There are certain milestones in our business that when reached tempt us to think that we have arrived. The day you get investor funding, pay off a sizable business loan from a bank, accumulate a strong social media following or sign-up a big client, can all feel like momentous achievements.
But the reality is they are only the beginning, the climb is up ahead. If your business is not built on continuous learning, you are unlikely to overcome oppositions and setbacks when they inevitably come your way. Peter Irvine, Executive Coach for Business On Purpose, unpacks why business must be seen as a journey and not a destination.
The danger of drawing back
Do you have a bigger purpose driving your business? Without a clear vision for your business, the pull to settle down, relax or even let things go can be strong once you have reached a position in your business that you consider successful. Especially after midlife, it can be easy to want to coast and rely on the wins you enjoyed early in your business. That’s where compromise and complacency settles in. Drawing back, however is not an option if you recognise that your business is to be a ministry and blessing to others. I like to tell my clients that the business should be built to be ‘light and salt’ in the marketplace.
While working as a Director in an advertising agency, I recall the times where the staff and I would spend many months preparing to win a major account. I remember the exhilaration when you do land a major account and feeling rewarded for all the hard work. As a leader, I had to learn how to re-energise and rejuvenate my team to move forward almost immediately from that win. It’s easy to sit back after an adrenaline rush and lose your momentum. At this point, the risk is that your employees take their eyes off the ball and stop supporting existing clients so you end up with a door welcoming new clients but another door where clients are exiting.
Your thinking shapes the size of your business
When you think that you have made it, the temptation is to put the brakes on, believing that everything will magically fall in place. It’s extraordinary to witness in business when the business vision remains small, short-term growth doesn’t not translate into sustained growth.
While working in the advertising industry, I would from time to time see two agencies decide to merge together. On paper, they would have double the staff, double the budget. But rather than becoming a bigger entity, it wouldn’t not take long for the new agency to actually shrink back to the size of one of the former agencies. Why? The small thinking or ‘ceiling’ thinking by the management could not embrace the growth and expansion.
The only way to grow is to be committed to continuous learning
When we stop learning, we have no capacity to draw from when we do face opportunities to grow. A lot of life is about preparation and if we don’t take seize moments every day in our lives to invest in broadening our horizon, when we are faced at a crossroads to either grow or shrink back we will choose the easy path that leads to retreat. Here are 5 habits that have proved to be helpful in building my knowledge and business capacity.
1. When You Hear a Speaker Take Notes
Whether it’s at church, an industry conference or a business luncheon, God often speaks to us through other people. Always take notes so that you can process new trends and business concepts. One of the big ways to avoid small thinking is to listen to people with a different perspective to give you inspiration on how to invest in your kingdom business.
2. Learn to Use Your Car as a University
We live in a time where the only thing constant in business is change. Don’t waste the commute to work, use the time to listen to a new podcast about what market leaders are doing to become more agile and adaptive to changes such as technology advancements, digital disruption and the growth of freelance workers.
3. Read and Learn
We are in a knowledge economy and a great way to keep up to date with new business models is to read widely. Schedule time in your day to read and learn about market trends. Do you know renowned US investor Warren Buffett spends 80% of his day reading! You don’t have to spend that much time but it certainly helps if you want your business to grow.
4. Apply at Least One Idea
There is so much new information to feed off, especially living in an online world, but if you are to gain fresh wisdom and insight, you should invest in implementing at least one idea that you have read or listened to, so that it doesn’t just become head knowledge.
5. Sow Positive Things Everyday
Who are you listening to? Everyday we get reports from the media, from other business associates and friends. But we also get reports from the Word of God. We’ve got to make a decision on who we are going to listen to. In the Amplified Version of the Bible, Jeremiah 49:14 says:
Too many Christians and business people listen to the media too much. A few years ago a young businessman asked me “Peter, what should I do about the Global Financial Crisis?” and I promptly responded “Stop watching the news!” He laughed at my response but I became quite serious with him and shared that a few months prior, I was getting stressed out anxious from consuming too much media. The negativity started to be reflected in my attitude and outlook and was damaging my relationships with other people. I had to stop feeding off negative news!
What you sow you will reap. Learn to be someone that encourages with good reports not bad reports. This doesn’t mean that you approach life with blind optimism but it does mean that you don’t live with a negative mindset that is filled with fear about the future. Invest in a kingdom mindset and you can have the hope needed to face success and failure. It also helps to invest in a community of Christian business owners that have a Kingdom mindset and can encourage you on your business mission.
About Peter Irvine
Peter is currently offering business coaching through Business On Purpose, assisting entrepreneurs and business owners in navigating the challenges and opportunities they face in running their business.
He is passionate about seeing people come alive and establish a purpose beyond themselves that motivates and stretches them.
Visit businessonpurpose.com.au to find out how Peter can offer coaching for you in your business.
Images in this article have been sourced from Shutterstock.