Lots of things make people decide to become entrepreneurs. Sometimes it’s a dream, other times it’s a job loss. For many people, it’s about wanting a different kind of lifestyle.
Making the leap into entrepreneurship creates a whole new set of challenges. One of the most pressing challenges is entrepreneurial growth.
Even if you aren’t looking for constant growth in your business, periodic growth must happen. Growth offers new revenue streams, expanded internal resources, and the option to stop pouring every waking minute into your business.
So what can you do to drive this entrepreneurial growth? Let’s take a closer look.
Entrepreneurial Growth Means Saying No, Sometimes
When you’re first starting out, it’s often necessary to take any work that comes your way. Maybe you need the money. Maybe you’re just trying to build a reputation.
There is nothing wrong with taking work for those reasons. Most entrepreneurs do it at some point.
The danger is that you’ll keep accepting all comers long after the necessity disappears. Learning to say no is a crucial skill when you get to the point that you don’t need every client.
Saying no does two important things for you. It helps you avoid committing to too much work, which taxes your entire business. It also gives you the chance to seek out and accept those opportunities that will propel your business to the next level.
Consistency drives long-term success.
As an entrepreneur, you need to show up every day and do the hard work. In short, you need to be self-disciplined.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have an off day.
What consistency does do is provide you a buffer against distraction and missed deadlines. Customers won’t always compliment you on being consistent and hitting deadlines, but they will absolutely notice. They will also tell others.
A reputation for consistency will help drive growth because so many of your competitors won’t be consistent.
Develop Good Delegation Skills
Ever have one of those bosses that couldn’t let go of anything, even after they supposedly delegated it? The boss who ultimately takes something back because they’re sure they can do it better?
Many entrepreneurs are this boss. They come by this behavior honestly, as most entrepreneurs start out doing everything themselves.
Entrepreneurial growth requires that you learn good delegation skills. Every level of business growth will magnify and complicate the tasks you need to manage. At some point, it will grow beyond your capabilities.
The trick is to start delegating before you reach that point. It won’t be easy, but you’ll avoid mistakes and headaches.
Outsourcing secondary processes, like payroll, and delegating lower priority tasks to employees does one, all-important thing. It frees you up for high priority work and bringing in the new business that drives growth.
It’s a social media world and potential customers expect to you to be there. They want status updates on Facebook, podcasts on Soundcloud and videos on YouTube. If you aren’t engaging on at least one or two social media platforms, you’re probably losing business.
Engaging with potential and existing customers isn’t about short-term revenue boosts. It’s about creating a window people can look through to learn about you or your business. Engagement also lets you cement long-term trust.
Social media provides the ideal environment to tell your brand story. This goes a long way toward generating entrepreneurial growth. People like and remember stories. They repeat stories to their friends.
Creating trust is a little trickier, but also achievable with engagement. You need to demonstrate in some way that the product or service connects with your brand values.
Blendtec founder Tom Dickson demonstrates the quality of his product on YouTube by blending everything from iPhones to leaf rakes.
Find your version of blender plus random objects and you can build trust, too.
Stop Stressing About Perfection
It’s easy to fall into the perfectionism trap as an entrepreneur. You want your business, product or idea to do well.
The problem is that perfection is just an aspiration. No venture or product will ever be perfect because the world is constantly changing. Technologies, business models, and best practices evolve constantly.
Chasing perfection in the middle of that is setting yourself up for both disappointment and never getting started.
Instead of stumbling after unattainable perfection, aspire toward functional and good. Functional products and good ideas can be reworked over time while still letting you be in business. After all, you can’t grow what isn’t even available.
Entrepreneur, Schedule Thyself
“Wait,” you say. “Didn’t I become an entrepreneur to escape the 8-5 grind?”
You probably did, but that doesn’t mean you should adopt a random schedule. Remember when we talked about consistency earlier? Developing a schedule is part of that.
Now, this doesn’t mean keeping a schedule you hate, but some sanity must apply. Most other businesses are still operating on normal business hours. So, bare minimum, you must be available during some of the regular business hours.
Keeping a schedule makes it easier to drop into the working mindset, which will contribute to business growth all by itself. Scheduling also helps to keep you organized. The fewer calls and meetings you miss, not to mention the more deadlines you hit, the more opportunities you’ll hear about.
Take Days Off
Human beings need rest. No one can work 7 days a week, 8-12 hours a day indefinitely. You’ll start making mistakes and get burned out.
Taking time off lets you catch up on some rest, which will improve performance and creativity. It also takes you out of the business environment, where you’ll get exposed to different ideas and people. These are the fodder from which great new ideas will emerge.
As the captain of your business ship, new ideas and good performance are critical to growth.
Plus, time off may save your relationships.
Entrepreneurial growth isn’t the result of any one thing, but rather the combination of several factors.
Luck plays a role, but so does your own behavior. By setting yourself up to have time, resources and the mental bandwidth in place, you’ll be able to capitalize on opportunities to drive growth.
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