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Get out of the stinking thinking rut and get back on a bigger track

By Patty DeDominic

One of the biggest differences between those business that stay small is not education or desire, it’s Growth Mindset.    Many small business owners perpetually think small.  “What do I have to lose? What can go wrong? What if they are not there when I try to call and sell them?  What if I can’t hire a good person to help me?” Small, small business owners work so long and hard, digging themselves deeper into a pit, or running on a small business mindset treadmill they can’t jump off.   They accidentally turn off potential contributors by acting small and being penny wise and time foolish!

Feeling lost or struggling to make payroll?

Take your catcher’s mitt and go home?   Call it a big loss or file bankruptcy and go get a job?  Relax, most successful business people have been there and they get out of the hole quickly. Some of us had to learn the lessons the hard way. You don’t need to do that and many a successful entrepreneur has had plenty of dark and sleepless nights. “I am stuck and can’t get to the next level” is a most common complaint.     Sadly, I have heard laments, and what should I do next questions from real business owners. Most often they are hardworking people, well-educated and focusing on SMALL business questions.  I don’t want you to do that, I want you to focus on BIG Business Questions!

Should I throw in the towel? Quit? I used to think like that too and my business stayed small until I learned to plan and act more like the larger competitors I admired.

What were they doing different than I?

My bigger competitors did not have any more advantages than me, they did, however, have a bigger mindset and acted on plans to become larger.    They did not “try” or work on it…. They made plans, implemented them, learned from their failures and like a well-coached top entrepreneur with a multi-million dollar mindset, then picked themselves up and worked smarter on the next inning. Get back up to bat. Work on your talent bench to make sure your team is strong and ready to swing hard at and hit those home runs!     Get up – refine the plan and execute. That’s what is involved in the bigger mindset… it is certainly not secrets or perfection.

If you want to grow your business and your team, you need a winning, growth orient mindset. All else can come if you start there.

Do you have a big business mindset?  Are you preparing to scale?     Your business will grow if you do the work and make the plans.    Instead of asking what you might lose, ask yourself,

 “ WHAT DO WE HAVE TO GAIN?” and then go about a plan to swing strong at all the potential home runs!

Instead of asking “What can go wrong?” And dwelling there, quickly answer that and put a few plans in place as backup, then consider this  “WHAT CAN GO RIGHT?  IF he did it, then WE can too!”  In other words, plan for success and if that means adding some extra support on the phones or in the office to handle the extra customers, then do it.      Think about how you can automate certain functions to save hours and make it better for your customers and your helpers.     Give them the tools of a company twice your size and watch what happens!

Are you really working towards business growth or are you simply working longer hours?  Plueeeeeaaassse  Learn to leverage your time and your investments.   It is not about working longer hours or laboring in the trenches, get yourself some modern tools and use what the “big boys,” the big enterprises would do.

Replace weak players faster.  The old question about not being able to find good help is the lament of LOSERS. Micro entrepreneurs and those who are not successful in business blame it on lack of workers or those darn “emerging adults or millennial mind sets or lack of work ethics”.    Yes, there are some challenges with work place and skilled labor right now, but that has always been true!  Get over it and get the best you can afford on your team now.

Great people come in all shapes and ages, they are available to you now virtually and in your home office.  Retirees and stay at home moms often have great skill sets and some of them are eager to apply their skills for greater good. Technology talent is available 24/7 around the world, learn to tap into it with apps and virtual team members.      Moving from small business owners to bigger business ownership means surrounding yourself with the best talent you can afford.   When you find likely candidates, share with them your ideas and your goals.   Then give them the big picture by sharing your vision, being open to their input and feedback.

Learn from your previous hiring mistakes and use a structured recruitment and interviewing and hiring process.    Your great people are what propels your business growth.  Your job as entrepreneur, ceo or founder is to enable and attract the top talent.   You can find great people if you are indeed a better place to engage!  Become it.  Drop the excuses, that’s a losers excuse.

Finances – Learn them or hire a trusted person who is an expert.   Your budgets and forecasts are valuable.  Not THE key to your business, but important.    I think paying CUSTOMERS are the true keys to any business, yet your financials come in as one of the top five key elements. Yes, of course, we need the customers in order to count them!   Understanding your numbers, your margins and your cash flow is essential for planning for growth.  Don’t want to learn that much? Plan to stay small.

Getting familiar with your Balance Sheet, Cash Flow Forecasts and P&L does not take a degree in finance, a good tutorial using quick books or You Tube will take you far.    Get far enough in accounting so that you can ask your bookkeeper or CPA detailed questions and gain an understanding so that you can make a good forecast.   At the end of each week or month and quarter you then analyze where you fell short in your forecast or your assumptions on costs.

BEWARE Overly Complex “tools”.   When your spreadsheets are too cumbersome or you can’t find your top or bottom lines quickly, then you are losing sight of the big picture which is to keep costs of goods sold under the selling prices and actual collections for your business.  Next comes operating expenses, like licenses on software, staff and subcontractor costs, advertising and advisers like legal and accounting help.     Most businesses require insurance and others have licenses or registrations for their professions. Each of these expenses belong neatly on your profit and loss, along with any capital expenses that get depreciated over time.   Check with your CPA about what should be expenses and what should be depreciated over years.   Use the KISS method and everyone will be able to read the numbers.

Your mindset might look like this if you are truly ready to grow out of being a micro business:

Vision – Where are we going?

Mission _ What do we need to do on a day to day, month to month basis in order to fulfill our promises to our customers and head in the direction of our vision?

WHO do we really serve and what are they willing to pay us for?  Getting clear about who your ideal customers are and then serving them is essential for smooth growth.

Surround yourself with the best advisers and team members you can possible attract.  It is not always about money for them.  Some great folks would love to be part of your very worth mission IF you show promise of growing and getting out of the mini business mind traps!

Good luck!

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