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Grow Like You Mean It

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”

Benjamin Franklin

For most small business owners, the day-to-day job duties that you have can be so overwhelming that you may think that you don’t have time to ponder, much less execute, the future success of your business. But, as some have pointed out, “failing to plan is planning to fail.”

Now that 2018 is here, it’s the perfect time to begin thinking about what kind of goals you want to achieve and a strategy to achieve them by the year’s end. Here are some suggestions to help you and your small business achieve growth in the new year.

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First, begin to leverage your customer base to understand how your business can improve. Your current customers are often the best tools you have to utilize as a growing business. Talk to them. Ask questions on how you can do better or offer a better product.

Secondly, it’s important to have a clear understanding what type of objectives are realistic so that you can start taking bite-sized steps to get there. If you make too much of a stretch goal, you may end up either using too many resources to achieve an unattainable target or get discouraged when you don’t meet it.

Lastly, it’s beneficial to think about what kind of resources are available to help you achieve your goals. Utilizing the support from other professionals in your community is paramount to the success of your growth strategy. At first, it may seem like a challenge, but using all available systems of support will increase the chances of obtaining your definition of success.

Embracing the Failure

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

-Winston Churchill

You’ve filed all the paperwork, you’ve rented your shop, bought your materials, and now you’ve realized that you really don’t know what you’re doing. The truth is, so many successful people admit to a feeling of inadequacy or failure from time to time. Imposter syndrome can be a tough mental challenge to break through when just starting your own business.

From an evolutionary standpoint, those butterflies you’re feeling are evidence of a natural response to stressful stimuli. The good news is that these feelings can be harnessed and used in a productive way.

Science agrees: it’s not that business owners are naturally able to quell these bouts of real stress and fear. However, they’ve learned to let those feelings feed their ambitions. They’ve learned to operate and perform their best under stressful conditions.

Simply put, “success comes from failure.” Entrepreneurs are better able to handle these stressors because they’ve become practiced at it.

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“Only those that dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

-Robert F. Kennedy

The more you become accustomed to managing these fight or flight triggers, the better you will become at allowing the fear to do what it is naturally supposed to- increase your awareness so that you will land on your feet. Look at this seemingly negative thing as a positive experience. In other words, “reframe the fear.”

Learning how to manage your time as a business owner and setting a schedule is imperative to actively maintaining key tasks and initiatives. Delegating the work that isn’t what you do best is arguably one of the most important skills that an entrepreneur can master early in the game. This will increase your confidence and free your mental energy for more important tasks.