Most founders and business owners, who manage to get their business off the ground, will, at some point, face a great challenge – that of “scaling up” the business. The secret to successfully scaling the business lies within the founder’s or business owner’s mentality.
People call it the “growth mindset” and, if you, as a founder, don’t have it, you should get to work. The sooner you manage to shift your mindset, the sooner you’ll be able to effectively steer the ship in this new direction. Without this mindset, you’re going to either remain where you are, or worse, drag everything down and eventually destroy the business you worked so hard to create.
All the different stages in your professional career are accompanied by their corresponding mindsets. For example, when you’re an employee, your mindset is simple yet effective. You know someone else is rewarding you for your effort and results, while you’re waiting – usually – for that person to also give you a sense of goal or direction.
When you become an entrepreneur or a founder, because you’re supposed to create a business, a product-market fit, your mindset needs to change. You now need to find out people’s needs and create a product or service that fits them. Your effort is no longer that important or least nobody cares about it. You may work 2 hours a day (good luck with that…) or you may end up working 20 hours straight for 3 days and then taking a 2 day break.
That no longer matters. Your mindset dictates a new focus.
Let’s assume you are successful up to this point. You focus on your customers and you do EVERYTHING to get this venture off the ground. You are 100% in control. You are the one calling the shots, since there’s probably just you and maybe a co-founder or assistant. The business still needs your attention and care.
So, now your business is doing great, the market has validated your service and you’ve been adopting new customers and ironing out the challenges that naturally come with customer support, marketing, accounting and so on. Things seem great.
In spite of all of that, you start waking up frustrated. You feel growth is no longer the same as it used to be, you start to worry about every competitor that’s popping up on the radar, the fun is no longer there, burnout may set in…. Something has definitely changed.
You’re stalling. You’ve reached your potential. It’s funny though, because this is the exact time where the business needs to enter a more accelerated growth stage. Yet something’s holding it down.
News flash. YOU’re the one holding it down.
Your current mindset is. Your need to control everything is. Your focus on your personal revenue and your personal needs is holding it down – and this relationship with money is something that hasn’t likely changed since the employee mindset. Your lack of trusting other people. Your perfectionism. Your lack of hiring skills. Your focus on individual performance versus looking at the team as a whole. I could go on and on and on. Why? Because I had all those issues – and some of them… i still struggle with.
However, when you know what the “growth mindset” is, you know what beliefs and values you need to adopt.
The truth is that all successful big business owners have transitioned to a mindset that puts the business, it’s employees and it’s consumers first – in that particular order. The owner eats last. This may require lifestyle sacrifices and you have to deal with them. It may require the owner to let go of the fancy things he or she could buy, or the nice vacations. And a conversation with the significant other about this is required 100% of the cases. You need to put more money into your company than in your pockets.
Why? Because you now know the number one expense is human resource. Talented people are critical in growing the company, and talent is not cheap, but definitely worth it. As a matter of fact, trying to grow a company with mediocre or bad hires is like trying to swim with your boots on.
The growth mindset will also require you to let go of control and start watching things from 30,000 feet in the air. Focusing on overall performance and setting the goals are the first step. Then, trusting your team members, not micromanaging them and definitely not being a perfectionist is key. If you’re a control-freak like me… you’re going to be in for a hell of a ride!
You have a company to grow now and the mindset you needed when creating the business is 180 degrees from the one needed to scale it up.
Now… “How do I shift my mindset?”, you would ask. The same way you did when you shifted your mindset from an employee to an entrepreneur.
You emulated the people you looked up to. Now it’s time to choose a different set of mentors. People who not only created great services and products, but who were also able to build them into billion-dollar businesses. Reading books (especially auto-biographies), interviews and maybe even meeting them in person – tremendous insight that will help you get to that next stage.
Having a vision for what you want is going to pull you from above, but having the correct mindset is like being in an elevator and actually having a platform beneath your feet. The only other thing you need to do, if you have these… just be there and enjoy the ride.