Is Your Small Business Really Ready For Rapid Growth?

Is Your Small Business Really Ready For Rapid Growth?

Remember those nights at college when you were torn between starting your midterm paper or heading out with your friends? Ever feel like that now?

A few weeks ago I was running with my devoted running partner and longtime friend and telling her about the place I find myself in my coaching practice right now. “One part of me wants to keep growing and building, create a group program, increase my visibility,” I huffed and puffed as we circled the track. “The other part of me wants to allow things to unfold more naturally, focus more on growing myself rather than growing my business.”

What did my wise friend reply? – “Sounds like a great blog post!”

And you know what? She’s right!

I don’t know a business owner who hasn’t at some point or another felt those dueling parts within themself. The way we set up choices for ourselves, it often feels like a conflict between doing and being. Or even worse – accomplishing and stagnating.

“Do I work harder to grow my business, or do I take more time off this summer to enjoy the business I have and savor more family time?”

“Do I hire more staff or keep on working 7 days a week so profits don’t suffer?”

These are the kinds of dilemmas I often hear from my clients. In honor of these split desires and in preparation for writing this – I struggled mightily with this divide and came up with this. . .

It’s not wise to choose just one and sacrifice the other – just doing or just being. It’s actually in the interplay of the two that we find what we’re seeking.

If you believe you need more presence or confidence, the way you begin to build it is through action – successes and failures, trial and error. You build your competence through thoughtful action, assessment and course correction. Even the Dalai Lama reaches out and dialogues with his followers, he doesn’t sit alone on a mountain waiting for others to come to him.

On the other hand – doing more will never be enough. You can work hard, force doors open through sheer determination, but then will you be ready for what’s on the other side?

If you spend all your time trying to get more and more business (or whatever it is you want), will you really have the inner resources you need to handle your “dream come true” when it arrives?

When I owned my retail business, we worked with some emerging brands that got popular very quickly. And can you guess what happened? They got overwhelmed with new orders, didn’t have enough supply, didn’t communicate well, and struggled to quickly manufacture more (often investing a lot of new capital). Meanwhile, as back-orders piled up, retailers became frustrated, gave up on them and started recommending other brands to customers.

Wanting more and being ready for more is NOT the same thing.

There is a natural ebb and flow to growth and I’m starting to accept that until you can sink into and enjoy both parts of that cycle, you won’t find that elusive feeling of entrepreneurial harmony.

Maybe it’s not about two separate parts making up the whole, but instead two different faces of the same coin – impossible to split up even if you might try.

Some questions to consider for your own journey:

  • Does your business need better internal systems to handle growth? Do you?
  • What are you currently doing to support that need?

Post below and let me know where on the doing/being spectrum you feel currently?

Jo Ilfeld, PhD

An executive leadership coach, Jo helps C-suite leaders, executives, and high-potential managers develop the flexibility, skill, and frame of mind to meet the challenges of the next five, ten, twenty years…. and beyond. She works with individuals, teams and organizations on four core areas of leadership development. Check out Jo's bio page for more information.

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