Bite-Size Chunks of Wisdom

Small Business Growth, Best Practices

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Technology has redefined the marketplace, altered business strategies, and allowed small business to compete on a global scale. The information revolution has definitely transformed the business environment. In order to compete and flourish, small business entrepreneurs need strategies to gain new skills.

Here are a few we recommend:

Commit to a culture of life-long learning. When enthusiasm for learning begins with the entrepreneur or small business owner, it has a cascading influence on everyone. The most innovative, forward-moving companies are those whose owners have a thirst for learning. It’s contagious and attracts others–employees, clients, and suppliers–committed to growth. No matter your age or the stage of your business, embracing lifelong learning transforms you, your business, and your future.

Invest in learning. Did you know that the cost of lack of knowledge is higher than the cost of professional development? It’s a known fact: businesses that commit a percentage of their budget to skill development enjoy greater success. (Click to Tweet)

Develop a solid understanding of all business functions including strategic planning, market research, brand positioning, budgeting, sales, etc. The ideal situation is to focus on growing your core gifts and talents and hire the additional skills your business needs. Budget constraints, however, don’t always make that possible. Nonetheless, even if your budget allows you to hire the talent you need, basic understanding and knowledge of all the business functions makes you a much smarter consumer.

Create a reserve of time, money, space, and opportunities. The leading cause of fear is scarcity-based worry. (Click to Tweet.) That’s no surprise – especially in this crazy economy. Having enough to get by is simply not good enough anymore. Being well-supplied means you’ll respond better to the needs of your clients and you’ll be able to afford the risks – perceived and real – your business needs to innovate.

Don’t grow alone.  Tap into a business coach, mastermind group, or set up your own informal advisory board to expand your knowledge. Business does not grow in a vacuum. (Click to Tweet.) Creativity is a collaborative process – even when you’re alone. Time spent in association is the trigger for those “aha” moments.

Become a “creative creator”.  Coined by Harvard University’s Lawrence Katz and MIT’s David Autor (labor economists) and Andy Kessler (author and former hedge fund manager), “creative creators” are those who do nonroutine jobs in a distinctive nonroutine way. The “creative creator” will lead business innovation, economic growth, and their industries into the future. Invent something new in your field.  Create a better way for clients to use your product or service. Raise the standards in your industry.

Do you have one year of experience repeated ten times? Or, do you celebrate ten distinctly different years of experience and ongoing growth that you continue to build upon?  The days of business skill stalemate are long gone. Your future success and business growth lies in your ability to strengthen and expand your business skills. Life-long learning is the key.

Related Blog Posts:

8 Assumptions Squashing Your Business Growth

Are “Flies” Gumming Up Your Business Growth?

Do You Know Your Small Business Growth Rate?

Betting on Business Growth? Don’t Snub the Importance of Planning

4 Actions to Make Business Growth Your Top Priority

It’s not the big things spoiling your small business growth; it’s the small, seemingly insignificant assumptions that are painfully stalling growth for many entrepreneurs. Although some assumptions play a valuable role in growing a business – like the ones you need when making financial projections – most assumptions are unwarranted.

Assumptions create illusions viewed as the truth. They direct our decisions and influence how and if a business grows. Are any of these assumptions thwarting your business growth?

  1. Client work always comes first.
  2. I always have to be available – just in case someone needs me.
  3. Everyone is my “target audience”.
  4. I can’t afford to hire the kind of quality employee I’d like.
  5. I can’t disconnect from email on weekends.
  6. I can’t find time for “strategic thinking”.
  7. If I ask for help, it’s a sign of weakness.
  8. If I charge what I want or request compensation for work beyond the original scope of work, I’ll lose the client.

Break Through Assumptions

Assumptions are difficult to identify. They come to the party masquerading as truth and reason. To unmask these culprits, consider these two tips:

1. Cultivate Awareness. Before assuming what assumptions you hold dear to your heart, develop insight into your default beliefs. When you sense a desire to “push back” against an idea or want to exclaim, “that’s baloney!” it’s likely an assumption worthy of questioning is knocking at your door.

2. Challenge Assumptions. When an assumption reare its ugly head, dispute the belief by asking “what if”. Asking “what if” uncovers the real reason behind the assumption. It helps you get at the truth and develop beliefs that are more accurate.

According to wikipedia, when we assume, “it makes an a** out of you and me”. Frankly, that’s the least of my worries! I’d rather be an a** than out of business.

What assumptions do you need to challenge?

While we’re on the subject, read on:

Getting Past Your Fears and Growing a Successful Business

Overcome Underpricing, & its Evil Twin, Underearning in Small Business

Betting on Business Growth? Don’t Snub the Importance of Planning

Sound Off: Can Your Small Business Succeed on a 25-hour Workweek?

It Takes a Village To Run a Successful Business

Growing your small business wasn’t intended to be chaotic, confusing, overwhelming, and stressful. You dreamt that small business ownership would be fun, exciting, thrilling, rewarding, and would grow like a weed. What happened?! It all started when you said, “yes” to conventional wisdom.

small business growing painsSmall business owners say “yes” more than is necessary to grow their business. Too often small business entrepreneurs say “yes” because conventional wisdom dictates certain actions to succeed in business.

For instance, conventional wisdom says that you should subscribe to e-newsletters to keep up-to-the-minute with the latest and greatest in your industry. Although it’s exciting and may feel necessary to have this information at your disposal, it actually inundates your inbox, pulls you off course, and distracts you from your primary focus.

Conventional wisdom nudges you to attend networking events or join networking groups. While this may be a successful tactic for some industries, when you know your ideal client won’t be attending, why continue to follow conventional wisdom? The same advice pertains to joining a local Chamber of Commerce. At one time, a chamber membership was invaluable for growing business but they have since lost their relevance for small business.

Equally astonishing is when we continue to execute actions that clearly aren’t generating results – because conventional business wisdom instructs you to do so. “Yes” is uttered much too often to conventional wisdom.

Saying “yes” adds a level of complexity to your business that makes your business harder to manage. Complexity creates unnecessary confusion and chaos. As a result, we’re many times overwhelmed and stressed with all we have to do – little of which will actually help us grow. Most importantly, when focus diffuses, business growth slows.

Are you ready to make “no” your default response to conventional wisdom and its subsequent complexity? Keep your business clean, lean, nimble, and on the grow.

Not sure what actions deserve a “yes” and which ones warrant a “no”? I’m happy to help streamline your business so you can grow more quickly.

Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

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.

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