Business Owner thinking about next levelMaybe you’re a little bored, a little itchy or exasperated with your busines lately. You often hear small business owners talk about going to the next level. What does this mean exactly? And what will happen if you do grow in size, sophistication or both?

If you had a crystal ball, what would your business look like in 1 year?

Part of what makes us ready for the next stage is having a vision. This vision does feed into our business’ basic mission. That doesn’t change. Remember your Hedgehog Concept? As you think about the new kind of customer you want to attract or the new line of services or products you’re designing, daydream what you would be doing differently.

As you fill in the details of your daydream, this becomes the outline of your strategic plan for the coming year. Put it writing. Make it real for yourself. This is where you might notice some internal thoughts, beliefs or feelings growing in intensity.

What could get in the way of going to the next stage of your business? Your assumptions.

It’s that combination of being so excited about doing something you aspire to and feeling nervous about making it actually happen. What are your assumptions? For some people, it is about being expected to be extraordinary, give up more time out of an already demanding schedule or becoming someone you are not. For others, they assume everything will be okay and the changes will be minimal. It’s more likely somewhere in the middle.

Challenge your assumptions

  • What do you really want?
  • Which skills do you need to augment?
  • What is so important about taking your business to its next stage?
  • What would happen if your business stayed the same as it is now?

And an equally important question…

In a recent interview on, Scott Eblin asked a crucial question for this process, “What is it that only I can do?” This question is essential for small business owners as they are often an integral part of the work of the business. When you increase the size, change business structure or work with a more preferred client, this makes different demands on the business owner. You can’t be as casual as in the startup days. More administrative tasks will take up your attention and time. You may find you need to conract certain jobs that you used to do or even hire people to do those jobs. Typically systems need to be formalized across the organization. For example, just this week I was talking with a client about his options for managing business development projects. Right now they are in his head but he’s finding that he needs to delegate some of the project management tasks to others in his organization.

What do you need to do to be ready for the next stage of your business?

*For more information like this live, check out my complementary teleclass, “How To Use the CEO Mindset For Small Business Success” Tuesday February 22, 7 pm ET