“Every significant accomplishment begins with one person stepping up and committing to making a difference” ~ John C. Maxwell.
There is a fear around spending more money, committing more time, giving up freedoms, or increasing time away from family and friends that stops so many business owners from doing what needs to get done to ensure their business grows. To make a difference in business a business owner must be focused on the work required to see it complete and committed to providing the resources needed to get it there.
Recently I had a Client share a story of a client of hers, who is in the wellness industry. They will give up comfort for their customers because they cannot afford the right equipment. They will even be willing to risk their own health by not having ergonomically functional patient examination equipment in their treatment rooms. Their goal is to buy these things, that they know they need to run a functional business by saving up over a 5 year period.
If they think their clients are going to wait 5 years for them to have the right equipment they will be wrong. Until then they cannot charge what they are worth because they don’t have the basics to make it valuable for their customers. By charging less it will take longer to save the money they need to purchase the equipment and likely it will never happen because the habit of ‘good enough’ will already be instilled into all their business practices.
A business owner must realize that there is no free way to start a business. Growth always starts with investment. So how do we overcome the fear of investment when we don’t feel we have the money or the time to give?
Have a Realistic Goal
Five years to purchase the equipment you need to do the work is not realistic. It would be like going into the new Target store and them not having washrooms for their clients. “We know we need washrooms and it is on our 5-year plan to invest in building washrooms in all stores.” Wouldn’t that be a ridiculous thing to hear.
Maybe not as ridiculous, but just as dysfunctional, are the statements that come from many business owners when it comes to their business growth. Statements like:
- “I can’t afford to hire someone right now,” when they are completely unable to do all the work just to maintain their business. Where do they think the extra money is going to come from if they don’t hire someone so they can take on more business?
- “My husband is finished school for the summer and he said he would help me,” was the statement from a business owner of 17 years looking for a new growth strategy because she was working too much and loosing clients. Where did she believe her husband’s new business prowess was going to come from this summer?
The intention to grow is not enough, you must have a realistic goal that cannot be reached by applying a little extra effort in the same places. A growth goal requires a clear vision that will propel you to do the things you have not done before so you can overcome the fear of trying something new.
Follow a Plan
A clear growth vision will give you the passion to do the work during the times when doing the work is difficult and a plan with steps that can be followed helps ensure that we don’t stop before we reach our destination.
Creating a plan takes a little bit of insight and requires the ability to gather knowledge about the resources needed for each component of the plan.
I was chatting with a real estate investor this morning. He has recently acquired several commercial buildings. He completely understands the value of offering an up-to-date space when it comes to renting offices for a premium, so he is on a path to update and renovate. He knows what the goal is, he has a vision for its value, he has created a plan to get there, and now he is collecting the resources needed to get the steps done.
The work feels easier when you can tackle each step in its turn. The fear comes when we don’t have a process and we try to tackle everything at the same time. The real estate investor knows he cannot have all the trades in his building at the same time. In between purchasing the building and gutting it he invested in more knowledge about development, government requirements and the trades so he could manage the project successfully for his business. The steps of his plan are easier because he is not guessing his next move and then having to put out fires as he goes.
Free Doesn’t Mean Without Cost
One of the biggest fallacies in business growth is to expect to use a free tool or cheaply acquired resource and it won’t cost any money. When I sit down with my clients and go through the costs of their programs or services, they often find that they are paying way more than they thought to create and deliver it. Bringing things from home, using free online tools, printing a few pages, paying for cheap location, etc. all add up. Usually not everything is accounted for. The one thing that is most often overlooked is the business owner’s own time. When they calculate that they have put in 10 hours for a 2 hour service then they do the math and realize they are working for less than $10 per hour.
We feel fear around growth because we know instinctively that we are working for a pittance and we cannot do more because we really cannot afford to do more.
When you build your plan you must include the cost of your time to implement and maintain free resources. For instance, using social media is very costly in time. In your plan, your long term goal will be to have the social media marketing managed by another person, so you must account for those hours in your estimated costs for growth. It will not be surprising to you that you are working for little money and it will not be surprising to you how much money you need to then hire someone to do the work. The timing and the resources will then be known for that growth step.
Fear comes when we don’t know what we are doing, why we are doing it, or how we will get it done. If you want to be on the path for a greater business growth you have to reduce or eliminate the fear you have around doing the work. Make your goals match your vision, create a plan with steps that you can follow, and understand what your costs really are.