Growth is Hard Work – 12.15.2021

I'm going to let you in on a little secret: growth is hard work.

If you are a business owner, you are probably experiencing a little bit of a "duh" moment right now, and I don't blame you.  There's a reality as a small business owner that we are perpetually investing in our own businesses, whether that's time, money, or resources.  If you are in-house at a firm and working on your plan for the coming year, you may look at it as one of my favorite clients wrote on their holiday message to me "Lots to do in '22!"  Because you, too, know that the intentionality you exhibit in building the area of your business is going to require an increase in activity of one sort or another.

I'm going to let you in on another little secret: staying still isn't really an option

This doesn't mean that you need to be an early adopter of technological advancements or that you need the newest, biggest, or brightest bells and whistles available in your industry to make an impact.  What it does mean is that every field is experiencing evolution or disruption of one sort or another, and healthy curiosity and willingness to learn new things matters. 

I had the opportunity to watch incredibly talented entrepreneurs in the first 15 years of my career as we hosted subtenants and sole practitioners in various industries within our office.  Some of those businesses grew exponentially in subsequent years, some of them dwindled into obsolescence.  Each had areas of specialization that were either exploited, transformed into multi-faceted business models, or even reconstructed into a whole new career path.  For those who have achieved some modicum of success, I can identify some consistent approaches to their business mindset:

  1. Not afraid of hard work. No one is looking for a residual income-based lifestyle business.  Their devotion to their business was evident in every conversation, every action they took.  Risks were calculated, and sometimes there were losses, but never was their dedication in question.
  2. Willingness to pivot. Knowing your niche is one thing.  Refusing to approach business differently in light of current conditions or disallowing flexibility in your offerings is a kiss of death.  It may be death by a thousand papercuts over a decade or more, but an inability to make changes is detrimental to business success.
  3. Celebratory culture. I know I talk about culture pretty regularly, and I do so because it is integral to achieving personal and professional success.  I have seen a clear link between stopping and taking a moment to say YAY and THANK YOU internally and externally and ongoing success.  When action leads to a celebrated reaction, people want to do it again.  And again.  And again.
  4. People are a priority. Whether customers, investors, employees, colleagues or professional peers, a business cannot grow without a network of human beings who have positive experiences with the company and the individuals who are there.

Putting the hard work in does not automatically mean your business will be a success but NOT doing the hard work is a sure sign that your business/career will not flourish in the same way. Hard work is planning the projects, making the decisions and finding the resources your business needs and it takes long hours, dedication and devotion. But amongst all this hard work please do not forget to have fun and take time to relax and step away otherwise burnout is just around the corner.

Wherever you are in achieving your business objectives for 2021, roll up your sleeves and get ready to build success in 2022.  Anything worth doing is worth doing well. <3