LinkedIn recently reminded me it was three years ago that I left my corporate job leading communications and marketing to pursue a dream of owning a business. In that time, I’ve realized it’s true that owning a business is a bit like riding a rollercoaster.
There are intense highs when things come together in magical ways and similarly challenging points when things don’t come together quite as you had hoped. There are also seemingly quick changes in momentum, periods of slow climbs and rapid successes, leaving you to either think “again” or “never again.”
After three years and my fair share of twists and turns, my business is now growing in ways I never expected. So, I wanted to share a few of the things that have had the greatest impact on me in hopes that they can help you grow your business to new heights. Here are three of my aha moments turned growth hacks.
Know your purpose.
When I started my business, I foolishly assumed you update your LinkedIn title and business happens. Sure, people might reach out to you, but there’s a follow up question. What do you do? For at least the first year, my response was something along the lines of: what do you need? All the while in my head knowing I couldn’t grow a business without an actual point of view.
Defining my purpose has been the single most important thing I’ve done to grow my business (and why I am so passionate about the value of purpose).
From that point on, everything changed. It changed the conversations I had with people and how I pitched business. Establishing my company’s purpose made me more efficient with my time and gave me a framework from which to create processes and build tools. It helped me make better decisions and gave me a clearer path forward.
Most of all, it inspires me to keep going.
Find a coach or mentor.
After defining my purpose, working with a coach has probably been the most transformational thing I’ve done to grow my business. Just like in sports, much of the success in business is mindset. In three years, I’ve learned that what you think is just as important as what you do.
Coaches and mentors help you arrive in new places faster. I heard this on a podcast and couldn’t agree more. Great coaches don’t give you the answers, they give you the tools to get to the answers quicker. If you’re not sure whether coaching is right for you, you might enjoy this conversation between Eric Schmidt, Former Executive Chairman and CEO of Alphabet Inc. and Tim Ferris about one of the most influential business coaches in Silicon Valley. Great listen, and this book is first up on my summer reading list.
Build a community.
Owning a business can be isolating at times, especially in the beginning when you’re wearing all the hats. I learned quickly that I needed to find people who could relate to where I was and what I was experiencing.
Three years ago, I started having coffee with a friend, who was just starting her business as well. Each time we met, we shared our experiences. Everything was fair game from on-boarding clients to creating business cards to quarterly taxes.
Over time, we started inviting more people to these coffees. Today this group is almost 20 people strong and we still meet to share our experiences growing a business. I have connected with and reconnected with some absolutely amazing women.
Regardless of the size of your business I see a lot of opportunity for businesses and leaders to develop communities. Part of creating purpose is about connection. In today’s changing business landscape, connecting people to what you believe will move your business forward in new ways.
Statistics say that only half of small businesses make it to year five. As I enter year four, I have some crazy big dreams for this business. I know the hills will get steeper and ride will get faster, but I’m ready. And, I look forward to sharing more growth hacks and aha moments as I uncover them.
What are your favorite growth hacks? Share them in the comments!