As we go into 2021, I began to talk to my colleagues and fellow business owners. Fortunately, many reported business was good! But not great. So where’s the disconnect? How are businesses that are performing well, still not thriving?
I’ve narrowed down the culprits of the steady (but not spectacular) business: The comfort zone, talent/team, and timing.
Let’s break those down.
1. The Comfort Zone
We’ve all heard “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” And while that seems like good advice it’s probably holding you back. Once a business gets into a comfort zone it’s hard to leave. When it’s making enough money to be profitable and takes the standard 40-50 hours to run in a week, business owners hit a mental block. It seems like this is as good as it gets, so why bother changing things? That’s the siren song of the comfort zone: settle.
Want to break that spell? Get comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable (temporarily). The truth is all businesses have growth potential, even really solid ones. Even if your business is performing well you can always make more, get more clients, and even get more time!
How to leave Comfort Zone
Before you leave your comfort zone take stock of your current business plan. What is working? Be specific! Everything that is contributing to your business's success should be documented. Next, identify what could work even better. This is where the magic happens. Sometimes this will be a very small variant, but tweaking it just right will make a huge impact.
As you prepare a new business plan try to put aside some resources and time for the transitional period. Growing comes with pains, so be prepared for slight turbulence as you ascend to the next level in your business.
One final tip
Communicate! This is crucial to be transparent with your team and/or business partners. Everyone feels safe in a comfort zone, so leaving it will feel daunting. Avoid this anxiety by communicating clearly and establishing a specific plan so your team feels at ease with the transition.
If you want to succeed, you need to surround yourself with the right team and talent. Remember, things going well isn’t always a win. You owe it to yourself to operate your business at its maximum potential. That means being ambitious. Challenge yourself and your team to reach higher.
A common theme I see with “good not great” businesses is a fair amount of hand holding. This means while the team and business are performing well, the business leader still feels an immense pressure to be highly involved on most levels. Moving your business to the next level means you need more time to dedicate to your goals and actualizing your ideal business. Delegation is key.
How to Improve your Team
Delegation of duties will allow the business leader more time for high-impact tasks. The team will get more responsibility, but also more opportunity to contribute to the business’s success. If this hand-off of duties feels daunting or you’re doubting your team’s ability, it’s time to talk about talent. Your team should elevate your business, not just keep it operational.
Sometimes the difference between operating and achieving is dedication. So either train your team to be more autonomous and critical thinking, or invest in that kind of talent.
One Final Tip
Don’t give up on your team without trying to work together. One-on-Ones and modified peer reviews are a great opportunity to work together and build those critical thinking skills. Invest in your team by working with them to nurture their ambition and growth progress. Having frequent check-ins and discussions about aligning their wants with your expectations. Build a solid foundation that you can build your dream team on.
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There’s never a “good” time. I hear so often excuses of “it’s not the right time” or “we’re waiting for things to settle before making a move.” But the truth is that the “right time” doesn’t exist! This past year has taught us that unprecedented times can endure. But it’s also taught us that we have the power to respond to and even thrive in these times.
Why not wait?
If you keep waiting for an arbitrary marker of a “safe bet” like a designated time of growth in the stock market or X amount of profitable months, you may miss your opportunity to act. Every growth opportunity comes with risk. Usually it’s only a slight risk. If you’re looking for a zero-risk situation you won’t grow. A business leader must have the confidence in their ability and gumption to make a move even when business is good. The most successful business leaders weren’t satisfied even at the great level. Jobs and Gates challenged their own best benchmarks and kept striving to improve at the top of their game.
One final tip
If you’re still nervous, get to the root of that feeling. Why exactly are you afraid to grow? Are you worried that change will disrupt the good thing you’ve built or you’ll become overwhelmed? Whatever the reason is, remember you are your own worst critic. Even if things dip, you’ve proven you have the talent to run a successful business. Examine the deeper meaning behind your hesitation and work through it. Debunk your unrealistic anxiety and remind yourself even if things change, you have resources and a team to support you through it.
Putting it All Together
It’s hard to want to change your business when things are good.
But remember, there’s always potential for more. Make more money, get more clients, and even strike a better work/life balance.
If you’re ready to get out of your comfort zone and begin building your ultimate business that won’t just perform, but will thrive, reach out today.
Let’s make your ultimate business a reality by the beginning of 2022!
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