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4 Big Mistakes Business Owners Make During Growth & Expansion

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Did you start your business so you could scrape by and live hand-to-mouth for the rest of your life? Of course not. You want to thrive, not survive.

Nobody would put themselves through the entrepreneurial roller coaster if they weren’t ambitious, or had grand dreams of growth, authority, and success. Where you are today may be great, but it isn’t where you desire to be next month, next year, or five years down the line… right?

I hear you, and it’s a great mindset to have, because it is the only way to thrive in this fast-paced world. However, growth and expansion isn’t all rainbows and happiness. It poses real problems, which I discovered when I interviewed 163 successful people for my latest book, ‘The Successful Mistake.’

The problem with growth is, when you’re growing, everything zooms past you in a flash. You make quick decisions, you plan quick, and you improve quick (so you can continue your journey of growth). It’s a great position to be in, as it proves you’re doing something right.

Nonetheless, because of this you increase your risk. Mistakes, failure, and adversity become a real issue, and the stakes rise each time. Many businesses slip into oblivion during periods of growth, yet this does not mean you have to a statistic.

If you wish to grow and expand while you keep your feet on the ground, listen up. Avoiding these mistakes may save your business (and life):

1. Do Not Buy The Most Expensive Option

During periods of growth, you often have more money to spend. You’re keen to outsource and automate, and improve every aspect of your business. This can be done through tools, hardware, software, or people yet there are other things you should save your money for.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of buying what everyone else in your space has bought. It’s easy to lose sight of what you need, and instead buy what you want. You’re low on time so you buy the enterprise package. You can afford it after all, so why not go ‘all out’ and get the best of the best?

The answer is simple: if you don’t need to spend your money, don’t spend it. Mike McDermott and the Freshbooks team discovered this the hard way, investing over $1 million dollars into software they couldn’t make work for them. They could have gone in at a lower tier or used a different system altogether. In the end, they built their own system to fulfil ‘their’ needs. Just because you can buy the most expensive option doesn’t mean you should.

2. Do Not Listen to The “YES” Men

No matter what industry you’re in, the moment you grow and expand is the moment people start knocking on your door. Everyone offers their help, support, and opinion. It’s easy to lose yourself in your ego, delighted by this newfound attention. Some of these people (and the advice they offer) could help you continue your growth and expansion. However, much of it will be a mere distraction halting you in your place.

Steve Olsher experienced this during the dot.com boom. His business (Liquor.com) grew and grew, and investors and bankers offered their support. They insisted he needed help if he was to continue his growth, so he hired a CEO based on their promises.

These people gave him all the yes’ he could have asked for, but none of it helped as the dot.com crash hit. So if you find yourself surrounded by “yes men”, take a step back and ask yourself if they are the right people to continue your growth and success.

“I have a mentor. I have… guides. I have a lot of guides. Not a lot, but people whose opinions I really respect and who I will turn to.” – Jake Gyllenhaal

3. Do Not Run Before You Walk

Once you build momentum, it’s easy to get carried away. One win leads to another, so it’s important to keep the ball rolling. There is no rest for those in high-growth-mode, but there is a difference between moving quickly and choosing to run before you’re ready to walk.

My friend Arnold du Toit found this out the hard way, as his early version of ‘The Rolley’ went viral amongst the UK golf scene. People loved it. People wanted it. People began to expect it, so Arnold and his team made promises they couldn’t keep.

It lead to launching a subpar and unreliable product at an event where all the key movers-and-shakers attended. It was an opportunity for great press and prestige, but instead of a bang, they found a whimper. Of course, they learned and grew from this.

They improved their product, fine-tuned their target market, and continued to grow and expand. A mere bump in the road, but one that didn’t have to happen had they chose to grow with grace from the beginning.

4. Do Not Take The “Easy” Option

The biggest problem you face during growth and expansion, is the shear volume of decisions you must make. As such, you search for the easy option. This is never more apparent than when you have to build your team because you need people to help you. You’re low on time, high on stress, and this team will help you get through it all.  The problem is, it takes time to build an epic team.

Jordan Harbinger faced this issue when he grew ‘The Art of Charm’. What began as a humble podcast developed into courses, events, and workshops. Jordan and his partners needed help, so they turned to those they knew (friends, friends-of-friends, etc…).

It’s not to say you shouldn’t hire a friend, because your friend may be the ideal candidate. But there lies the key: they need to be the right candidate, not the easy one.

To an extent, this is an understandable mistake to make. Regardless, your sole aim as an entrepreneur is to make the “right” decision, not the easy one. To grow and expand your business is the aim of all aims, yet it’s a period thwart with danger. Although now you know what you know, you can tackle it with success built upon success.

“I never wanted to take the easy way, and I was always willing to hustle.” – Bebe Rexha

How do you carefully maneuver challenging times in your business or life? Comment below and let us know!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Are you completely new to networking?

Then this article is a great place to start. Networking isn’t hard on paper…you go along to online and in-person meetings, make new connections and build relationships, and those relationships lead to more work so you can grow your business! The challenge is that in reality, it isn’t quite so straightforward, as our emotions get involved and make things much tougher.

It’s incredibly common for nerves to creep in and to feel overwhelmed and apprehensive when it comes to networking – even when it isn’t new to you. But how can you become more successful at it, feel less self-conscious, and make networking work for you and your business?

Here’s a few tips to help you embrace every business networking opportunity you get, so you can grow your business and achieve your goals.

Rock up with confidence

If you want to keep those nerves at bay and ooze confidence at networking get-togethers, you’ll need to downplay it rather than seeing it as a big occasion. Try not to put pressure on yourself and see it as a casual meet-up with a bunch of people with similar goals to you. To help you relax in the run-up to the event, be sure to set achievable goals and expectations before you go.

Keep your chin up and your goals in mind – positivity is key. One easy goal for your first networking meeting is very simply to speak to one other person and see where the conversation goes. Introduce yourself and your business, but take the time to listen to their story, too. It’ll only take a few minutes and will be over before you know it, so it’s nothing to fear. You may even enjoy it and want to speak to a few more people, too!

“You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie

Where to go networking

If you’ve never been networking before, it might not be very easy to find a group – but only because there’s so much choice and you don’t know where to start your search! Groups come in different sizes and styles, so it’s important to find one that suits you and your business. Informal, formal, big, small… the choice is yours.

For your first meeting, start small to ease yourself in – a big group could prove too daunting, and stop you from feeling comfortable enough to get involved. After all, you want to make a strong first impression!

If you’re wondering which group to opt for in the long-term, give a few a go! Get a feel for them, speak to as many people as you can, and see which one suits! You’ll know when a group feels right for you, and you can see where those all-important relationships are most likely to be built. If a group doesn’t feel like the right for you, give a different one a go.

Get more leads and referrals

This will happen for you, as long as you put the effort into building those relationships. If you take the time to get to know people, and then check in with them and support them, they’ll see you as a trustworthy and reliable contact who they can call on. And when they feel that way, those leads and referrals you’re looking for will come a-knocking.

Once you’ve made relationships with people who you trust, and they’ve had a positive experience working with you, you can even ask for referrals! But don’t rush this, as you don’t want to inadvertently push people away or try and force the relationship along too quickly.

When you do get an opportunity to work with someone you’ve met at a networking group, go above and beyond to offer more value than they’re expecting, as then, they’ll be much more likely recommend you and introduce you to more of their contacts!

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