Isn’t it astonishing when you consider that the year is coming to a close? It was only last week – or so it seems – you were making plans for the upcoming year.
Like most optimistic entrepreneurs, you executed your strategic options flawlessly. And, like many entrepreneurs, you discovered some of the strategies got you closer to your objectives and others – well, let’s face it, you wasted paper creating them. Despite wrapping up final figures, there remains one strategy requiring your attention: celebrating your achievements.
Regardless of your successes or failures, it’s worth noting that if you’re reading this, you’re still in business! The fact that the doors to your business remain open means two things: you did many of the right things and you did many things right.
Before you break out in “Auld Lang Syne” and pop the champagne on the new year, let’s put 10 minutes on the clock and see how many achievements, large and small, you have realized this past year.
Here are some questions to get you started:
What did you learn that accelerates your growth moving forward?
What did you learn that you know you’ll never repeat?
What new skill did you add to your quiver?
What skill was improved or strengthened?
Whom did you meet that positively influenced your business?
What area of your business is stronger today?
What are you able to see along the horizon that wasn’t visible last year at this time?
What events did you attend that were new and/or different this year whether it was for networking, marketing, or seeking assistance that caused you to stretch your comfort zone?
What was your most proud moment?
What can you say about yourself or your business today that you were unable to say last year at this time?
As you consider the response for each question, you’ll undoubtedly agree that despite the balance sheet or bank balance, you have much to celebrate that will serve you well long after this year has become a faint memory.
From our business to yours, we wish you a stellar new year!
Did you experience it? I sat on the edge of my chair, glued to the game, yelling as if I was in the stadium; relieved when it was over. Another world championship title! In another nail-biting, edgy, and electrifying performance, the US Women’s Soccer Team dominated the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
This isn’t their first “rodeo,” so to speak. They’ve appeared on the world soccer stage in memorable style on multiple occasions.
During their devastating loss to Japan in 2011, they showed us that sometimes the difference between winning and losing isn’t technique. It is undying belief, attitude, and grit. They showed us to never stop believing you’ll win. Even if the game has ended, it doesn’t mean it’s over so keep playing.
In their stunning return in 2015, they came ready to play. They faced their foe with ferocity, executed smart moves early in the game, took periodic rest knowing fresh legs were critical, and stretched themselves in all directions. They were galvanized. They transformed their goal into reality to capture the title of world champions. It was breathtaking…and a bit stressful.
Their 2019 performance didn’t disappoint. By capturing the win—and our hearts—there is much that we, as entrepreneurs, can learn from them.
Here are a few of the takeaways I captured…
Journey together—that’s where success begins and ends.
Push the boundaries of what is possible.
When you nail your goal, take a bow—unapologetically.
Don’t just come to play, come to win.
Continually, and incessantly, communicate with other members of your team.
If at first your goal is defeated, try again.
You’ll get beat up. That’s part of the game. Pick yourself up and play on.
You’ll butt heads with others. Don’t let it take you out of the game—unless your health is on the line.
When things don’t go your way, don’t get mad. Come back stronger, fiercer, and fight harder for the win.
When you know and speak your truth, you’ll be criticized. Ignore it—and them.
Undoubtedly there were many more teachable moments for those of us with the desire to succeed. We play hard to win every day and our determination to succeed, just like the 2019 Women’s World Soccer Champions, keeps us in the game—no matter the obstacles.
Remember this…as an entrepreneur, you are equally as talented, skilled, and powerful as the US Women’s Soccer Team to dream, create, play, and shine!
There are many reasons – valid and invalid – for caution that many of us as small business owners experience. Granted, a measured amount of caution is useful. It triggers due diligence to better manage risk and make better decisions. An overabundance of caution, on the other hand, is liable to choke your business growth
Cautiousness in business is like bubble wrap. It’s cushioning material provides a protective layer. Although protective of harsh blows, it also creates delays, prompts missed opportunities, causes us to misjudge or misinterpret events, and changes our course of action that ultimately sabotages our business growth.
During my tenure as a business coach, I’ve seen many reasons for excessive cautiousness in small business owners, including:
failure taken out of context
lack of belief in oneself
unproven business model that is unstable and produces lackluster results
under-developed business skills
etc etc etc
Regardless of the cause, however, being overly cautiousness is NOT a recommended strategy for growth. In order to achieve your goals to grow your business at the rate and pace you desire – and need – for joy, fulfillment, freedom, and flexibility you seek, you have to “pop” your way through the layers of protective cautiousness.
No longer a new and shiny object, business coaching is being recognized by more small business owners as a tool that ensures a clear mind and the necessary focus to stay on the course to upward trending growth. In essence, business coaching done right removes the protective layer of cautiousness that previously kept you stuck. Itputs you on a path to accelerate your business growth.
1. Business coaching creates forward movement. With caution comes a blurred vision. Unable to see a clear way forward, valuable resources get squandered as you head in multiple directions – often simultaneously. You can’t veer off track with business coaching. Business coaching ensures your vision is crystal clear and smart strategies are implemented that are aligned with your vision to help you stay the course.
2. Business coaching prevents unrelenting cautiousness from becoming a habit. As with anything, the more we do it, the stronger it becomes. Cautiousness is one habit you don’t want to strengthen. Business coaching interrupts the vicious cycle of cautiousness (and that sense of powerlessness) by providing you with the tools, techniques, information, and skills you need to move confidently in the direction of your dreams.
3. Business coaching opens up unidentified opportunities. It’s challenging to grow a business alone in this fast-paced, every-changing business environment. The isolation of trying to take your business to the next level is deafening – especially when it comes to innovation. Possibilities are easily overlooked. Business coaching keeps you up-to-date with industry and consumer trends and makes it easier to keep your finger on the pulse of what is happening in the world to direct your business growth.
4. Business coaching sheds light on your numbers. If you don’t know it, you can’t grow it. Business metrics provide key performance information. Business coaching lends a hand in identifying the right stats to track. Business coaching also helps you understand key metrics that guide your business decisions and keep your business on the right track. You’ll be so impressed with yourself as you uncover the impact of data-driven decisions.
5. Business coaching helps identify the right kind and amount of resources. Selecting vendors to assist with growth initiatives can be a daunting process. One bad choice can be a costly decision for many small business owners. With business coaching, you become a smart consumer of services. You learn the questions to make sure a vendor can deliver on their promises and identify resources that are the best fit for your business.
Ahhhh! Don’t you feel better already? Who doesn’t love the stress-relieving bubble popping of bubble wrap!? It’s irresistible. And, once you start, it’s nearly impossible to stop. Business coaching is just like bubble popping. It relieves stress, injects massive calm into your day, provides the tools needed to succeed, and keeps you moving in the direction of your dreams.
Nothing is more frustrating than working ’round the clock and not generating an output equal to the input in your business. Granted, it’s common to invest on the front end of your business but, eventually, you want a return. You want to see the business grow.
Despite one’s best efforts to grow the business, some small business owners experience stunted or sluggish growth. Here are some of the most common reasons for slow to no growth.
1. No growth goal. Did you know research shows the only statistically significant predictor of business growth is not the industry, size of business, or length of time in business? It is the entrepreneur’s goal for growth. Who knew?!
That’s a significant statistics that begs the question – what’s your growth goal?
2. Missing business strategy. An absent business strategy generally results in a “fire, ready, aim” approach; one in which you start firing in hopes that — somehow — the business manages to accomplish its goal. Yikes! Your approach to how you’ll grow your business is as important as your goal for growth.
3. Growing alone. Nothing grows in a vacuum. Little to no strategic interaction with like-minded entrepreneurs stifles growth in a variety of ways, including loss of creativity, blind spots, and diluted self-confidence. With limited interaction with others, small business growth begins to suffer in a multitude of ways, including loss of creativity, blind spots, and weakening self-confidence.
5. Maintain what or how you’re doing it. This is what is referred to as insanity — doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. A course-correction in growth occurs when you alter what you’re doing or how you’re doing it.
6. Pinching pennies. Every entrepreneur understands “bootstrapping”. Nonetheless, don’t let excessive frugality cause you to hire cheap, inexperienced vendors or to cut corners. Both come with a larger price tag than you realize.
7. Doing it all yourself.Although doing it all yourself commonly occurs in the start-up phase of your business, it’s not designed to be a long-term strategy. Eventually, it bottlenecks your ability to grow.
There are a few things in business that are optional especially if you intend to keep the doors open and the lights on. Business growth is NOT one of them. Growing a business in any economy is not for the faint of heart. Growing a business — minus a strategy — is a major drain on your resources triggered by half-baked decisions.
To paraphrase author, Richard Rumelt, in his book Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters, setting strategy is not a game of establishing goals. Strategy is how your organization moves forward. Strategy is the craft of figuring out what is worth pursuing with the capability of accomplishing. It’s a cohesive approach to moving forward that requires you to say “no” more often than “yes” to what lies ahead.
Strategy is an area in which one-size-fits-all doesn’t work. In fact, when crafting a strategy that is the right fit for you and your small business, there are several aspects to consider.
Our friends at the Houston Small Business Chronicle suggest using the PESTLE analysis when identifying a clear business strategy. PESTLE stands for political, economic, sociological, technological, legal, and environment. Taking these considerations under advisement, combined with your mission and vision, helps identify the potential opportunities and threats that ultimately influence your selection of strategy.
Common Core Strategies: The Big Four
Although there are different types of business strategies available, you want to select the growth strategy most appropriate for your business. In the absence of a full analysis and customization of your business strategy, you may find it helpful to select one of the most commonly known strategies.
Diversify – Does “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” ring a bell? If so, that sums up the diversify strategy. Developing new products in new markets can be a riskier strategy given the unproven marketplace. However, if innovation is a business value (think Apple, Inc.) it may be worth the risk as long as you understand what’s at stake. Strap on your tool belt for this strategy, though. New skills and knowledge required for success.
Market Development – One of the more common growth strategies selected by many a mature entrepreneur is to expand existing products into new markets. It makes sense. Once you’ve proven your business offering in one market, your acquired knowledge and skill can potentially support growth in a new market. The new market may be industry-related or geographical. This type of transition doesn’t happen without proper planning, however. A keen understanding of the new markets — and its competitors — is important if you’re going to make head way.
Product Development – Probably one of the most comfortable strategies for entrepreneurs is introducing new products into existing market. This is commonly called the product development strategy and mirrors the market development strategy. It requires a keen eye and detailed-attention to pay attention to the ever-changing needs of your clients to figure out what innovation they are ready to adopt. Even if it appears to be an easier strategy to implement, it doesn’t come without challenges. New business skills and continual tweaking are needed until success is achieved.On Strategy does a nice job of poking the brain cells with their product development strategy teaser. Here are a few ways to extend your current offering:
Market Penetration – What’s an entrepreneur to do when new products and/or new markets don’t exist? When surrendering is not an option, expanding your current products in your current market is the way to go. Be prepared to do battle, though, should you adopt this strategy. In order to snag a larger piece of the pie, you’ll be seizing some of your competitor’s market share. They may not take kindly to that.
As you can see, there’s a bit more than wishful thinking when it comes to business growth. However, setting aside some time to conduct a thorough analysis and custom-design your business strategy can certainly give you a leg up on growing your business.
Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.