I regularly speak with small business owners, and 9 times out of 10, they express this sentiment during our first conversation: “I want to grow my business. I’m working hard. I’m advertising. My products are great. So why isn’t my business growing?” The answer, believe it or not, is simple: In order to grow your small business, you need to shift your mindset. You need to adopt a long term strategic viewpoint, as opposed to a short term tactical viewpoint. That’s it. Simple—but not easy.
Learning the proper perspective by which to view your business takes time and commitment, but anyone can do it. It’s not something that can happen in the next thirty minutes, and you’ll need far more information than I provide in this article, but this will get you started on the right foot. And if you need further guidance, I’d love to hear from you. Below are the essential first steps for adopting the mindset that will allow you to build your small business into a world-class company:
- Begin with the end in mind. What is the end game for your business? How does your business fit into your life goals? Many small business owners fall into the trap of allowing their business to control their life. And without a defined long term plan, you will fall into the same trap. Take some time and map out life goals—where do you want to be in 5 years? 15 years? 30 years? Now, what do you need from your business in order to reach these goals? That is your end game. Now you know what you are working towards. It is amazing what a difference this simple exercise can make.
- Step back from the chaos regularly. Chaotic is often the most appropriate word for a small business. You are trying to handle sales, customer service, bookkeeping, marketing, and more. And that is just in the morning. Chaos is inevitable, and while organizational and time management skills help, they will only do so much. That is why it is essential for a small business owner to take time to step back from day-to-day operations and look at the big picture. Are you meeting the goals set out in your business plan? Are you targeting the right customers? Are you building a strong team? These are questions that often get neglected by busy owners—but without addressing these big-picture questions, growth just will not happen.
- Never prioritize short term profits over long term relationships. This is a big one. Not only will long-term customers be your best source of income over the years, but they will be your most effective marketers. Don’t approach clients looking to make a quick buck—approach them with the goal of building a long-term relationship characterized by trust and mutual appreciation.
You have what it takes to build a world-class company. You just need to learn how to think like a world-class manager. Stay tuned in the future as we cover this topic in greater depth.