Small Business Owners: If You’re Not Growing, You May Have a Foundation Problem

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Carmen Morehead says that building a big business doesn’t require tape and scissors


In order for you to have a big vision for your small business, you have to THINK big, BE creative, BE driven! It’s all about “Go Big or Go Home” if you want to play with the big boys, right? So, that’s why I’m known to my kids as the “go to” person when it comes to the creative aspects of their homework. I don’t do anything half-way; which is why they come to me. My 3rd grader was given a science experiment to do at home. We recently had been to Chicago and experienced the Skydeck at Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) so it was no surprise that he chose “Tall Tower”.

Details of the Task

To build the tallest tower possible using only these materials: 1 piece of 8.5 x 11 paper, 12” of tape, Scissors. We also had to build it in 1 hour and it had to free-stand for at least 10 seconds.

Experience has taught me that the pre-planning stages would be the longest phase of this task. Patience is not my son’s strongest attribute. His thoughts; get the paper and start cutting.

We did some research on the internet to get some ideas. After all, we wanted to get the most out of our one piece of paper. And, if someone already has the answer, why recreate the wheel? We never actually found an exact blueprint, but found that we would use most of the paper as the base and as we moved upwards, we would create spires that would decrease in length and width.

• We did it; 42” in height and the tower stood alone indefinitely (as long as you didn’t cause any turbulence in the near vicinity)! And, we had leftover paper!

• What he needed was a helper, not for me to take over. There was a point he did say, “No one is listening to me!” And because I heard him but didn’t acknowledge it the way he needed me to, he went back to our most perfect tower without me knowing and put on another 5” of tape where he decided extra bonding was needed. The result of that was too much added weight and a tower that no longer stood. Not only that, he decided to put it under the table (he thought it would be more safe) causing a bend in one of the spires, which then compromised the stability of our entire tower. (I want to note that even as a perfectionist, I couldn’t help but I laugh at the situation.)

• Our most notable learning; the base is by far the most important piece of the structure. A tripod was our design. Just when we thought we had a reliable base, we would add another spire, and it leaned heavily. We had to fix our attention on the base and add supports to it before moving onto the next level.

Enlarge your Vision; Enlarge your Business; Enlarge your Influence

• “A failure to plan is a plan for failure.” ~ Benjamin Franklin.

GrowthCLUB is your chance to step out of the business and get focused. At ActionCOACH, we’ll work with you to map out a winning game plan for the next 90 days. You and your team will get back to your business with a clear direction and new tools to achieve your goals faster.

Had we gone with my son’s first unplanned tower, it would have maybe stood 22”. His vision was limited by his experience or lack thereof; that’s where I helped out. I pushed him to think bigger, larger, beyond what he didn’t even know existed. So, how are you enlarging your territory? Do you have someone pushing you to think outside the status quo or exceed mediocrity?

• What kind of foundation is your business sitting on? A faulty foundation is no foundation at all. ActionCOACH will teach you the gradual step by step process that will get you out of working IN the business and get you working ON the business. The first step, Mastery, is all about putting the foundations in place so the business is staged for growth; this includes:

1. Money – Do you know what your break-even point is?
2. Time – Do you go through your day working your tail off only to have achieved nothing?
3. Delivery – Do you deliver consistent and reliable customer service?
Once you have stability in your tripod, when, not “if”, but when you have a challenge in one of these areas, you can pinpoint the exact area of weakness and adjust where needed.

• Get your TEAM on board! Just because you hired them doesn’t mean they automatically know the big vision you have for your business. You need to communicate that to them or they will take a perfectly good business and add more and more tape thinking all the while that they are helping and contributing in a positive way, when in fact they are doing the opposite. And the one person to take that responsibility is YOU, the business owner. If you want them 100% committed, they have to know and buy into the vision in which they are committing.

1. Make sure your companies Vision, Mission, and Culture statement are clearly defined and communicated.
2. During the hiring process, hire those that will be a good fit into what your ideal company looks like, the role they will play to get you there and the rules by which you’ll operate.
3. If you need brainstorming, involve your team in on the Culture Statement.

That’s exactly what Zappos did.

If you take the time to plan; if you take the time to master the foundation; if you take the time to include those that are helping you build your business up, it will be so much easier to make calculated risks and step out on the ledge knowing you’re standing on firm footings.

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