You’ve probably read Sue Townsend’s book about a troubled
teenager called Adrian Mole. As with so many adolescents males he worried
endlessly about size. He felt that success was something you could measure with a
ruler. He was of course wrong, because what you do carries far more weight than
what you have.
What has this got to do with growing a business I hear you
say? Let me tell you that it has everything to do with growing a business. I’ve
spent 30 years working with businesses that want to grow and can tell you that
for too many, growth is all about ego and nothing to do with common sense.
You see just as Adrian Mole wanted to look impressive, so to
do many business people. They want a shiny new BMW that will impress their
clients. They want a horde of forelock tugging employees and most of all, they
want to dominate the market with their products and services reach.
But think for a moment. Why did we start a business in the
first place? In my case it was prompted by redundancy. I wanted control over my
income, my time and my life. But as my business grew, I found it dominated my
time; as turnover grew my personal income reduced and worst of all, to secure
the investment we needed to grow, the bank took a charge over the family home.
Now I’m not anti-business growth, but I do think you need to
know exactly what you’re trying to achieve. Personal growth is in my book as
important as organisational growth. I wanted to become a better, more rounded
person and my business became the vehicle that made that possible. This led the direction in which my business
travelled and 18 years ago, I decided to sell the business and continue alone.
To help you focus on why business growth is so important to
you, ask yourself these questions:
1. What wealth am I trying to create and what will
I do with it when I’ve made it?
2. How important is family time going to be to me
and should I grow now, or later when the kids leave home?
3. Is my ego driving me or is there a logical,
rational reason for growing this business?
4. When will I exit the business and how can I
build that into my plan?
5. What do I want to be remembered for and why is
this important to me?
There are no right or wrong answers to these. But they
should prompt you to really understand why growth is important to you. The
conviction that you’re doing this because its right for you, will give you the
stamina and endurance to stay the course. Remember that this will be at times
stressful and self-doubt will at times haunt you.
Finally, remember that as Adrian Mole learned, it’s not
about size, but all about how you use your size to make the world a better