Every business owner and manager asks themselves some version of this question on a regular basis – or they should. The first step may be to open your browser in incognito mode so that no one will know that you’ve asked Google how to grow your business. I won’t tell anyone. 🙂 If and online search doesn’t bear the fruit you’re looking for, you find a workshop, a book, a seminar, a mastermind…the list goes on and on.
The Answer Starts From Within
These are all great ways to keep your mind fresh and open to new ideas. I actually highly recommend Business Mastery or something similar that’s specific to your industry. However, when was the last time you looked within for the answers instead of the outside? What Tony Robbins will tell you, and many other business leaders are beginning to realize, is that a thriving business begins within a thriving leader. A thriving leader explores themselves deeply to expose their true fears – not to squash or hide them, but to determine where they’re coming from and how to overcome them. This is the only way to become aware of your perceived limitations and break through them.
Knowing your fears is one place to start. Knowing your dreams is another. I’m guessing that lying awake at night worrying about your employees, vendors, and finances was not what you dreamed of when you set off on this adventure. Think back to when you started this business or leadership position. What were you passionate about? What problems were you hoping to solve? Are you staying true to that mission in the core of everything you do? Does your team know what that mission is? Did your business turn into a product company, forgetting the true problem that your product solves? More importantly, is that something you and your team are passionate about? It’s okay to pivot, to change, to have new grand dreams – Just have them, know them, and communicate them.
Establish Your Definition For Thriving – What does a thriving business look like?
If you walk down the street in a small town, you may see a small bakery, a family restaurant, or a trinket shop. For these businesses a thriving business may mean the respect of the community and ability to have enough cash flow to support their family and contribute to the chamber of commerce or school programs. If you walk down the street of a city, you may see a large name on a building and to them thriving means doubling revenue every year, crushing the competition, or purchasing the industry startups. Whether it’s stated or not, there is an underlying idea of a direction for success in a business. However, if it’s not clear, you’ll never know if you have it, your team may be pushing and pulling in different directions – and so might you be.
Know That You Always Have More To Do, Further To Go
It’s a beauty and curse of the human condition. Everything in nature is either in the process of growing or dying. It sounds terrible, but it’s really a beautiful thing, especially if you look to plants as an example of what is possible in that process. In a year’s time, a field of wild flowers will spring up, come to full bloom, provide sustenance for insects (happiness and joy for flower lovers), wilt, and completely disappear. Every year this happens and depending on how much rain they had the year before, they either come back in great abundance, or a weak showing. Have you ever seen the California Dessert after a rainy season? It’s quite inspiring. Our bodies do this on a regular basis as well. We are constantly working on building up new cells and sluffing off old cells – at the rate of millions per second!
It’s helpful to know that these cycles are present in every aspect of life. When we remind ourselves of this, it may be easier to push through the tough times, keep working, and know that you’ll be in full bloom again soon. Just know that all living things require rest and care to thrive.
Success is not the goal. Success is the process.
Don’t Stop Learning & Exploring
It’s the digital age and 7 year old kids know more about the machines we use to run our businesses than we do – we are now the old people who don’t know how to program the VCR – Look it up
Even if you’re great with technology, there’s enough change in our world that there is always something to learn. I highly recommend having a weekly share within your work group or across disciplines to keep everyone up to date and pulling themselves forward. However, that’s not the learning and exploring I’m recommending today. As much as there is more to learn about technology, business, taxes – yay! – there is just as much to learn about yourself. Neglecting yourself is almost worse than neglecting your business and just because you went to that Get Motivated seminar a few years ago doesn’t mean you’re set for life. Fears change, motivations change, and as you unlock new opportunities, your goals will also change.
Get Your Team On Board
In order for any team to thrive, they need to work together toward the same goals. Obvious, right? However, this is not just about your quarterly revenue goals. This is your greater purpose.
The purpose of your business is the keystone. Without it, the building will crumble. It’s a bold statement but it’s true. Don’t get me wrong, businesses can sustain in an unstable state for years and years but is that really what you’re after? On the flip side, if every decision in your business is measured against it’s guiding principals and purpose then the foundation will be strong enough to weather the greatest storms.
Define your purpose, establish your guiding principals, share them with your team, vendors, and customers. If you live true to this, loyalty will be strong and your business will thrive.