The dream of a business owner is to have a successful business that has grown from its grass roots to something that is both impressive and profitable, but not every business owner will achieve that success. Those with the mindset of an entrepreneur will have the greatest chance of success.
As a successful business owner, you have a great product or service that addresses a specific customer pain point, it demonstrates your unique skillset and represents your specific market niche well. To date, you have been successfully running your business, year over year. But with future growth in sight, you must address the following two main hurdles.
Hurdle No. 1 One | Are you prepared to handle the growth you expect to achieve? You need to put systems in place to be able to handle that growth. These systems could include your people, your processes, your software, or your workflow to name a few. Why should you consider putting systems and processes in place before you have the sales? Well, the answer to that is quite simple; What if you don’t?
Think of your last terrible customer experience where that company didn’t have the correct systems and processes in place. How many times did they drop the ball on you? How did it make you feel as a customer? Would you choose to do business with them again? How much have they lost in losing you as a customer?
Let’s look at an example together. Company “X” forgets to communicate with you and somehow you get lost in the shuffle of their customer relations team. Your emails remain unreturned, the company fails to follow-up with you, and they don’t deliver what they promised in the first place. For a growing company, this can turn an advocate into an unsatisfied customer in an instant. Make sure this does not happen to your business. Employ strategic planning that you can treat each of your customers as if they are your only customer. Make them feel as if they matter to your business and that they are critical to your success.
Here is where the difference between being an entrepreneur and a business owner comes into play. To invest in building your systems and processes before you actually have the revenue to support it takes a big leap of faith. While entrepreneurs are willing to take this risk, business owners tend to be more calculated. Ask yourself what is holding you back from growing your business. Often business owners hold themselves back by saying, “When I have the money, I will grow my business.” Entrepreneurs say, “I will grow my business in order to make money”.
Now, I am not saying that you should leap forward with only your faith to carry you. That would be suicide in the business world. What I want you to do is think strategically. Take the time to envision what your systems and processes would look like to support your growing business, and invest in those systems that are going to benefit you the most and with the quickest turnaround. Once you have those strategies constructed, decide where the cash is going to come from to invest in those systems.
Hurdle No. Two | Have you done the homework to scale your business model to the appropriate size for growth? You need to be able to scale your business model to open up your sales funnel and attract more business to support those systems.
Do the investigation to validate your sales funnel, your product lines, your scalability and your customer’s journey. Make sure that there is a demand for the product or service that you are offering at the price point that you are offering it at. Without closed sales, your expanded business model will not survive so you need to get this right.
It is important to understand why hurdle two comes after step one; If you open the sales flood gates before putting the correct systems in place, your processes will fail. It is better to grow your business in a controlled manner than to grow too quickly. Growing your business too fast can put your business in a cash flow crunch, make lenders leery of investing in you, and ultimatley ruin your brand quicker than you ever thought possible.
” Surround yourself with other entrepreneurs who have gone through the growth process and have come out successful on the other side.”
Want my advice? Surround yourself with other entrepreneurs who have gone through the growth process and have come out successful on the other side. Join your Chamber of Commerce or nearest business association, business leader network or a mastermind group that can support you and hold you accountable to delivering on your own growth plan. Read books, listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos; don’t be afraid to springboard off other’s ideas and success.
Continue to move forward by pushing yourself as an entrepreneur and taking those calculated risks that are part of their everyday life. It may be scary, but it’ll be worth it!