The world around us is constantly changing… evolving. Your business must do the same to keep up! It is essential to its success. And yet, we seem to think that this will happen on its own. That magically one day you will have an epiphany and know the next step in your business development.
Growth is a slow and time-consuming process.
As your business grows it is easy to get a little nervous. We intrinsically fear change. Your business is your baby and much like a parent to a child, each phase of growth brings new moments to be joyously proud of… but it also brings new fears, new dangers, and new questions.
Am I ready for this new phase?
Will my audience be receptive to my new product or service?
Is this really the right next step?
Is it okay if the mission of my business changes?
I know I need to change 'xyz'... but when?
These are totally normal questions and a critical part of your business growth. And here's the best part... You're not alone!
Most business owners have been in your shoes at one point or another. I was there a couple of months ago and it was seriously awesome. But, I made some decisions along the way that I learned valuable lessons from. Decisions that would forever change my business, its structure, and the path I was on.
Of course the growing process is a little stressful. It may keep you up some nights. It may wander into your thoughts in the middle of th day. To cope with this stress, I've found a few questions that help me make sure that the changes I make are in alignment with my "big picture plan."
If you're dealing with growing pains in your business, these questions might help you too.
Here are the top 5 questions to ask yourself when growing your business.
IF I DON'T MAKE THIS CHANGE WILL IT PREVENT MY BUSINESS FROM GROWING?
As I said before, change is scary… but so is becoming stagnant. As a small business owner, prioritizing what you do and do not move forward with is key.
The next time you're about to make a monetary investment, a time investment, and education investment... ask yourself if your business will be able to grow without it.
If not taking action or making an investment will prevent growth, the answer is clear. You must do it OR take steps towards being able to do XYZ. Notice that last part. Sometimes actions/investments are huge and could potentially cause a lot of stress on your business or life especially if something requires $$.
Do as much as you can, with what you already have. Do not be afraid to ask for help. But also do not nickel and dime yourself to death... which brings me to the next question.
DOES THIS CHANGE MAKE RUNNING MY BUSINESS EASIER?
When I think of this question, creating systems and automations come to mind. It is a matter of time investment vs monetary investment.
Does $10, $20, $50 a month in a new program to automate your business free up your time to be able to make $100 more a month?
Does hiring a contract company to outsource parts of running your business free up time to invest in actually running your business?
Does a shift in your business product line or services allow you to narrow your focus and amplify your impact?
Does moving your client work to only 3 days a week increase your overall productivity?
These are all correlating questions that help you decide whether or not a small time/money investment, or business shift, makes your day-to-day easier.
OR is this thing (whatever you're considering) adding more to your plate?
DO I KNOW 5 PEOPLE THAT WOULD LOVE AND BENEFIT FROM MY NEW PRODUCT OR SERVICE?
If you are thinking about doing something, anything in your business, consider your audience. Consider your customers. Consider your clients. Consider your peers. Consider the people you want to get money from in exchange for the product or service you are selling. If you want to create a big new offer then you better know 5 people who would definitely buy it.
It comes down to this: Are you solving a problem or are you presenting a solution?
Know the difference.
DOES THIS CHANGE (ULTIMATELY) ALLOW ME TO LIVE A LIFE I LOVE?
I built my business around the concept of making a life I love out of what I love to do. You created your business to support yourself. You must work to live, not live to work. You were not created simply to your business. Big decisions or small decisions should grow your business while also allowing your life to flourish.
What this balance looks like for you could be different from what it looks like to me. If you're not sure where to start - consider joining my Facebook Group “Business Health”. And remember that work/life balance should encompass simplicity, alignment, growth, release, and putting yourself first. Keeping your personal life in mind and as a priority will help you avoid the dreaded burnout that is so common among business owners. Remind yourself to nurture all aspects of your life.
IS THIS CHANGE IN ALIGNMENT WITH MY BUSINESS’ MISSION OR ‘BIG PICTURE’?
Sometimes we have to change the business to stay relevant and grow with the demands of society. I started out as a graphic designer at a printing company. My entire job revolved around making logos and developing stationary for small businesses. With time, I became aware of changes to the industry and realized I was going to have to change my focus to stay afloat… sink or swim!
Sometimes, we have to adjust our business offerings to remain in business. Other times, making product or service changes will lose the focus of the business making your brand voice unrecognizable. Consider your 5 & 10 year goals when thinking about changing your business model and what the future may hold for your industry.
I know too well the anxiety associated with trying to grow your business and questioning if you are doing the right thing. I hope these questions help make the stress and anxiety manageable - or even non-existant! Bottom line, you know your business, your goals, and your audience. Only you can detemine if the changes you are considering will help your business grow. Trust yourself!