I want you to take a minute to think back to when you got your business started—it could have a month ago or a year ago. You put so much of yourself into it, right? Labored over making the product “just right.” Stayed up too late writing a blog post or answering emails. Obsessed over your logo to make sure the design was perfect. You scrapped, worked your butt off, and here you are.
Hopefully, you’re seeing a steady stream of happy customers and a growing bank account. Now you’ve started feeling that little itch to see if you could take it a step further. Grow your business into something bigger, more sustainable, and focused on long-term building. Quit your day job, even. Support yourself without freaking out about where your mortgage payment is coming from each month. Now, these thoughts can turn one of two ways: they can either be a major catalyst, or overwhelm you to the point of inaction.
Let’s shoot for the former, shall we?
The most common fear I hear about growing a business is that you’re scared that you’ll lose your identity, sell out, and become the “corporate-type” entity that’s more focused on making dollars than creating a quality brand.
Now I’m going to tell you why that will never, ever happen. Because your product, your mission, and your brand all start with you. You get to choose what kind of leader you’re going to be so step into it and go.
The #1 rule of good leadership (and coincidentally, the best place to start planning your growth) is: know thyself.
Know where you excel and what areas of your business you LOVE to work. Know where you have opportunities to do better, and more importantly, where you want to grow. I, for one, know that I will never really be a technological wizard. Nor do I care to be. Just thinking about code makes me spontaneously convulse a little. So, I hire the best web peeps & love working with them. Conversely, getting the best results for my clients is of primo importance to me, so I choose to continually improve my coaching skills through classes and books. When you look at these two examples, you can also see an important differentiation:
- Web design is an essential process for my business. Good, functional design allows my proverbial office door to be open 24/7. But it’s something that someone else can do way better, quicker, and more efficiently than me.
- Coaching, on the other hand, is not something anyone else can do. My brand is really all about my relationships with my readers and clients, and I owe it to them to continue evolving, honing my craft, and getting better at what I do.
See the difference?
As you’re planning your growth strategy, I encourage you to take an inventory of your own skills, desires, and priorities for your business. Know who you are. Hire what you are not. Look for people whose skills are complementary, but who also challenge you to become a better leader.
Better leaders make for flourishing businesses!
Megan Gallagher is a small-business strategist working with creative indiepreneurs at Method & Madness. She talks business development, creative vision, and indie lifestyle through one-on-one strategy sessions, e-guides, and the Method & Madness blog.
Main image courtesy of Vvillamon