No not me – though I have sometimes felt like I wanted the world to stop – just for 5 flipping minutes. Haven’t you? I was having a conversation this week with a client, and I could tell by her voice, her appearance and her speech pattern that she was stressed. Very stressed.
It is a common story – and one in which you feel perfectly alone.
You start a business – full of enthusiasm. You work hard and you get some clients. You do a great job and you get a few more clients. Not so many that you can comfortably afford to outsource, or take someone on, but enough so that you are TOO busy and therefore….you work a bit harder, put a few extra hours in.
And then you get to a point where you are working EVERY evening, and EVERY weekend, and so you HAVE to outsource or take on someone. And so you do. Phew! That feels like a relief….for a day! Until you realise, you are still too busy, and now you have one more big bill to fund every month and you are WORSE off financially than you were before.
Now this is where it can really start to go wrong. Because now – rather than focusing on getting things in place for growth (systems, training, processes), you are focused on worrying about whether you did the right thing, how you are going to fund everything next month or the month after, and thinking about what a hopeless job they are doing (because you haven’t had time to spend with them).
And that’s really not a good place to be, because not only does it feel stressful, it is likely to bring you more of the same. And then you become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because what you focus on is what you get more of.
So, what should you do instead.
Well, hindsight is a wonderful thing and you can’t go back in time and make sure you have all your systems and processes set up BEFORE you need them (wouldn’t that be wonderful?). But what you CAN do, is to focus on the right things.
In this case the average value of customer for my client was such that she only needed one job to change the picture completely. Maybe your average value of order is much smaller. Whatever the case is, if you concentrate on the outcome you WANT rather than the one you don’t want– then you are more than likely to be able to turn the situation around.
Focus on the MIP – most important thing. And only the most important thing. Delegate, park or cancel everything else. If your most important thing is to get more clients on board this week, then concentrate on that. Then you can afford to hire someone else to do the rest.
And if you have already hired someone and they are the wrong person?
Well, first check are they really the wrong person? If you have hired them to do a specific job and they aren’t doing it – or aren’t doing it well, is it because you haven’t told them how to do it? Perhaps you have been so busy you haven’t made clear what their level of authority is/what tools they need to use or how you want stuff done.
If you have and they still aren’t doing it, then a conversation about values needs to be had. Of course, you should always make sure you hire on a culture match (values, beliefs, approach), but – as I said – you can’t go back only forwards. Have the conversation. If it is not a culture match then you may need to bite the bullet and start again. I have seen too many people give it “a bit longer” to see if things get better.
They aren’t going to get better if you don’t have the same values, beliefs and approach. If it is just a training issue – sure that can be fixed. But culture mis matches will always be a problem.
The thing is – growth is painful. The problem I see is that there are too many ‘guru’s’ out there running Facebook video ads with their flash cars and their flash houses. In most cases the cars are leased and the house has a big mortgage on it. But even if their rags to multi million pound story is true financially, what most will ever tell you is the GROWTH IS PAINFUL.
Do you remember growing pains when you were a kid? How painful is it giving birth (don’t freakin remind me)? What about having an extension put on your house – is that easy? NO. Nothing about growth is easy.
But if you want the growth more than you want the pain of growing, then it is worth it. The guru’s just focus on the end result – hoping that you want to be where they are (maybe), and fail to tell you that growth is painful because they want you to buy their ‘easy solution’. But you know there isn’t one right?
Now don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean you have to work harder. You might be thinking – “well that’s good cos I couldn’t work any harder than I am now”. What I mean is – that growth is painful because it means you are evolving, and when you evolve you are letting go of the past. And that is painful.
Your ego wants to keep you in the safe zone, in case you fail. But the problem with that is – unless you are growing you are failing! Because evolution is not optional. It will happen with you or despite you. So, you might as well drive that growth.
One of the best ways to overcome the overwhelm of ‘trying’ to grow a business is to understand that you are not alone. And you are not a failure if you don’t know ALL the answers. How the heck are you supposed to and why would you put that much pressure on yourself anyway. No-one knows all the answers.
Which is why the members of our mastermind group keep coming back and why many of them went on our GSD retreat (and if you don’t know what GSD stands for, lets say the polite version is Get Stuff Done). Because you cannot grow your business any faster than it already is, unless you do something differently.
Find out more about our retreats here.
Meanwhile – it’s actually not a bad idea to stop the world for a bit. Just take some time out for you, do something differently, be somewhere else. When you think you are too busy to stop – that’s the time to give yourself a break.