Our focus is often on business growth. Increasing revenue, number of clients served, higher profit margins; all worthy of our time and attention.
And it should be. Tracking growth, hitting your goals for next month and next quarter deserve a large part of your strategy and vision portion of your entrepreneur’s day.
If you’re in startup mode then this is the only thing that matters until you achieve financial stability. I would never suggest otherwise. If you’re borrowing to make payroll or not paying yourself then increasing revenue is your key metric.
“What got you here, won’t get you there.”
If you’re past this phase and now scaling up you may start feeling tension around revenue goals and other healthy indicators. Now it’s time to track customer retention, return rates and cost of goods (if that applies).
I once heard Cheryl Krueger, founder of Cheryl’s Cookies talk about mixing cookie dough for 24 dozen instead of the usual 3-4. She explained that you can’t just multiply the recipe by X and get the best outcome. As you scale, the ratios have to change.
The other growth path that must be tended
The good news is that you get to grow too. As a small business owner part of that growth means you’ll learn to step into new roles. It’s not something you may hear talked about a lot, but it is a key development area. Perhaps you started doing it all. The bookkeeping, ordering supplies, taking care of your website etc. That’s a smart way to learn all facets of your business.
As you grow, you begin to outsource tasks like payroll and customer service. You have someone handling fulfillment and order processing. Making those decisions allows you to expand.
Along with these new roles come new challenges. You are now a manger of people and resources. You’re a leader tasked with delegating. Others depend on you for training and support. At first it may be exhilarating, and then you begin to realize you have less time to focus on the areas only you can handle. Seeing yourself as the leader of a team, the manager, or a trainer and the visionary of your business may seem overwhelming as time goes on.
Mind you that I am not calling you (or me) a lunatic, but some days I sure have felt like one. Those days where I couldn’t get to my own tasks because everyone needed my attention on theirs are thankfully in the past. There are days from time to time when things blow up and I need to be aware but I know they’re taken care of. That came from learning how to set up a system in my business and delegate properly to key people.
My challenge to you today is to take an honest look at your operations. Over the next week, track how many of your daily tasks don’t get completed AND how much time you spend troubleshooting other things instead. Which squeaky wheels are getting your oil?
I’d love to know if there are any surprises or AHA! moments as you work through the week. Comment below and let me know what you find out. I’m always happy to offer some insight if I can.
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