And how to avoid with them.
It’s often been said that building growing and running a business is like running a marathon. And in the marathon, some miles will go faster than others, and some miles will be harder than others. No mile will be the same.
While I have never run a marathon, I suspect that you probably run the first few miles at a faster clip than the next dozen. At some point your body starts to slow down and you get into a rhythm.
I think the same is true for building a business. During the first few years, you’re building up your steam, and putting it all on the line. And then, hopefully, things start to stabilize and you get into a “new normal”. And while you’re happy that you’ve gotten through the first few miles, you don’t have the same urgency or type of energy you have right at the beginning.
At this point, your business will likely stop growing at the same rate as the first few years.
Are you at this point in the journey? Are you happy with how your business is growing? Do you feel like you are starting to slide a bit?
If so, take a pause from the marathon, pull out a piece of paper and ask yourself two questions.
On the one side of the paper answer this question: If the tooth fairy arrived with a million dollars under your pillow in the morning with the condition that you had to invest it in your business, what would you do with the money and what return would you expect from the investment. If you have a strong answer, why aren’t you doing it? And if you don’t have a good answer maybe you need to really invest the time to ask why not?
On the other side of the paper ask yourself the question: what is your stretch goal for your business in three years if all your dreams come true. Then think about what ingredients in your cake you are missing to get there. It might be equipment, sales, a management team, acquisition targets etc. What capital infusion, if any, do you think you need to get there?
Now compare your answers on both sides of the paper.
My hope is that this exercise will get you out of your growth slump, and keep pushing onward.