The FTW Five Facedowns for Business Growth
This isn’t an easy read, per se.
Please know that I offer you these questions to help. Because if you can look directly into the eye some of the harder parts of the entrepreneurial journey – some of the hard truths – and really be able to face them down & move through them, you’ll be that much stronger because of it.
Facedown #1: Why the hell are you in business if you don’t know everything there is to running a successful business?
Ooh. Ouch. That’s how it first felt when my (well-meaning-but-not-in-business) friend asked me this question. At the time, I believe I was complaining about some kind of entrepreneurial woes, and his matter-of-fact question hit me hard. And it made me think, which is why I ask it of you, too.
Take your time, but know your answer. It’ll help keep you sane and maybe pull you through the downs alongside the ups. (You know, the days when you’re seriously questioning “Whyyyyy?” and even considering corporate cubicle work because, at least there, someone just told you what to damn do.)
Here’s my answer: No one knows everything and everything is always changing. You must be savvy enough to know when and where you need to learn more, and wise enough to know which tasks are beyond your bandwidth. Entrepreneurship requires investments of money and time, often at different times but undoubtedly all the time.
I also like what my biz buddy Bridget of Parents in Biz had to say about this topic when I posted it on Instagram: “It’s impossible to know everything about running a business! It’s a journey of learning and growth. I love the fact that everyday I learn something new about business.”
Facedown #2: Are you prepared to be thrown back to the beginning again and again, and again?
Okay, I can almost hear your groan from here, “We’re not seriously going back to branding and ideal client discovery work, are we?” Yes, friends. And the truth is, at best, and certainly with this writer, you always will be.
The groan comes because reviewing feels like a waste of time when what you want to be doing is moving forward, right? Not back to branding, back to further honing into your ideal target market and client’s needs, groan. But, here’s the truth. Ensuring that your brand message, experience, and presence is still aligning and checking in with your ideal people’s right-now needs and wants becomes the golden path to knowing what to deliver and what to say – aka what to write in your social media posts, emails, blogs, your opt-ins, your site, etc.
It may seem like common sense to some (and a pain in the ars to others), but reviewing, revisiting, and refreshing your brand and ideal client guides to better accommodate your audience are one of the few constants in business ownership.
Facedown #3: Can you define your version of business growth right now, for now?
Really, and I mean reeeealllly, knowing your answer to this question can save you from becoming Business Burnout Betty. You don’t want to be her, although many clients come to me wearing the t-shirt.
Either their list is 10,000 miles long of goals they’re working toward to grow their business, simultaneously, and they’re full speed ahead on a one-way route to Burnoutville. Or, they’re not clear on what their goals really are, or should be, that will bring business growth so they’re functioning in a state of perpetual ping-ponging between allll the possibilities (and feel as overwhelmed and chaotic as their jumbled inboxes crammed with downloads, courses, strategies, you name it and it’s in there).
What I mean by knowing your version of business growth and goals right now, for now, is:
Be able to define your Right Now goals. Are you trying to grow your list, let’s take a look at your opt-ins, landing page ... Do you need a site? That’s a different goal than working to create content to bring people to your website. What are your Right Now goals?
Understand that your Right Now goals are For Now because they’ll always be changing. Set your pace, achieve what you can, and know deeply that you and your business will continue to grow and evolve, your audience and their needs will, too, and your goals will always be “For Now”. They’ll always be changing. Right now, for now, all clear?
Facedown #4: Where do you see your business in 10 years?
Relax, this isn’t a crappy corporate interview. And I’m not asking for a 10-year business plan & strategy (or that you even have one, really). This question is a facedown because it asks you to recognize deeply that this thing called business ownership isn’t temporary. It’s long-game. You’re setting out to build something that will stand and thrive 10, 20, 30 years from now and beyond.
Recognizing that ensures you look to get comfy with understanding that beyond the flurry of the Grand Opening … comes years of owning and operating your business. And right after the excitement that accompanies every new product/service launch? Yip, another launch, more new products, more new goals, more growth stages.
As I first heard a woman named Steph Crowder from Courage and Clarity say, “ …the goal post will always be moving. There is no finish line in business ownership.”
Me asking you “Where do you see your business in 10 years?” is really asking you to answer, “Are you in this thing called entrepreneurship long-game?”
I hope you answer, “Yes”.
And, I hope this FTW Facedown makes you stronger at having considered all of what your “Yes” means.
Facedown #5: Can you wrap your mind around the fact that there is no such thing as a proven formula for business growth and success?
But “Becky With the Good Hair” says I shouldn’t offer free consultations because time is money.
Listen. What works for one brand and business will not necessarily work for another. What one business chooses to do does not mean you must or that you will succeed if you do. (And, please tell “Becky” that while her advice is sound for some, I recently finished writing a site for a businesswoman who does do ‘Discovery Calls’ – and 60% of those free calls become the retained clients who supply her six-figure income.)
The absolute Truth that there’s no one formula, no direct route, no proven path to business growth and success can feel daunting.
But I swear it’s more freeing than frustrating once you fully embrace it.
Because, in one way or another and for one reason or another, you entered into entrepreneurship and independent business ownership essentially willing to do things your own way. Yet, in the never-ending growth curve that is the entrepreneurial journey, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with options. I mean, the very space we work in, aka the Internet, is flooded not only with people proclaiming what you should/need/must do in order to succeed, but also oodles of amazing, talented, inspiring businesses who are crushing it … maybe you should do what they’re doing?
Feel These Words: It’s only once you fully recognize that business itself is the greatest of experiments that you can be free.
You’re independent, as you set out to be, and ready to succeed in business in the only way that actually works – testing, trying, flying, failing, flipping the script, learning, growing, becoming.
Your job, business owner, is to steadily discover what works for your business, and to continually define what it means to do business your way.
You still along for the ride?
Of course, you are.
Just now, after answering for yourself the Five FTW Facedowns of Business Growth, you’re stronger en route.