Written by: Barb Stuhlemmer
Last year when Canadian Business Magazine interviewed me, I was asked about the challenge why small business growth stalls. What do small businesses do when they find themselves plateauing or stalled? We talked about things you can do to help start the growth again but why not avoid the issue altogether?
If the law of attraction is correct, and I believe it is, then what you focus on is attracted to you. If you focus on the issues of running a small business, the challenges of managing more than you have now, the problems of growing when you don’t have any more time or money to do so, what you are attracting to you is more of the same. This small mindset focus begets more small business problems that keep owners from taking the really big steps necessary to grow significantly.
If you want to start seeing a significant positive change in your bottom line you need to make a significant change in how you perceive your business. You have to see it as large. And how do you do that?
Understand your “Tens Times Business”
To ensure you don’t stall on your way to a larger income you need to be prepared to do what needs to get done when you get to what would be a typical level to stall. This has more to do with your psychology then money or time which tend to be the excuse for most of us (me included). When we know what the next step is the cost becomes negligible.
An example is when I decided a few years back that I wanted to host several small evening events in Toronto to help introduce my skill and process to more business owners. I knew Toronto was expensive to rent locations and the places I saw myself in were going to cost me hundreds of dollars. When I did the calculations I felt the price I would have to charge was going to be too prohibitive. If I had not had the insight to understand what my next step needed to be I might have stopped there.
Because I knew what my business structure and needs were going to be in the future I was ready for what I had to do now. I knew I wanted to engage a location sponsor for these small events in the future, so why not now? A sponsor that was aligned with my clients’ needs. When I was at an event and in the company of the Business development director for an international business centre corporation all I had to do was ask. I knew what I needed and why, so the ‘ask’ became easy and very interesting to them. They said yes, I had had my locations, all over Toronto, free to me.
If you want to know what your business structure and needs are going to be in the future you need to do the work of the ‘Ten Times Business’. This is looking at your business as if it were ten times larger than it is now. Ten times more clients, more income, more expenses, more employees, more markets… choose a factor and evaluate what you would need to do to be able to handle that larger business. Ask yourself, “What would I have to do if I had X clients?” X is the number of clients you have right now times ten. If you really think about this what you get is the insight into what things you will need in the future, just to grow a little beyond your current ceiling.
Act ‘As If”
This is not the same as “fake it ‘til you make it”, but similar. It is not about faking, it is about changing the way you see yourself and your business. Tell yourself, “this is what it will be like” and it will be believable by both your unconscious, which believes everything is real and your conscious. If, to be more successful, you need to have expert status and you have taken all the courses and got all the accreditation then the next step is to be the expert. If you want to be accepted as an expert, then you first have to believe you are an expert. This is true for any aspect of life. If you want to be accepted as a wealthy business owner then you have to believe you are a wealthy business owner.
There is no faking what you are, so start acting as if you are what you strive to be and you will become it.
Up Your Reference Group Level
If you want to see yourself as an owner of a bigger business start spending time with people that see you as you want to be. Find people that will hold you accountable, stop you from spending too much time in ‘pity mode’, see your best and strongest traits, understand your challenges, and won’t belittle you when you run into a block but instead help you see the way around or through it. You want people that are doing what you want to do and have knowledge and expertise to share with you.
If you are always the smartest person in the group, you have no way of learning and growing. Make sure your group is climbing the ladder of expertise with you. If they are not and they are simply content to be where they are, then you will need to find some more people to help fill this void in your ‘growth’ reference group. Find people that challenge your status quo and make you take uncomfortable action to get you out of where you are and on to where you want to be.
Remember, owning a larger business is not the same as owning the business you have right now, it has new challenges that require new thinking so stop thinking small.
Barb is teh founder of The CEO Elite and a Master Business Strategist who works to strengthen the courage of 6-figure business owners to take extraordinary action and reach the million or multi-million dollar income.