Ask any entrepreneur if they want to grow, and with few exceptions, the answer will be YES! Ask them why they want to grow, and likely you will hear crickets. The why is critical, without it, you will fold when challenges arise. If you know the why, and you are passionate about it, you will figure out the how.
Many of you have read Simon Sinek’s Start With Why, or heard his TED talk on the subject. If you haven’t, stop reading anddo it now. Being crystal clear on your why is crucial if you want your business to grow. Without it, you are not being intentional, you are being opportunistic and reactive, which rarely are sustainable or predictable.
When an entrepreneur starts a business, there is no question about the why of growth. You simply want to prove your idea works and that you can make it happen. In this stage, most businesses do not discriminate in the type of revenue they will take. I mean a dollar’s a dollar when you have to make payroll. We call this stage “Start-Up”, but it can last a lot longer than a couple of years. In fact, there are many businesses that have been in business for more than 10 years that are still in that “Start-Up” growth stage.
To grow your business to the next level, “Grow-Up”, there are a plethora of things that have to be done. First of all, the entrepreneur’s mindset. What worked to grow your business initially, will not grow you further. In fact, oftentimes those same things that made you initially successful will now be counterproductive.
Growing through this barrier is tough. Mentally, it’s like you’re starting the business all over again. Many business owners look up that next hill, and say, “You know what? I’m good right here.” And there is nothing wrong with that! If you are profitable, and your business gives you the lifestyle you want, fine. But what about that Why?
Often, an entrepreneur’s why won’t let them stop. It is like I told my wife, did Mozart stop composing, did Rembrandt quit painting? No! It was their passion, it was literally life to them. For those entrepreneurs that want to move into the “Grow-Up” stage or still further into the “Scale-Up” stage, you are going to need fortitude. You will have to be vulnerable to understand how you must change, and stubborn enough to do it. In this way, I think growing past “Start-Up” is MORE challenging than initially starting a business.
My why is simple. It is to make entrepreneurs’ lives better by helping them with financial matters. My why is deeply rooted in my childhood experiences, and it took me until I was 45 to REALLY understand my motivations. Hopefully, it won’t take you that long! But you have to start with the question, Why? Once that is clear, you will figure out the how!