Any type of growth is hard. It’s hard to grow and not lose who you are – physically, personally and in your business. No matter what, there’s always going to be something you leave behind.
When you were a child, you left behind your short stature and your nose-picking (did you leave that behind?) to grow taller and become an adult. But when you grew up, you kept part of you – maybe it was your mom’s nose or your humorous personality. Sure, you changed, but you were still you.
In your business, things are more fluid, you don’t have permanent fixtures that remain by default, like your mom’s nose does. It can be a much harder process to grow your business, leave the baby stuff behind, but keep your core intact.
So that’s what we’re diving into – how to grow and keep your core intact. It’s actually a simple process, but we tend to ignore it when we’re growing our businesses. It’s essential, though, if we want to keep our core intact.
How to still be you and grow:
- Assess your core:
- What are your businesses core strengths? Why do your customers keep coming back? What makes your business unique? What brings in the most revenue?
- Find the superfluous and bottlenecks:
- What could you leave behind and few would notice (i.e. processes, products, etc.)? What feels like it’s holding you back?
- After you’ve done steps 1 & 2, make a plan to intentionally protect and pour into the core while you cut/fix the superfluous and bottlenecks. Then follow your plan and adjust as needed.
But what does this look like practically?
Say you run a bakery and your sales are growing so fast, it’s hard to keep up. The bakery’s tagline is “Fresh. Local. Handmade.” You bake everyday, multiple times a day so everything is fresh. You use only local ingredients and you deliver locally. You make every item by hand. Your best seller is your blueberry oatmeal bars. Customers are happy with the quality, which you attribute to the items being fresh. Your customers love that you use only local ingredients and that you have local delivery. You’ve gotten good WOM advertising because of your local delivery. This is your core. Some things haven’t been working great – a gluten free line hasn’t been selling, expanding delivery to further counties hasn’t been promising and your inventory system can’t keep up. You’ve also spent money on advertising space in a local publication that hasn’t yielded a solid return. These are your superfluous and bottleneck items and.
From this assessment, you should be able to create a logical plan that helps you keep your core intact as you grow. This means you should continue to focus on fresh and local and protect and grow those strengths. However, no one seems to notice or care that items are handmade. You’ve been looking into a machine that can make your oatmeal bars in less time, for less labor, which would help you meet market needs. Since you’ve assessed your core and know what you need to protect, you can more clearly make that decisions.
When businesses grow, they move toward chaos. It takes intentional persistence to ensure your business’s core stays intact while it grows. If you commit to protect your business’s core as it grows, you’ll likely find that you still have the essential parts intact, just like you still had your mom’s nose after you went through puberty.
Image info: Original image by John French.
About the Author: Lindsey Tolino comes alongside artisans, craftsman and people monetizing their passions to help them create healthy businesses. She shares her heart at ToBusinessOwners.com. Follow her on Twitter @LindseyTolino or connect with her on Google+.