08 Jun How to Stay Connected to What Truly Matters when you own a Fast-Growing Business
A fast-growing business presents all sorts of new challenges. You may feel lost under the deluge of new work. It’s this loss of connection that can break a company when it’s right on the cusp of achieving success.
You may find yourself with a fast-growing business. Fast growth means higher revenue and shows that you’re doing something right. You’ve found your niche and can build a strong company based on it.
But there are several problems with fast business growth. You may struggle to manage your cashflow and fail to meet your customers’ needs.
Then there’s the topic of this article.
Business growth can lead to you losing sight of what made your business so special in the first place. You get lost under a sea of new work, reports, and responsibilities. The focus switches to productivity. In the process, you lose sight of your clients, your people, and yourself.
That can be a death sentence for any fast-growing business. You may lose yourself in the rush to expand, which means you could lose the people who got you to that point in the first place.
Staying connected to what really matters can be the key to managing a fast-growing business. One of my ventures offers the perfect example of this in action.
The Health Centre Rebranding
I operated an advertising agency in New South Wales that had a major healthcare provider as one its key clients. One day, they called us up to help them with a new campaign. The provider had undergone a sustained period of expansion. But they’d done it in an ad-hoc way. The growth was not consistent or cohesive, which had left them sending out mixed messages to the public.
The task was to create a branding campaign that offered a cohesive message. The provider wanted to realign its position within the community. For that, it needed to solidify its message.
With the brief created, we start to work on the project. For the next couple of weeks, we slaved over this presentation. Constant redrafts and edits took place up until the night before the pitch.
At midnight, I realised that we hadn’t achieved what the client wanted. All of the stress and anxiety had led to a pitch that didn’t cut the mustard.
This left us with a couple of options. We could plough ahead with the pitch that we’d worked on while knowing it didn’t serve the provider’s needs. Or, we could throw it away and go in fresh.
The day of the pitch arrived. I stood in front of our client and drew a big question mark on the whiteboard. I then proceeded to tell our client their story of how we’d worked so hard, just to come up with nothing.
During this pitch, I spoke about how I believed that what the client wanted covered far more than what their brief contained.
It was a risky move. Without being disrespectful, I told the provider that the brief made it impossible to achieve what they needed. I then proposed extra workshops and discussions so that we could really nail it down.
The CEO of the healthcare provider thanked us for our time as we left. I assumed that we’d lost the contract. The pitch was a disaster because we hadn’t really pitched a solution at all.
I’d just been honest with the client.
What I didn’t realise at the time was the value of that honesty. It’s what had brought us to the dance in the first place. Honesty was one of the key factors that had allowed us to create a fast-growing business.
I received a phone call from the CEO of the healthcare provider at the end of the day. He told me that we were absolutely right. The brief hadn’t covered everything that the provider wanted to achieve. Moreover, none of the other agencies that pitched had been so honest with them.
They’d crafted presentations that made themselves look good. But they hadn’t considered the provider’s needs. They just wanted the contract, rather than wanting to ensure the provider got what it needed.
In the end, we earned the contract through our honesty.
Connecting to What Matters
This contract represented a huge step that could result in fast business growth for my company.
It would have been all too easy for us to just craft a great-looking pitch that didn’t provide a service to the client.
But in doing so, I’d have lost my connection to what really matters to me. And that’s offering an honest service that achieves the client’s goals.
None of the other pitchers that day did that. They based their pitches on poor briefs instead of considering what the provider really needed.
I recognised that the brief didn’t cover enough ground. After that, it was all about having the courage and confidence to be honest about it. I stayed connected to our company’s core business values, instead of chasing the dollars that the contract would bring.
In doing that, my company earned both the contract and the trust of the healthcare provider.
This reinforces the point made at the beginning of the article. With a fast-growing business, it’s all too easy to lose that connection to what really matters. The constant chasing of figures and productivity reports may mean that you lose sight of the people behind them. You may find yourself only looking at the hard figures instead of the soft aspects of the business. But it’s those soft aspects that often help you to stay connected to what truly matters.
Tips for Staying Connected With Your Business
Thinking about my story has allowed me to break the connection issue down into three parts:
- Connecting with yourself
- Connecting with your people
- Connecting with your clients
Each feeds into the other. If you don’t understand your connection to yourself, you may not be able to create the vision that a fast-growing business needs.
You might also struggle to connect with your people if you can’t connect with yourself. They may not understand what you hope to achieve. As a result, you could lose those connections, which has a direct effect on your results.
Losing your connection with your people could also create business-wide problems. These may result in you losing sight of your connection to your clients. And if that happens, the business may not be long for this world. Your clients may instead seek out those who can form those connections, which could leave your business failing.
So, how do you maintain these connections when you have a fast-growing business? Here are three tips for staying connected to what matters during fast business growth.
Tip #1 – Don’t Neglect Yourself
As your business grows, it can encompass everything in your life. You may no longer define yourself by your interests and whatever it is that makes you who you are. Instead, your business could end up defining you and dictating your every action.
That’s sometimes a dangerous place to be in. You could lose sight of the forest for the trees. The values that you formed the business on run the risk of getting compromised. Moreover, your energy levels may tank as you have no way of escaping from the business.
I have a simple method for dealing with this. Every morning, I wake up early to take a walk. It doesn’t matter what I have planned for the day. I still wake up to take that morning stroll. Moreover, I spend that time listening to things that might inspire me. I’ll usually play some music or an inspirational speech as I walk. Sometimes I just listen to the sounds of nature that surrounds me.
Here’s what that stroll achieves. It gives me an hour or two each day to connect with myself. That stroll may be the only part of my day that doesn’t relate to my fast-growing business. The key is that it energises me because it allows me to connect to myself. The walk gets my body in gear while the content that I listen to broadens my mind. I’m not just thinking about the business. Instead, I’m connecting myself to what it was that allowed me to succeed in the first place.
It’s about staying centred and grounded. These morning walks allow me to approach my work with the right energy.
Find whatever it is that keeps you connected to yourself. This differs depending on the person. You may prefer a quiet cup of coffee in front of the TV. Or, you could spend an hour meditating before starting your day. It’s all about connecting to yourself so you can strengthen your connections to your people and your business.
Tip #2 – Convey the Right Energy to Your People
Connecting with yourself may be the key to entering work with the right energy.
It’s that energy that often helps you stay connected to your people.
If you’re anxious, stressed, and negative, your people may act in the same way. They may be able to detect the energy that you bring into the room. If it’s a negative energy, their own energies may reflect that.
That could be how you lose your connection to your people. They may no longer enjoy working with you because of your negative energy. As a result, they may not enjoy their work and you could end up with a cultural problem that affects your business.
A positive and refreshed energy should inspire the same in your people. Reconnecting with yourself may be the best way to get that energy. This may give you a better chance of keeping your best people in a fast-growing business.
Tip #3 – Never Lose Sight of Your Clients
Losing your connection to your clients may be the first visible sign that you’ve lost touch with the important stuff. Your clients might jump ship because you’re not providing them with the service they expect. That may happen because you lose your connection to yourself and your people. But you often don’t see that until your clients start to disappear.
Here’s an interesting stat for anybody with a fast-growing business. Acquiring a new customer can cost up to 25 times as much as keeping an existing one.
Yet many make acquiring new customers their main goal in achieving fast business growth.
It’s certainly important. But you can’t lose your connections to your existing customers along the way.
Howard Schultz realised this when he returned to the position of CEO of Starbucks. The previous administration had focused too much on growth. In doing so, they’d lost their connection to their customers. Schultz brought a customer-focused approach. This trickled down from the leadership to the entire organisation. As a result, Starbucks succeeded in maintaining its current customer base as it grew.
Maintaining your internal connections can help to keep your business running. But never forget about the most important connection of all. Your customers expect a certain level of service to match your brand’s message. Ensure you meet those expectations throughout your growth period.
The Final Word
Owners of fast-growing businesses often lose sight of the most important things. It’s their customers, their teams, and themselves that usually got them to that point. Losing your connections to those things under all of your work may be a recipe for disaster.
You may need guidance to ensure you maintain those connections. That’s where I can help.
During a 1-Hour Business Review Session, my aim will be to help you see hidden opportunities in your business. During the session we can discuss any aspect of your business in which you would like support, such as:
- Growth Strategies
- Sales and Distribution
- Pricing and Packaging
- Merger/Sale, Capital Raising, IPO
After 35+ years working with small and large businesses, buying, selling and growing them across a range of sectors, I can work with you on any level or area.
And it all starts with a no-obligation 1 Hour Business Review Session.