Want a simple way to grow your business? You do? Are you sure? You are?
Okay. If you want to grow your business, then grow personally.
I know. You were hoping for a gimmick. A quick fix that would skyrocket your business and put you on top with no pain, little effort, and no thinking required on your part.
Me too. The trouble is, those things don’t really work –sustainably– in the real world. They are great for scams and for Ponzi schemes. (And haven’t we had enough of those already?)
This idea of growing personally in order to grow your business is deceptively simple. Like an iceberg, there is a lot more here than meets the eye. In fact, there is so much here, we couldn’t begin to cover it all in one newsletter article. (But, no, that isn’t a threat that we will devote endless issues to it, either. 🙂 )
One of my mentors (Adam Urbansky) says, “You can only grow your business as fast as you can grow personally.”
And I can attest that this is true. My own business is completely intertwined with my personal growth. I have never grown so much as since I went into business for myself. And it hasn’t stopped. Also, I see it all the time in other people’s businesses. I have watched businesses fail because the owners refused to grow in their personal lives. My own brother’s forays into business are case studies in it.
I suspect that this is a significant component behind the oft-quoted statistics of the high failure rate of small businesses.
Business and the economic climate is changing around us all the time… ever faster and faster. As a result, what used to work in business, isn’t as effective as it once was. In order just to stay in place, we have to change and grow… and then grow some more.
I can state with certainty that your business volume, your customer mix, and your profit margins are not the same as they were only a year or two ago. Maybe they went up. Maybe they went down (the predominant experience for most businesses.) Either way, have you kept doing the same things you did two or three years ago or have you changed them? How’s that working for you?
And what if we want to get ahead… if we want to grow our business? Then we need to grow even more.
For most of us, this is not something we want to hear. We are wired to be comfortable and to stay in that comfort zone. Growth, especially personal growth, is uncomfortable. It is challenging.
The trouble is, change is not optional. Our business is going to grow or decline whether we want it to or not. And both of those directions create challenges. And neither is in our comfort zone.
Sure, there are a few adrenaline junkies who seek out challenge… they are noteworthy because they are the exception. The rest of us are couch potatoes who want to simply watch our favorite shows and not be bothered. And please keep things just the same.
When I was a project manager, I would remind team members and customers of a saying that I borrowed from my fiction-writing days –one of the formulas for plot. That saying? “Every solution carries the seeds of new problems.”
And it is true in life just as it is for good fiction (because fiction is a mirror of life.) I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear that saying I always get a picture of weeds shooting up in the lawn of life. That’s how many of us think of problems… weeds to be dealt with.
How are you going to address those problems? Albert Einstein said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
Now, you may not have created the problem, but it exists in your business. Further, your business didn’t have a process and thinking in place to handle it. (How did I know? If you had, you wouldn’t have the problem in your business. It would have been dealt with when the problem first sprouted.)
So, how do we solve these problems? By growing.
Since I started the lawn and weed metaphor, allow me to continue it. Did you know that a healthy lawn that is being tended (mowed, proper water, good soil) will overcome weeds on it’s own? That’s right, no need for weedkiller, pulling weeds, or other drastic measures. It does this because the grass grows… and as it grows, it crowds out the weeds.
Just like the grass, as you tend yourself and your own personal growth, you will find that you naturally overcome the weeds (problems). And you know what? Just like we are discovering about organic gardens, this ongoing personal growth is the BEST thing you can do for your business, because it is sustainable… year after year.
The gains you achieve from your personal growth continue to be applied to your business, even as the economy changes. And, unlike the gimmicks, they continue to work, even if you change your business, even if the economy goes up or down, even if your competitor moves in next door to you (either physically or virtually.)
Got a good growth story? Or maybe you are looking for “weed-killer”? Share with us in the comments.