I remember as a child I was continuously heading to the department stores with mum. We’d be buying jeans, shorts, skirts, dresses tops, jumpers, jackets and shoes..always shoes. Why? As a kid my growth spurts came around so rapidly that we never gave it a second thought. Each season I’d go up a size, even skip a size, and I would naturally slip into my new wardrobe. There were always some keepsakes that I’d have loved to keep wearing but alas they purely did not fit so into the Vinnies bin they’d go. The prized pyjamas, dresses and sandals soon became a faded memory.
Fast forward to today. My body size, with the exception of pregnancy and early motherhood, really hasn’t changed. If I wanted to I could keep the same clothes for as long as I want (and yes I do have a sneaky 25 year old fleece and hiking boots that are staples). I’m not a natural shopper and so I have to push myself to update my wardrobe and even have to consult stylists to help me get today’s fashion. Why the change? As a kid growth was the norm, but as adults we flip. We enjoy the safety and security of the known. It’s comfortable.
Now…put this into the perspective of the small business owner.
To launch a small business is a huge undertaking and business owners approach the challenge with childlike enthusiasm. The learning curve is steep. Names, logos, stationery, websites, computers, telephones, finance, IT and operating systems, marketing, business registrations, insurances, tax, marketing, sales..the list goes on.
Small business owners plunge into the craziness of business start-up and they are spurred on by the excitement of growing something they own.
Small business owners, in their early years, vigorously chase new customers and will go above and beyond to win them over. They upgrade systems, invest in equipment, expand into new facilities and take on their first staff members.
However, at some point in their journey business owners can become comfortable or worse, they become downright conservative. Now, don’t get me wrong, having run my own small business for seven years I am fully aware of the top of the mountain highs you can experience. I too have wallowed in the lows when you believe the only option available is to shut up shop!
Many business owners ride the highs and lows but many, at some point, just settle. They plateau. They settle on the number of clients they have, they settle on the systems they have in place, they stick with the handful of staff and their premises become old and tired. One of my managers (and now Shark Tank judge) – Andrew Banks used to say (and I’m sure he got this from someone else) “If you’re green you’re growing and if you’re ripe you’re rotting”. The same applies in business.
Many small business owners who lose their vigour will find their business suffers too. Clients fall off, staff leave and, because they have lost their mojo, business owners find themselves contracting to unviable levels. As a business owner you need to be “on”. You need to keep the enthusiasm and optimism going. Your business and your family depend on it.
The secret is having a growth mindset. Here are three strategies you can implement today.
- Give your business a makeover
Start with a big clean! Clutter can quickly mount up and mess causes stress. Take a weekend and have a working bee. Go through the the clutter and quickly decide what stays and what goes. The thing that stay should be allocated a location, immediately and you can choose to sell, donate or bin what you don’t want. Once tidy and organised, look at your premises. The walls, the lighting, furniture. Do you need more storage options? Is everything being used efficiently? If not make improvements and remove what isn’t being used. Paint the walls, clean your facade, clean or replace the flooring. You and your staff will feel a million dollars.
Another key aspect is your logo. Is your logo reflecting the image you want to portray? If not get on to a Graphic Designer to design a modern creative logo and then roll it out on signage, stationary, marketing collateral and your website.
- Improve the internals
Already you’re looking better and there’s a buzz in the air. New found enthusiasm is coming from the team. Now, it’s time to look at your systems. Be it your marketing, financial, IT&T, estimating, booking, CRM, MRP, warehouse management, job tracking or project management software it’s time to scrutinise how well it’s working for your business. Technology continues to advance and you may find you’re being inefficient purely because you’re relying on antiquated systems to do the job.
Talk to your staff, find out which system they are most challenged by, and start there. Sometimes alleviating system frustrations can improve morale, not to mention productivity, significantly.
Another key internal factor is your business plan. Whether it’s been six months, six years or more since you looked at your business plan, get it out; review it and make the changes to take your business forward. Work with your key team members or enlist a Business Advisor as an objective, qualified party who can assist you.
With clear goals you have your roadmap for success.
- Surround yourself with enthusiastic go-getters
Finally make sure you have your A team in your business. Those staff members who have been limping along, bring them into line. Set clear performance requirements and follow these through. If they are not making the grade counsel them out of the business and grow with a new invigorated team. Great businesses are borne out of great teams. If you have just been getting by with resources. Bring on another. Fresh faces and attitudes will lift spirits and let you grow to the next stage. Do a similar health check on clients, suppliers and key networks. Ensure you have those that want the absolute best for you and they will rally for your success.
By enlisting these strategies you will reignite your passion..and as natural as it was as a child..growth will be inevitable.
Post written by Maree Herath, Director of Harvest Recruitment and Author of “Bodysnatchers – Unlocking The Secrets of The Recruitment Industry”