In our conversations this past couple of weeks, all of you are working through one common theme in your businesses: growth.
The concept of growth is something you’ll always be grappling with as an entrepreneur, stressing over it in times where you’re experiencing it as well as when you’re not. Growth has that effect on businesses…the double-edged sword effect if you will. It’s not like profit, where you are never worried about having too much of it. Growth is worrisome whether in abundance or in scarcity.
For those of you who are in the early stages of your business, you are anxious for growth in one breath and worried about having it come your way in the next. Does this sound familiar?
You want more customers. More customers mean more profit, and more profit means more freedom and altruism. But more customers means more work, and more work means a bigger team, and hiring people is one of the scariest things you’ll ever do as an entrepreneur (more on that another time, however). So, while you definitely want to make more money, you’d probably prefer to do it at the size you are right now…manageable, lean, and consisting of low overhead.
For those of you who are not newbies, you want growth to keep the profits rolling in. Does this sound familiar?
Sustained growth means consistently adding more profit to your bottom line than you lose each year. You have worked and worked at trying to identify your perfect, profitable customer. You know what that customer looks like, what they love, what they identify with, and why they need you. Over time, you will experience seasons of loss, where you lose clients for various reasons (hopefully not because you didn’t perform as you promised, however) and your growth seems stymied. It’s scary, isn’t it? In order not to suffer in those seasons of loss, you then look for opportunities to grow your business, but you must also make sure that you don’t grow just for the sake of growing. You will take on the wrong customers, waste time working with them that you could spend with the right customers, and end up losing in the end. Sustaining growth is just as difficult as starting to grow in the first place.
Growth is not easy, whether you are sowing seeds in the beginning stages of your business, or making attempts to continue a healthy growth over time. Beginning to grow is exciting, and we all experience a high from it. But uncontrolled growth is dangerous, folks, so always make sure you have an eye on it at all times.
I look forward to discussing this further with you as we meet in the coming weeks.
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