On top of that, I could have found someone to help manage that falling plate before it completely shattered.
I don’t care how successful of a business owner you are- There’s going to come a time when one of your plates slips.
Instead of unrealistically trying to balance them all at all times, decide which ones you’re okay letting drop and try to find help managing that plate if you can.
2. Business Development = Personal Development
Your business is a reflection of you.
I bet you started a new business because starting it would fulfil some personal desire or passion.
Yes, you also probably started a business to be your own boss, but the specific business you started reflected an internal passion.
That said, I wish somebody would have told me sooner that growing my business was going to be just as much of a personal journey as a business journey.
I wish I would have known that, not only was my business going to change but that I was also going to change!
The reason: Growing a successful business forces you to get uncomfortable and make A LOT of changes. And, because the business is a reflection of you, when it changes, you have to change, too!
For example, if you realize that generating new customers will require you to radically shift your business plans, that’s going to create an internal conflict for you.
Because, again, your business is an extension of you. When the business changes you change and changing is challenging for everyone.
I need you to know that you’ve got to start seeing yourself and your personal development as malleable, because when your business changes as it grows, you’ll need to change with it!
3. Short-Term Thinking Leads to Long-Term Disaster
Most businesses don’t rise to their full potential overnight.
While it’s certainly possible for a business to grow from zero to one hundred overnight, that's not usual.
Unfortunately, most business owners have a short-term, zero to one-hundred mindset. Because of this, they jump at any opportunity that looks enticing to them.
Instead of sticking to the growth strategy that they believe will secure long-term, sustainable, and scalable success, they give in to the allure of potential short-term gains.
I, too, used to approach growth with a short-term mindset! I was willing to jump the long-term plans ship because the allure of potential short-term gains was so enticing.
Of course, I wish somebody would have told me sooner that short-term thinking leads to long-term disaster!
I’m telling you that while it’s extremely important to be ready to pivot with your business, that’s not the same as jumping ship when potential shiny short-term gains entice you.
Again, pivoting is one thing, but pivoting is not the same as jumping ship with your growth strategy!
Therefore, be ready to learn, grow, and pivot, while ALWAYS keeping the long-term in mind.
4. Business Goals Aren’t As Important As They’re Cracked-Up to Be
The word ‘goals’ is hot in the business and personal development spaces these days.
Just about every online business guru will tell you that you need to set goals to grow your business. They'll also say that achieving goals is the ultimate form of success.
Unfortunately for me, I used to follow that advice only to eventually realize that while business goals were important they weren't everything.
More specifically, goals are important to get to the next level, but they’re not THE most important growth factor.
Rather, what is the most important growth factor is a clear business vision.
The vision is the experience or outcome that you’re creating THROUGH your business.
For example, Steve Jobs’s had a vision of a world more empowered through technology. His vision was not to create the iPhone or iPad. Jobs wasn’t even an engineer! Instead, Job’s used the iPhone and iPad as vehicles to bring his vision to life.
That said, a goal will never embody the true impact of your business, and you can’t create visions off of goals.
Therefore, before setting goals, refine and clarify your grand business vision. Ask yourself what impact you’re trying to make on the world through your business. Then, set goals to manifest that vision.
Bottom line: Goals are important but they’re not everything. Instead, your business vision is everything!
5. A Growing Business Is Nothing Without an Effective Business Leader
Believe it or not, but as the leader of your business, your job is to, well, lead!
Despite this fact, most business leaders do anything but lead their team members. Instead of leading, they get caught up in the day-to-day of the business. As a result, growth never happens.
That said, I wish somebody would have told me sooner that I needed to focus on leadership instead of getting caught in the business weeds.
What does it mean to be a leader?
Being a leader means putting your team members in charge of the different pieces of the business puzzle. That way, you can put all the pieces together to form the big business growth picture.
Unless you’re there to put the pieces together, then what is everybody doing their work for?
Individual puzzle pieces aren’t valuable until they’re put together to form the big picture!
Therefore, your job is to delegate the different pieces of the business growth puzzle, such as the sales marketing plans, to different team members. Once everybody has done their piece, you put them all together.
Every business needs a leader. If you don’t get yourself out of the weeds and start leading, then who else is going to lead?
6. Results Will Not Bring You Fulfillment
If you think that achieving results will fulfil you, you’re wrong.
By that, I mean that thinking reaching the summit of a mountain you’ve been climbing will bring you satisfaction.
The hard truth is that reaching the summit lasts for a fleeting moment, and then it fades away. You spend .001% of your time on the summit and the other 99.999% trying to reach the summit.
What makes you think that the .001% will bring you fulfilment?
Because, one second after you reach that summit, another challenge arises and there's a new mountain to climb.
Think of it like this- Let’s say that you have a goal to grow your small business with a new marketing plan. Specifically, you want to generate 10 new potential customers per month though a mix of online content marketing and social media marketing. After a few months, you achieve that goal, but then shortly after, you realize that you don’t know how to juggle converting these new prospects while managing existing customer relationships. Suddenly, you’re climbing a new mountain!
That said, I wish somebody would have told me sooner that I shouldn’t look for satisfaction in results, because the second I achieve my desired outcome, a new challenge will arise.
Instead, I wish somebody told me to look for fulfillment in the process.
Yes, reaching the summit is important, but basing your entire fulfillment on that one fleeting moment is bound to bring disappointment!
7. If You Don't Start Now You're Sunk
No, you do not need to refine your business model before getting started.
No, you do not need more education before you get started.
And, no, you do not need to wait for the supposedly perfect time to start growing your business!
Throughout your business journey, you’re going to encounter certain people who will try to convince you that you’re not good enough or well equipped enough to grow your business.
They’ll try to convince you that you need more of X, Y, and Z before you get started.
Even worse, they’ll hit you with a who-do-you-think-you-are attitude.
This is not to say that these people are bad! Rather, they’re just telling you what is true for them! They’re reflecting on you the way that they would feel if they were in your shoes.
That said, I wish somebody told me sooner that I had to get started immediately!
Because the earlier you start, the more time you have to take, what I call, at-bats. Think of at-bats as attempts to grow your business.
Also, the hard truth is that you don’t know how much time you have to grow your business. Something tragic could happen next week that uproots your ability to read this sentence.
Therefore, you must start today because you do not know if tomorrow will come.
Cliche? Yes, but also a hard truth.
Final Thoughts on What I Wish I Would Have Known About Business Growth
Had I known these 7 principles sooner, I would have had a lot more success earlier on.
However, now that I am enjoying the success of running a growing business, I don’t want you to make the same mistakes and listen to the wrong advice that I did!
Instead, I want you to take what I’ve experienced and apply it to your own life so that you don’t have to run into the same challenges.
Bottom line: Are you going to keep taking insights from business gurus who haven’t even grown a business themselves? Or, will you take it from somebody who has done it themselves and has helped hundreds of other entrepreneurs do it, too?
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