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3 Mindset Shifts That Will Grow Your Business

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Moving from solo-preneur to successful business leader requires a mindset shift before actual growth can happen. Key factors to consider are your strengths as a successful entrepreneur and how you can leverage these as you move forward. At the other end of the spectrum, those skills, behaviours and approaches which might have worked for you so far, but which no longer serve you and should be left behind.

Beyond this, here are three key shifts that every solo-preneur needs to work through on their journey to growing a strong sustainable company:

1. From improvisation to strategy

Let’s be honest, at the start, most of us found ourselves making it up as we went along – trying a few things, taking a few chances, risking a few punts. We improvised, we adapted, we made it work somehow. At some stage in your business journey though, improvising and making it up as you go along is no longer a viable approach. A more stable strategy is required as a platform for sustainable growth.

To the solo-preneur who is used to thinking on their feet and making decisions in-the-moment, this can be a challenge. However, it becomes particularly important once you have a growing team in place, because they’ll need clarity around their direction and purpose.

And that’s a key thing: clarity. More specifically, clarity around your purpose and direction.

What IS your long term vision, and can it be expressed in a sentence or two that everyone understands? What are your mid-term 3-5 year goals? What are you doing in the next 12-18 months to align with those 3-5 years goals?

From here on, your team becomes more actively involved in defining how the strategy turns into an actionable plan: How does this break down into quarterly goals for each area of your business? How do these quarterly goals translate into monthly actionable goals and tasks at an individual level?

At every stage, those involved should be aware of how their day to day work aligns with the overall strategic goals of the business. Get this right, and individuals are motivated and engaged because they can see where they are adding value and making a difference, and crucially where they are going. Get it wrong, and people lose sight of their purpose and direction. They’re more likely to become inward looking, task focused and fall into the trap of working in silos.

“You either control your mind or it controls you.” – Napoleon Hill

2. From holding on to letting go

At the start of your entrepreneurial journey, you had to be a jack of all trades: marketing – yep, that’s me. Finance? Me too.  Sales? Yes…that’ll be me. Service delivery and operations? Hmmm….yeah. Me. The irony is that whilst many entrepreneurs aspire to be able to step back from their business, most find it incredibly difficult to let go. It’s their ‘baby’, after all.

Whatever the size of business, a key factor in growth is for the founder to move from doer to delegator. But whilst in principle that’s easy enough, emotionally it can be hard. The stark fact is that other people won’t do things in the same way that you do but that doesn’t make it wrong.

One of the most useful things that an entrepreneur moving to business leader can do is be brutally honest with themselves as to why they struggle to let go. Are you worried that people won’t do the task as well as you can? Is it quicker to do it yourself? Do you simply not know who you could delegate to? Or do you just not want to let go of something you enjoy doing?

The practicalities of delegation and working through others are pretty straightforward – it’s the mindset shift of letting go that needs to happen first.

Ask yourself: What must you let go of in order to deliver results through others, practically and emotionally? How are you communicating your expectations of what you want others to deliver? (and would they agree with you?!) What does letting go free you up to do?

This last point is often the clincher that allows entrepreneurs to break out of the ‘gotta do it all myself’ rut – the realisation that you simply cannot become a business leader and grow your company if you stay stuck on purely operational tasks.

3. From working IN your business to working ON your business

The whole ‘letting go’ factor is moving towards one thing: the ability to focus on growing your business and moving it forward. The CEO role is fundamentally about building the skills to achieve through others so that you can fully embrace that senior leadership role, and focusing on what really matters.

However, at the outset of business growth, you’ll probably find yourself dragged back into the day-to-day fairly often. It’s vital at that stage to schedule in time to work on your business rather than in it – put it in your diary and stick to it. Yes it will be a juggling act to start with, but without a concerted effort to focus on getting things in place for your business’ next steps, they just won’t happen.

Your focus must shift from the day to day to the big picture, steering your business forward by providing the leadership and direction, identifying and removing barriers to growth and putting in place the things that your business needs in order to move forward; the right people, the right processes and systems, the right culture and day to day practices.

“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” – Peter F. Drucker

A word of caution, taking the long term, big picture view of the business leader doesn’t mean losing sight of the day to day. It’s important that communications within any business are two way, and that you’re gathering information from the ‘coal face’ (especially where customers are concerned) as well as clearly communicating aspirations goals and targets.

So is it time for you to shift? Is it time for you to move from solo-preneur / entrepreneur to business leader? Has the time come for you to no longer roll up your sleeves to swab the deck, splice the mainbrace or clean the bilge pump – but to become Captain of the ship? Work on your mindset first – the rest will follow.

For nearly 20 years, Annabelle Beckwith has been helping entrepreneurs, business leaders and managers around the world to build stronger, more productive teams and more profitable businesses by developing their leadership skills through training, coaching and consulting. Over the years, she has seen predictable patterns emerge for both business success and failure - patterns that are rooted not just in business practices and processes, but in psychology and the human condition itself. This experience - coupled with that of running her own business - gives her a remarkable depth of understanding of the challenges faced by those in leadership positions ....and breath of knowledge on proven best practice principles and techniques.

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While reflecting on the magnificent life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I began to uncover what truly made Dr. King such a powerful leader

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While reflecting on the magnificent life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I began to uncover what truly made Dr. King such a powerful leader. Many revere him for the change he brought forth so it’s no wonder that he was heavily influenced by the man who said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. He embodied that statement on the deepest level and lead people through one of the most challenging yet historic times in our nation. 

But what was it that made Dr. King’s movement so different than the rest? A quality that transcends ego and unites a people so divided? 

My greatest and most moving discovery while studying the life of Dr. King was the very answer to our question. 

Yes, he had the personality to be a leader, yes he had the bravery to use his voice, yes he evoked REAL change in government and policies, but the manifestation of all those comes from his willingness to lead a movement truly rooted in consciousness. 

A peaceful approach

Dr. King was continuously met with frustration, hate, and even violence by both law enforcement and those who wanted to fight for equality through violence. But the more violent things became, the more he dug his heels into a peaceful approach. Dr. King’s unwavering faith in the power to lead with peace and not violence is undoubtedly why his legacy is such a pillar of our nation still to this day. It is easier to fight.

Hate, anger and separateness from one another are primitive emotions on the emotional scale of well being but It takes awareness, understanding and elevated consciousness to move from a place of peace and understanding. Dr. King knew that we all have access to these states of higher consciousness and that our true power lies in a peaceful approach.

He is an example of the truest essence of our consciousness in this human experience. How to truly love your neighbor as yourself. 

Conscious compassion

Even the strongest opponents are human. Meet hate with love + compassion for the enemy” he said. It wasn’t his resistance to violence that made him a peacemaker, but rather his commitment to keeping compassion and connection to all humanity at the forefront of his movement. A profound understanding that underneath all the hate, violence and discrimination, we are all one. We all come from the same source and we are all human.

A conscious king

A man of his position, his power, his following could have been easily swayed by the human temptations of the ego. But he remained steadfast in his cause to bring forth real change. He understood on the deepest level that we are truly a stronger force in the universe when we move as one unit, with one mind, and one goal. That the separation from one another is the weakness of humanity. That our strength is in those things that unite us all, the qualities that give us life.

His success was in uniting not just the people of America but the consciousness of America.

No matter our gender, or our social class or our color, we all love, and we all seek peace. We all feel joy and happiness, we all want to be met with compassion and understanding. 

His cause went far beyond the need for physical freedom and equal rights. His cause was for freedom of mind, freedom of heart, freedom to be one. 

Lead with love

In his last speech he said, “I may not get there with you, but we AS A PEOPLE will get to the promise land”. And we will. At some point, we will inevitably come back to this oneness that we all come from.

The truth is? We don’t know when our last day is. Our last march. Our last speech. So this Martin Luther King Jr. Day I ask you, what will your legacy be? Are you leading a life founded in the principles of Dr. King’s movement, founded in the higher consciousness of humanity? Every moment is an opportunity to love, to show compassion, to bring forth peace and in the words of Dr. King “The time is always right to do what is right”.

Dr. King said, “I’m here to remind you, we’ve come a longggg way, but there is still work to be done”. 

And I’m here to remind you this Martin Luther King Jr. day in 2024 that we HAVE come a longggg way, but there is still work to be done. 

His fight is our fight. His mind is our mind. His spirit is our spirit. Rooted in the consciousness of all humanity. We are all one. And when we embrace the understanding of that, we will truly say

“Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank God Almighty, We are Free at Last”.

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