Now is the time when business owners start taking stock of how far they’ve come and start setting new goals for a new year.
It’s also a time when a lot of entrepreneurs make plans to abandon their hard-earned success to chase something less promising.
They don’t mean to do it. They just don’t realize they’re doing it. But it happens. A lot. I’ve done it myself. And it’s entirely possible you’re about to make the same mistake.
Before you dismiss this theory, ask yourself: Are you planning to focus less on a revenue stream that is already earning money so you can focus more on a project you have to start from scratch?
And if you are, why does chasing something new appeal more to you than building on current success?
If you’re like a lot of business owners, it all starts with your old expectations.
Expectation: The Invisible Force Holding You Back
You began your journey as an entrepreneur, with a theory about what success would look like for you. Maybe you wanted to become the number-one water cleanup company in your area, or you envisioned expanding your territory.
Even if you didn’t take the time to identify your specific expectations, you definitely had them. We all do, consciously or unconsciously. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Our visions of the future drive us forward and give us direction.
The problem is when we cling to the specifics.
Let’s say you wanted to become the number-one water cleanup company in your area, but you keep getting calls for mold. You start to feel like you’re not making it in this field because all these people you’re marketing water cleanup to keep calling the other guy.
So you look for success somewhere else. Maybe you’ll do better with a second business or a new partnership opportunity.
Here’s the issue: Success is already here. You’ve become the go-to mold remediation contractor in your community! It’s not what you expected, but clearly, something is working. Maybe it’s the quality of the service you provide. Maybe it’s a lack of decent mold removal experts.
Whatever it is, you are succeeding.
All you have to do is figure out why, double down on that advantage, and succeed more.
Are you missing great opportunities because you’re hung up on your expectations? If you're not sure, walk through these steps before setting your goals for the new year.
Step 1: Ask Yourself What You Expected
Actually take time to sit down and write about your expectations as a business owner. We assume so much about the future without even realizing it.
- How do I define success?
- How have I been measuring success in my business?
- What was I hoping to have achieved by now?
- Where do I feel like I’ve fallen short? Why do I see this as a failure to succeed?
With some self-reflection, you may begin to realize you’ve been looking for success under very narrow perimeters.
Step 2: Notice What’s Working
Odds are, you are already experiencing some form of success. You may not be ready to put a down payment on a second home in Malibu, but something in your business is going better than expected.
Take a minute to reflect on your business’s growth over the last year… or even since you opened. Look beyond your typical markers for success and consider things like:
- Have I discovered that my key revenue driver is something other than what I expected?
- Have I found new opportunities in a neglected service area?
- Who loves doing business with me?
- Has my reputation grown in the community? What are people saying?
- Have I seen improvement in the way our team works together?
- What new relationships have I created?
Once you see what’s working, ask yourself what’s holding you back from doubling down.
Step 3: Notice Resistance
Sometimes we get in our own way, not because we don’t recognize opportunity, but because we resist it. A lot of entrepreneurs have done this to themselves, including me.
Business has never been better. Leads are pouring in, your team is performing at their highest level, but something within you keeps pulling towards a new opportunity outside your business.
You tell yourself you’re diversifying, finding new streams of income. But if you dig deep, you’re likely to find that you’re just running away from what’s working… that something within you is resisting the steps you have to take to dive deeper into your business.
It might be that further growth means taking on new responsibilities that are unfamiliar to you. Or maybe you fear the risks and potential failure that come with expanding your business.
It could also be that you’re afraid of succeeding. Maybe you were raised to believe that money is evil or you worry success will drive a wedge between you and your friends.
Business owners rarely stop to notice their own feelings of resistance, because on the surface, resistance doesn’t make sense. Why would any of us own businesses if we didn’t want more money and more opportunities?
But trust me: There is a difference between what you want logically and what you feel deep down because of old, ingrained beliefs.
If you catch yourself making up excuses for why you can’t double down on what’s working, ask yourself what’s really going on. If this is the fastest, easiest way to reach your financial and life goals, why do you keep finding reasons to avoid it?
Once you’ve confronted the truth...
Step 4: Double Down
Challenge yourself. Push back against the resistance. Charge down the path you’ve cleared for yourself.
If you’re seeing a higher demand for a particular service, find more ways to meet the needs of customers looking for that service.
If you’ve made great connections with other home service professionals, work on establishing referral partnerships.
Take the most direct path leading to the life you want.
We are constantly overcomplicating our entrepreneurial endeavors. More often than not, the money and relationships you’re looking for are already here.
You just have to keep your eyes open and your spirit bold.
Be true. Be you. Be great