When starting a business the only thing you can think of is….$$$. How will you pay bills? Hire employees? Feed your dog?
Fast forward and you are now a relatively stable company (I mean are small businesses ever really stable?) and you are struggling with clients, you’re exhausted all the time, management of employees is clearly not your strong suit…and you’re wondering how this phase of your business could possibly be harder then when you were broke?
I’ll tell you why. As your business grows, your mindset needs to change. How you run your business needs to evolve and that means some serious non-negotiables.
- Stop competing on price. At some point you have to stop taking on every Joe Blow that walks through your door with a wad of cash (ok…it depends on how much cash is in the wad). Ask yourself what makes a good client and who can you helo? Break it out by industry, services you want to provide and what your price model is. Concentrate on making your company stand-out through exemplary results, great client relationships and a phenomenal culture.
- You cannot please everyone. This goes back to the price piece, if someone doesn’t see your value, then don’t work with them. No business should have to spend time constantly convincing a client they are worth the cost of the service. Although, if this is the majority of your clients, then you need to spend sometime thinking on why that is. If you see your value, so will your clients.
- You are not a friend. Running a business, means hiring the right people. Employees are not your friends, sure you can go out and have a drink or chat about personal lives (to a certain extent), but you are their boss. Do not cross that boundary, it will only spell trouble for your entire business.
- Spend time on the business. So often we are working in the business, we don’t step back to and strategize ON the business. Pick up the book Traction, once you read it, have your leadership team read it, then tell me what you think.
- Stop with all the late nights. Regardless of what you think, you cannot work all the time. Stop pretending like you can or you do, because we all know you sleep. You’ve heard of the “busy disease;” I like to call it the small business owner competition…and the funny thing is we think we are competing against each other but really it is all in our head. I am always comparing myself to other owners and how they run their business, which leads to me inevitably finding something wrong with myself…just stop! Do what is right for you and the business.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the business habits you had to break to take your company to the next level. The growth stage is one of the hardest to guide your business through.