Grow Big or Stay Home? Not necessarily.

Monday Morning Marketer

Do you live in ‘bigger is better and so is faster’ mindset? Many type A entrepreneurs do. Not that they always like it, but they just can’t seem to help themselves. The need to be “the best” or “the only” is a dominant entrepreneurial trait, and one that compels us to move forward at a rate that can make a business really thrive quickly. But it can also be unrealistic and cause burn out or disappointment.

Why? Growth requires a plan to sustain that level of growth or continue growth. Can you really see yourself climbing a mountain so fast that when you reach the peak you still have clarity of thought and energy to climb another mountain right away? Not likely. But you might think you do… because you have adrenaline! That good ol’ Rocky Mountain high! But adrenaline is false reality and not one from which you can build a sustainable plan.

You need time to come down from that mountain top once in awhile. If your rise to success is rapid you may find that you are teetering and close to falling flat on your face while trying to juggle great customer service, product delivery, processes, or all your business entails.

If you have taken this rocket-ship ride to success and are still scaling mountains at Olympian rates, then congratulations! I’d guess you did some fantastic things right before you set out or before you toppled. A great business plan that models resources required at each success plateau is a roadmap to ongoing success. Having a strategy that allows for managing your business beyond yourself (staff, outsourcing, process-aiding technology, etc) is part of what can make you more than a business ‘one hit wonder’.

If you have set ‘go big or go home’ goals, then I recommend one of two things. If you are a parent starting a business or you are starting a business while managing other priorities, embrace the idea that slow growth is steady growth and gives you more flexibility to succeed as you discover how your new business fits your life. You can build hype and momentum at a pace that matches your personal and business goals without setting yourself up for an ‘unmanagable’ business that is TOO successful too fast. By the way, some of the most long-lasting companies are those that started small and climbed the mountain at a slow, steady pace.

If ‘going big’ is the only way to go, ensure you are prepared for rapid-fire successes and have the cash resources, people resources, technology tools at the ready to help you manage. Learn how to make smart choices by having:

  • lean but effective business operations
  • staff or professional experts (virtual assistant, accountant, graphic design, marketing, lawyer, etc)
  • a coach who can keep you focused on what you WANT
  • smart marketing

Be prepared to change your mind. Being flexible to opportunity or recognizing what’s not working quickly is a valuable mindset. Watch the hype and momentum. If you are in it to make money, customers are your only focus.

I often find myself on opposite sides of the marketing coin to other business professionals in my recommendations to new entrepreneurs, especially if they are moms. This was affirmed this month several times when I heard other professionals recommending to clients of mine at professional events that they should consider ‘going bigger’ in their businesses (to the ching ching of $2000 for public relations help please and thank you). But this ‘help’ was in absence of the bigger picture for the business owners… the goals they set were set to fit their life, ensuring a sustainable business strategy. The rapid growth proposed, if achieved, would not be manageable. And while hiring professionals, and associated costs can be appropriate and recommended, not when it their is no cost-recovery model in place for that expense even if it works. How does this create a SUCCESSFUL business?

The only major issues to be mindful about slow growth is competitive play – the easier it is to copy your product or service, the faster a competitor can reproduce what you are doing or make inroads to your target audience in a different, and possibly better, way. But as Stephanie Pollock of Inspired Coaching says, you can’t operate from a mindset of scarcity. For most industries there are plenty of opportunities to earn money, grow clients and sell products. So watch competitors, but don’t set a pace in your business to keep them at bay unless you are ready to deeply commit to THAT as a strategy. (hint: it’s a strategy you can’t win forever)

So, do we have to grow big? Should we just stay home if we don’t? No, I don’t think so! The opportunity for new entrepreneurs is the same as the hazard… growing big quickly can make you a skyrocket success, but it also sets you up for the crash and burn. The answer on how quickly you grow your business lies in focusing on the goal, not growing as the biggest and fastest business just because you can!

What are your business goals for 2010? Rapid growth, slow growth? Do you have plans in place to manage whichever you choose? Would love to hear from you.

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