Over the years I’ve had the good fortune to work with a lot of different organizations, corporate and nonprofit, from solopreneurs and startups to larger companies. Many organizations say they want to grow, but their actions show something different. There are a number of things that seem to be getting in the way of their growth. It’s important for you as a business leader be honest with yourself and identify if any of these (or more than one) might be a roadblock getting in the way of your business’s growth.
Lack of a Vision
One of the biggest obstacles to growth is simply not having a PLAN for growth. So often we can drown in the day-to-day activities of our business. Some days just keeping our heads above water seems like a big win, doesn’t it? But let me tell you, it’s critical for your business to develop a vision and a long-term plan that can help you guide your business. Without one, it’s like you’re trying to go on a vacation without knowing where you’re going or a roadmap to get there.
Solution: Build one (of course!). It’s truly worth the investment of time and effort (and, yes, sometimes money) to visualize your destination and a plan for getting there. Brainstorming your future will help get your team on the same page with the same direction in mind.
Confusion about next step(s)
One of the biggest roadblocks to growth (even for those with growth plan) is not knowing what the NEXT step should be. The goals can seem large or distant; and that can paralyze us. Makes you stand still (immobile, static, standstill, stationary, motionless, barrier, obstruction).
Solution: If you have a strategic plan, give it a close look. Look at each key strategy and as yourself what the next concrete step is that will help you accomplish it. Not the next ten actions over the next 12 months. What is the next step you can take TODAY or THIS WEEK. Break it down and attack it piece by piece. Don’t try to jump to the top of the wall in a single leap. Rather, take one foothold after another. And begin by identifying the NEXT one that will help you scale the wall.
Lack of Excitement and Passion
Every now and again I’ve seen another challenge arise. It’s possible for us to lose our passion for the business we’re in. We’re not excited about it anymore. What once got us jumping out of bed in the morning, no longer does. Our business feels like drudgery. I know. I’ve been there. (And I have to admit I return there every once in a while.)
Solution: A little self-assessment is in order here. Be honest with yourself. Ask yourself WHY you don’t have that passion anymore. Do you just need a short (or even a bit longer) break? Or does your business just not drive your excitement anymore? One thing that can help is to step back and remember why you got in this business in the first place. What passion drove you then? Go back and read through your strategic plans and/or business plans. Re-read your mission. Is that still your mission?
Fear of Selling
One of the most common growth-blocks is the sales process itself. Well, not really the sales process as much as our lack of comfort with selling. This is one that continues to plague so many of us – myself included.
Solution: Take a sales course. Go over your sales technique and materials to make sure they are accurate and something you’re comfortable sharing with prospects. It should feel natural. It should fit your personality. If it doesn’t, customize it so it does.
Remind yourself that in the end you have to get comfortable with rejection. Over the years I have heard plenty of “no’s” or silence/no responses. I’ve even had a few “slam dunks” …until the prospect said no or simply went silent. It just happens. There’s no great way to get around it. Learn to not take these things personally. It’s just a part of the business world. It’s going to happen. Get comfortable with how you’ll react when it does.
A World of Distractions
We all know that in our world it’s WAY too easy to get distracted from building toward the future. On thing I’ve found is that usually this is a symptom of one of the other roadblocks. We’re bored with what we are doing, so we allow ourselves to look at our Twitter feed – and then go down that rabbit hole for an hour. We’re afraid to make that sales call, so we call our friend instead. We’re not certain what next step to take to help us grow, so we just flip through our emails instead.
Solution:Plan your day more carefully. Set specific short-term goals for the day or the week. Track your time for 1-2 weeks. Write down EVERYTHING you do. And be honest with yourself. At the end of that time look back over your tracked time. Look for those things that are not aligned with your goals – those things that are not helping you grow. Figure out how to cut those out and/or compartmentalize them. For instance, we all know that social media can be a HUGE time suck. Cut out that random, personal social media time (just flipping through a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram feed). Or if you just can’t bring yourself to do that, relegate it to specific, scheduled times during the day or after work. Don’t let it creep into your productive time.
For most of us the idea of growing our organizations sounds great. We want that. We can serve more customers, employ more people, make more money. But there are also tons of things that just get in the way.
Let’s make sure your organization has a solid path to the future. Please feel free to reach out and get in touch and let’s explore how I can help you and your business succeed. No pressure. Just an informal discussion to explore some ideas.