With the economic volatility in the U.S., entrepreneurs who constantly push preconceived limits fare better than those who push through with their nose to the grindstone.
One thing many entrepreneurs fail to consider when starting or building a business is whether or not they are ready to transform their mindset for business success. Owning and operating a successful business takes more than technical skills and resources and the dream of monetary reward.
Owning and operating a business requires a desire to grow, a new way of dealing with fear and the ability to think in a certain way; to think as a business owner would, to take risks, to selectively seek advice.
According to author Michael Gerber in his book, E-Myth Mastery, “Most small business owners spend their entire journey in the foothills without ever starting to climb. And what’s worse, they never realize what they have done. … You will discover that entrepreneurship is not a trait, quality, or characteristic possessed by a rare and special few. Entrepreneurship is the power to create.”
Today’s entrepreneur must have the ability to develop a new mindset and continue sustaining its growth to navigate the rapidly changing landscape.
Believe in Yourself
Growing a business is the process of growing oneself through self-expression, stretching out and beyond the belief systems that restrict available options. Successful entrepreneurs must face the most vulnerable parts of themselves and move beyond them.
“Grace” owns a small consignment shop. Each month for four years she has generated almost exactly the same sales volume. A woman in her Mastermind group suggested that she expand her business, since it was showing solid results.
Secretly, Grace lacked confidence in her abilities to handle a larger business. Grace’s desire to move to a new location and expand was overshadowed by something she once overheard her father say to the woman who ran the country store when she was young: “It’s always nice to have a little hobby, Pricilla.”
Grace had embraced the belief that women can only run businesses as hobbies. For her to grow her business, Grace would have to face that old belief and believe she is capable and smart enough to run a bigger shop.
The entrepreneur’s relationship with the process of growing a business relates directly to the willingness of the entrepreneur to expand herself and her beliefs. An entrepreneur who loses faith in herself performs tasks to keep the business limping along, with no thought to growing it. The focus narrows to survival instead of the more inspired focus of providing what the marketplace currently needs.
Leave Your Comfort Zone
Entrepreneurs become more successful as they make decisions based on what is best for the growth of the business and not what they are comfortable with. The more a company grows, the bigger the decisions become. Entrepreneurs must step into the role they envision for their business.
“Lola” owns a marketing company. Her marketing strategies are top-notch and innovative, and her client base has grown steadily. One of Lola’s strengths is building relationships and collaborative teams.
When Lola has a client who is resistant to spending money on targeted marketing, she calls upon some of her collaborative partners to share success stories and marketing results. They also share the fears they faced before making decisions that were out of their comfort zone.
George Bernard Shaw said, “The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they don’t find them, they create them.” Lola leverages her networking skills by making them a part of her customer relations process. She creates these collaborative teams out of the necessity to grow her business.
By having other business owners share their experiences, results and fears in getting there, Lola finds it easier to make changes to her business as well. The support she has provided through this process gives her support in return. Lola understands that the key to facing your fears is to know that solution is on the other side.
Entrepreneurs must continually challenge their fears — the fears that keep them from transforming their businesses into stronger, more innovative entities created to change the world in their own way.
Each entrepreneur faces difficult decisions as the business grows. How those decisions are made determines the direction the business takes. Entrepreneurs who operate from a fear mindset (a set of beliefs that guide our actions) find that the business stagnates. The very decisions that are made to avoid risks are the ones that kill off the passion that sparked the birth of the business in the first place.
Many entrepreneurs abandon or sabotage their businesses by asking the wrong people for advice. “Michelle” just started a concierge business and instantly became overwhelmed. She loves scheduling appointments and coming up with creative ideas for her offerings. Yet she is not very good at budgeting and collecting receipts. She has a hard time asking her monthly clients to pay at the end of each month.
Her cash flow causes problems in her business and stress in her family. She constantly asks her friends for advice, none of whom have any experience with running a business or bookkeeping. Michelle listens to their advice, and hired a high school student to call her clients and collect the receipts. Recently Michelle let the student go after losing three of her best clients as a result of his brashness.
Entrepreneurial success depends upon the level to which one is willing to grow. A successful entrepreneur will do what it takes to grow herself and her business beyond her comfort zone.
Renée Canali is president of Cultivating Change LLC and the author of Life as an Onion: The Journey Back to Your Core. She can be reached at 866-337-2728 or Renee@landofpossibility.com.