Are you serious about growing your business?
With the start of the new year, you’d think “growth” would be a top priority for business owners. After all, doesn’t every owner want to grow their business?
While it may surprise you, the answer is actually no, not everyone wants to grow.
There are three types of owners I see:
- “Lifestyle” Business Owners: These are owners that are comfortable with the amount of revenue their company makes and the number of clients they work with. Their company supports the lifestyle they want and they aren’t actually interested in working much harder beyond that.
- “Precarious” Business Owners: These are owners that have a good thing going, but aren’t sure how to maintain it. Maybe their business has fallen into their lap because of a death or a transition that wasn’t planned—but for whatever reason, keeping up their business is a grind. They know that if they take their eyes off their business things could quickly fall apart.
- “Survival” Business Owners: These are owners that are struggling with an existential threat to the business and they’re in survival mode. Maybe they’ve lost a key account, have cash flow issues, or their market is radically changing. They’ve taken their mind off growth because they’re focused on keeping the business alive.
However, a growth mindset is essential for any business to survive—regardless of the situation. The reality is, if the company isn’t planning to grow, it is planning to die.
What Is a Growth Mindset?
In business, a growth mindset means you want more and new customers and are willing to invest to make growth happen.
Companies that grow have an attitude and expectation—not just at the ownership level, but the leadership team and the entire staff—that they are going to win. They’re going to grow. And they have every expectation of growing 10-20%, whatever’s reasonable, and then double that number.
Maybe this sounds Pollyanna, or like wishful thinking—but it’s not. It’s about having an attitude that sets growth as an essential priority, not something that hopefully happens by the end of the year.
Why Do I Need a Growth Mindset?
The answer is simple, but deserves time to sink in.
If you don’t plan on growing, you plan on dying. And you can’t grow without investment.
In business ownership, a growth mindset isn’t something you can just affirm. It’s something you have to prioritize in your daily decisions and the allocation of your resources.
I’ve had owners tell me that they were committed to growth, but freeze the moment they had to actually take their wallets out. They quite literally couldn’t put their money where their mouth was. I’ve had other owners who were willing to put the money down, but not willing to invest their time in rethinking their business mission or model.
The reality is growth requires marketing, sales and relentless focus on creating value for customers—especially for smaller companies. Sure, you may think of examples of companies that grew (seemingly) without effort and everything just went their way. But that’s like waiting for lightning to strike. That’s not a plan that will actually get you where you want to go.
How Do I Adopt a Growth Mindset?
Adopting a growth mindset is done by committing to growth, developing a growth plan, and structuring your resources accordingly.
Michael Gerber, the author of The E-Myth, encourages business owners to “think like an entrepreneur”, rather than someone whose business’ life or death depends on them. I agree with this—unless you are one of those “survival” business owners I talked about. If that’s you, there’s a blog coming your way soon.
Thinking like an entrepreneur means looking at your business with fresh eyes. Remember when you were just starting out and it seemed like there were so many paths you could take? Take time to dream of new possibilities—and then make a plan of how you would make them happen.
What to Consider…
- Do you have a growth mindset? If not, what’s in the way of adopting one?
- What are some some new possibilities that could generate growth?
- Do you have a specific long-term growth plan? If not, do you know where you want your business to go?