The daily tasks of running a business can be tough. But it’s even tougher to keep your focus on the areas of entrepreneurship that really grow your business – i.e., hiring staff and turning a serious profit.
I realized recently that little shifts could make the difference.
I was reflecting on a women’s empowerment conference I had recently attended. It was an amazing event. The audience listened intently to the speakers. They tweeted and hashtagged motivational quotes. They shared photos with new friends and networked. Many women scribbled furiously, taking notes and writing down ideas in beautifully decorated notebooks.
But I wondered how many would take action on these ideas. How many would use the tips once the excitement of the event faded?
How many would step outside of their comfort zones and do the things that the speakers recommended?
Identify areas in which you need to get uncomfortable – areas that will allow you to grow as a leader of your business.
Several years ago, I challenged myself to take these types of actions. And while my next steps haven’t always been perfect, I can identify that my business has grown as I moved past my comfort zones.
One of the first shifts I made was diversifying the events I attended. In the past, I attended only events where I knew other attendees. Who doesn’t enjoy catching up with old friends?
But when I started examining these events, I realized they weren’t often attended by decision makers – people who could hire my company for larger custom programs.
So I switched it up. I kept attending events where I had connections to stay engaged with business friends. But I added events where I had the potential to meet new decision makers. Yes, I was often one of few women and ethnic minorities in the room. But it got easier to build genuine relationships as I started attending more events.
I encourage you to do this with your business. Identify areas in which you need to get uncomfortable – areas that will allow you to grow as a leader of your business.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
Where are your weak spots?
Many businesses have a few areas they consistently need to work on: marketing, sales, employees. Be honest about what needs to improve. Often it’s an area that you, the leader, might not excel in.
Identify the gaps clearly. Invest in resources like a coach, training, or mentoring on how to bridge the gap. You might have some moments of getting uncomfortable when you see the weak spots. But know that it will get easier as you gain your footing.
Don’t tackle too much at once
I pick one or two challenges every 90 days. But I don’t try to eat the whole elephant at once.
It’s easy to get discouraged when you take on something new. And it’s really easy to start hearing the voices of doubt, fear and anxiety drown out the logic behind your decisions to grow. What if you fail? What if it doesn’t work out? What if? What if?
The magic will happen as you gain more victories – and have more missteps and learn new strategies for dealing with challenges.
So take small steps, but take them consistently. And don’t worry about tackling everything at once.
Don’t try to do it alone. Get a mentor or coach in your corner.
I believe in rolling up your sleeves and doing the work. However, one of the big misconceptions in entrepreneurship is that leaders need to do it alone.
That’s a recipe for failure.
When you step outside of your comfort zone, your inner critics will start screaming to return to the places you know. One of the best ways to quiet these voices is to get the advice of others and learn how they have developed strategies to grow their businesses.
So don’t be afraid to identify entrepreneurs who are a few steps ahead of you in business. Hire them as a coaches or develop genuine mentoring relationships.
And be willing to do the work that they recommend. Nothing will inspire them more than you being game to keep pushing past your current comfort zones and gaining victories along the way.
Wishing you the best!