In the past, when I heard a business owner talk about expanding their business, the images that came to mind were of sipping piña coladas on a sandy beach, rolling in piles of hundred-dollar bills, and driving a fleet of Mercedes.
Yes, it was embarrassingly naïve. And these pie-in-the-sky images did absolutely nothing to prepare me for the realities of growing a business.
Here are a few things I wish someone had told me about significantly growing a business.
You are going to be scared and excited, feel like you’re going to throw up, feel like a champion, feel like a loser. And you’re going to feel all of these things, in rotation, on a daily basis… often before lunch. The fears you feel are GROWING pains, but they will feel exactly like the fear and pain of real danger (like there is a shark about to devour you). You must be mentally disciplined enough to step back from your fear and evaluate it. Call it out, and call it what it is… “This is simply a scary-feeling growing pain. This is not a shark attack.”
Growth takes longer, and costs more than you expect. This is just the way it works. So don’t beat yourself up, AND budget three times as much time, and twice as much money as you think you’re going to need.
You are going to want to give up. Totally normal. When I’m in growth mode, I quit my business at least once a month. Make sure you have a strong support network who can talk you off the ledge when the going (inevitably) gets rough.
You will screw up. When you’re growing, you are constantly in uncharted territory and outside your area of expertise. Just be open to screw ups actually being opportunities to discover a new way of doing things. When you keep an open mind, the “wrong” path can lead you to unexpected innovation.
It’s ok to work nights and weekends (for a while). When you’re getting a new project off the ground, more energy is required. Don’t feel guilty for working a lot of hours when you’re building something that will free you up significantly in the future! With that being said, also make sure there is a cutoff date for your increased hours.
Isolation is a killer, so get help. You can get so wrapped up in your growth plan that you develop blinders to easy solutions and faster results. Make sure to work with a mentor who can spot the easy solutions you’re too overwhelmed to see.
Significantly growing your business is not for the faint of heart. Keep going. It’s worth it.
Contact me if you’d like to minimize your growing pains, maximize your results, and work as few nights and weekends as possible!