Business Owners Toolbox Blog Discussions and articles to help the small business owner solve the challenges they face as they grow their business.

September 29, 2011

What Drives You Crazy About Growing Your Business?

Filed under: Overcome growth barriers — Tags: , , — Mike Van Horn @ 7:00 pm

What’s the difference between a company that seems to grow with ease and one that has a lot of problems growing? Often it’s the owner’s management style and attitudes that get in the way.

“Well, in my case,” you say, “it’s the problems we encounter selling in such a tough market.” Maybe. But if we talk, we may discover that your real difficulty in selling is related to the need for better tracking systems, or for more consistent effort, or for better training of your sales people. Or it may be related to your own attitude toward marketing and selling. Many I work with seem to have the attitude, “When all else fails, try some marketing!”

Tough competition, unresponsive customers, bad economy—these things are true for everybody. Yet many companies like yours are thriving. What’s the difference?
Start with your own (often-unstated) beliefs, attitudes, and work habits. I’ll give some examples, based on my work with business owners, here and in upcoming posts. Here’s one I hear all the time as an excuse why growth is not worth the effort:

Myth: “Only I can do this job right.”
“I can do it so much faster and better than anyone else.”
“It takes so much effort to manage others. I might as well do it myself.”
“My unique creative ability has gotten us where we are.
“It’s hard to let go and turn things over to my employees.”

These attitudes and beliefs can impede your growth.
People state such things as if they were cast in stone, but what I hear are beliefs and attitudes that could be changed, thus opening the door to growth and profitability. So I’m calling this a myth. After each myth in upcoming posts, I’ll give an example of how it can be turned around. Let’s start with this one:

On the one hand, you believe: “Only I can do this right.”
But on the other hand, you also complain, “I hire good people to help me, but end up just training my competitors.” These contradictory attitudes together reinforce your growth barrier.

What I see: You hire good people, but then continue with the attitude that only you can do certain jobs. The result is that they feel constrained in the job, never fully trusted, or not able to live up to the job they were hired for. Thus, you tend to drive them away. They may go to work for a competitor, or set up their own similar business.

Recommendation: Shift your management style so that you give them challenge and responsibility; they then feel better about staying with you and advancing within your company. And you are freed up to focus on growth.

Change your management style? Easier said than done, you say. But stay tuned. I’ll show how to make this happen in future posts.

This is a major theme in my “Top 3 Barriers to Small Business Growth” program.

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