Small business owners are vulnerable to major disruptions when life throws a curve-ball. We make ambitious plans with “permanent” deadlines, knowing that one unexpected event can derail everything and we will need to pivot.
I’m working with a great company who’s committed to moving to the next level of growth. The owner/founder has done a very good job of establishing himself as a highly dependable and reputable subcontractor, but wants to triple the company size, and evolve into a prime contractor over the next 3 years. We have a lot of work to do. To make this pivot, we have to build his infrastructure, implement required processes, and align with the right people.
One of our most immediate tasks is to evaluate and shift the mindset and commitment of his current team. Growth can’t happen alone. It takes a village to build a business.
It’s all coming back to me….the early days of building a business, and laying a solid foundation to support healthy growth. I find myself with lengthy to-do lists that require many sets of helping hands. It’s tempting to simply throw new tasks over the fence to those that have already proven to be experts as I grow Successful Culture.
But wait. I’ve been down this road before with Information Experts. I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, and then tossed the overflow to a team mate. Eager to please, they say yes, even though my new request is outside of their core expertise… setting us both up for disappointment.
I’ve had a slew of podcast interviews over the last few weeks, and virtually all of the hosts have asked me what I think is the necessary ingredient for continued business growth. I speak from a place of making mistakes, and from getting things right over the last 20 years.
The three things I believe companies need to survive are a market niche, relevancy, and a mindset of greatness. I’ve named them in order of difficulty.
Values dictate every major decision and action in an organization – from the clients that a company engages, to the people that a company hires, to seemingly simple behaviors such as leaving a door open or closed. Values determine our behavior when others are not around to watch us. They are the core of integrity – which manifests when values are integrated with our actions. Personally and professionally, they frame the most important aspects of who we are, and what matters to us.
One of my coaching clients called me this week, asking for advice on where to find a great sales rep. She’s launching a start-up that has been in the works for months, and is obviously anxious to get her product to the market. My advice to her was to look in the mirror. That’s where she would find her best sales rep.
Personal development is not a tool for reaching a bigger goal. Instead, becoming a “complete human being is already the biggest and most noble goal you can aspire to.” Most of us are on a quest of continuous self-improvement, with the goal of attaining greater success. “If I attend this school, if I obtain this certification, if I achieve this milestone, then I will be able to attain another level of achievement.” The personal development is often tied to a desired outcome that moves us from one level to another.
There’s no disputing the fact that business is cut-throat. One day your most important strategic partner is bringing you into a great business opportunity. The next day, they are submitting a proposal to win business from your client. To sustain the ups and downs of career development and business growth, you require a thick skin. So how do we stay tough and protect our interests, while maintaining a mindset of abundance and compassion?
I came across a compilation of 19 shoestring-budget strategies that will help you connect with your target audience without going broke – exactly what a small business needs to expand their presence and stay financially healthy.
Here are my suggestions to move these ideas to implementation.
1: Pick three out of the list and focus on them. If you try to tackle the entire list, you will do a mediocre or poor job for all of them. Then, once those are done, move to the next three. The greatest ideas fail at implementation because we bite off more than we chew.
2: Determine what you can outsource, and what you need to manage yourself. For example, if you decide to join a Chamber, you personally need to cultivate those relationships, so ensure you have enough time to be present in the organization. If you decide to write a blog, you need to build your editorial calendar and write your blogs, but can outsource the mechanics of posting and sharing.
As a small business owner, deciding how and where you will dedicate your very limited time is essential to your success.
3: Finally, if an idea isn’t working for you, pivot quickly. Drop the tactic and move on. It’s all about figuring out what works best for you at this point in time.
Here is the link to the complete presentation.
Here are the tips:
What can you do between now and January 1st to ensure your 2014 is your best year yet?
One of my most impactful success strategies is having accountability partners. I have two accountability partners. One keeps me on track with all aspects of my life… My entire to-do list for Information Experts, Successful Culture, my writing, my media strategy, my family, my friendships, and my health & wellness. My whole life is organized according to the spreadsheet I deliver to her in preparation for our weekly Thursday morning calls.
My second accountability partner keeps me on track with my Successful Culture growth strategy. We learn together, build our business plans together, share best practices, put deadlines in place for growth milestones; and we are even planning a series of co-branded live events in 2014. We have all-day monthly planning meetings, as well as twice-monthly phone check-ins.