When Growing Your Small Business Is Like A Resurrection
Like a lot of small business owners, *Sharon has been scraping by over the past year or so. Sales are slow so there is less revenue. On the positive side, Sharon has been able to cut costs without harming how she serves her customers. Plus, there are some opportunities that look good over the next few months. The downside is that she has to be more involved in the tasks she used to delegate. It’s going to be rough until she can spark a resurrection of her small business.
Test of leadership and your CEO Mindset
When things are going well, it’s much easier to do those things that leadership experts tell you to do. You can listen, keep your emotions on an even keel and take time to plan and consider tactics and strategy. That’s not to say you can’t do it now but it takes far less energy in good times. One story I hear from small business owners here in the US and Ireland is that it’s the day-in, day-out of finding ways to maintain the business with dwindling resources. They are questioning if their businesses will last until their pipelines produce revenue and if the revenue will be large enough. These are resilient people but the length of these challenges is affecting their optimism and motivation. It’s hard to balance the long-term view with short term needs.
Growing your business is more nuanced than at first glance
Many times we think of growing your business as coming from a place of strength and plenty. This is true but not necessarily the whole picture. When your business performs feebly and you set up a business development plan, this sets the stage for a growth phase. After all, you only have two options — resurrection or close the doors.
5 Ways to a resurrection
1. Check your mindset. It has to start with you. One of the hallmark parts of using your CEO Mindset is acknowledging your emotions. Sure, you might feel angry, scared, worried, frustrated, de-motivated or uncertain. These are normal responses and avoiding them doesn’t make them go away. They exist, recognize them and know you choose your next action.
2. Controlled expression of emotions. In 2008, I wrote a post about using freak out moments. One of my clients was so aggravated with how her business was performing, she wished she could have a temper tantrum. She was half-kidding and we were in a private place so I encouraged her to do it. She didn’t even last 5 minutes. Write, draw or act like a two year old so you don’t inadvertently take it out on your staff or other people. Note – Since you are the leader of your organization, do this with no staff present and you cannot be observed.
3. Decide how much urgency you want to place on growing your small business. There is a difference between emergency and urgency. Emergency is panic and interferes with your decision-making. Urgency is just enough pressure to communicate importance and desire. Does your small business matter enough to you to make it work again?
4. Make a plan. Once you assign urgency to creating growth, it’s time to decide on strategies, tactics and goals. Start with what is currently in place (do a quick SWOT analysis if you’re not sure) to know what is possible. Identify your target customers, why they should buy from you and how your business is specially suited for them. Tactics are how you want to reach these particular customers and the goals are the specific actions that execute the tactics. Focus the time frame to no more than 90 days with scheduled reviews and include accountability partners with every goal so things stay on track.
5. Begin immediately. When you’ve recharged your motivation (and, if applicable, the motivation of your staff), take action. Make a phone call, write an email or whatever you are acccountable for. Focus on your behavior and choosing action.
Resurrection your small business takes commitment and time
Small things like a five minute deep breathing exercise at the beginning of your work day, making one phone call at at time to trusted people in your network and keeping a to-do list from the plan will add up. Use your CEO Mindset to lead the resurrection of your business. You can hold your head high when you give it your best shot.
What tips or ways would you add to resurrecting your small business?
How can small business owners manage expectations as they lead this type of growth phase?
*Name and other details have been changed to maintain confidentiality
About the author: I’m Elli St.George Godfrey, a small business coach and trainer who guides established small business owners in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the US to be comfortable in their own skin. I have a deep appreciation for learning and understanding my client’s business style and culture. Whether you are re-focusing your small business or expanding in your own backyard or into another country, my 3 keys coaching process helps clients move from being excited about growing to having the tools to make it actually happen. Curious? Schedule your complimentary coaching session here.
iStockphoto by mycola