Growth almost always appears overnight. You’re on a certain plateau and then – a sudden daybreak! – everything’s changed.
That’s how it feels anyway – like all kinds of monotony and sameness, and then a sudden shift. Doesn’t it? At least, that’s how it always felt to me, until I started my own business. That’s when I started seeing a different side to growth – the slow, constant push necessary to make something shift over time.
Entrepreneurship has taught me that change is long hours of methodical work, finally turned into a result. There’s nothing magical about it, and its only sudden from the outside. Change is a landslide – the runoff of time spent slowly adding to something until it runs away.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the process surrounding change, this week – the integral building that creates a shift into a new way of doing things. I’ve come into a new season in my business. We’re experience a new wave of change, after months of methodical work, and now my job is shifting.
I’ve been grateful for the timing of this growth, realizing again and again that if it had come sooner I wouldn’t have been prepared. Its taught me that entrepreneurial growth rises and falls on the success of one key factor – and that is how well you do or do not prepare for it.
My entrepreneur coach often reminds me to temper our growth, knowing that moving forward too quickly will actually do more harm than help, in the long run. On the other hand, you don’t want to go too slow and lose momentum.
Everything hinges on the preparation and carrying out of a shift into working in a larger capacity. Doing it effectively involves the right amount of positivity, combined with realism and careful planning.
Here’s four ways to find the sweet spot – making your growth effective, and smooth:
1. Dream big
Last year a friend of mine coined the phrase “dream big, act smart.” And, I believe that’s where all of this begins. If you’re not dreaming, you’re not looking to move forward. So, start there. What’s your big dream for your business? Where do you hope to be headed?
2. Act smart
A dream stays a dream without a smart plan. What is it that you will need to do well within the growth? What new expertise do you need? What new factors or capacity? Begin doing practical work to lay a foundation that will allow for coming success. For my company, that meant training artisans to be ready for the kind of large orders we weren’t receiving yet.
What does it look like for you?
3. Pay attention
…to your progress, that is.
As things begin to shift in the right direction and prepare to grow, you’ll be able to hear the very first whisperings of new success. Pay attention to these, and create an environment that is conducive to them before they take off. Prepare for what you have good reason to believe will be taking place before it overwhelms you.
Something they forgot to tell me is that as an entrepreneur your job is always changing, as the needs of your company are changing. Pay attention to this, and shift with it on purpose before it sneaks up on you. Are you needing to shift from a focus on social media to a focus on sales? Perhaps you’re needing to move from product development to marketing, or scale to bigger accounts. Whatever it is, I’ve learned its best to go with the change, even when it feels sudden – after all, it’s what you worked for all that time.