Everything grows. Or else it dies. This universal truth is especially applicable to small business.
A small business is a living thing. It’s your living thing, and maybe the thing that supports the living of others. Every small business that is in existence came to be because of a dream, a plan, and some action. Every plant that is in existence came to be because of a seed, water, and nutrition. Your small business is quite like the plant. The seed of your small business was your dream, or vision. This dream varies for each person, but nothing can begin before it is first created in the mind. Many things are created in the mind. Most of us have had several million dollar ideas. We all are endowed with creative minds. Nothing can happen without this. Obviously, the creative mind alone – the dream – cannot of itself come to fruition. In fact, the vast majority of ideas go dormant for the sole reason that a plan never fertilized the dream.
A dream fertilized by a plan becomes an embryo. A seedling. Life has entered into the creation. It’s real – but it’s fragile. A seedling can sprout in a rock, or a gutter, or a brick. The seedling has to have good soil and nurturing, or else it withers away. It never actually becomes a small business – but it has come close. To become a living small business, some action is necessary. A building must be leased, or a web site must be built, a business license must be had – there is always action required for the seedling to become real.
This is pretty simple stuff. Anybody who has a small business has already accomplished all three things. The next problem is growth. A small business without growth is dormant, and will soon die. Here is the problem we entrepreneurs seem to encounter. We did the right stuff. We started a business. We gave it life. But the growth seems stunted after awhile. We work long hours yet see our livelihood on hold. The next level seems out of reach. We begin to gasp for breath. Something must be missing.
Usually, the missing element is the plan for growth – along with the requisite action. The water and the soil. We gave birth through hard labor, but giving birth alone is not enough. It is not the end we sought. However, in the world of business, it is too often the end we created. This is because our day to day work blunted our ability to dream, ended the needed planning, and vanquished the necessary action. This is called stagnation. Lack of growth. The inability to reach the next level. This is the primary danger point for most entrepreneurs.
While the initial dream may be solid, the planning and the action needs to be continuously reviewed, revived, and updated. The dream, or vision, itself needs to be revisited frequently to provide the needed fuel for the planning and the action.
These three elements cannot be separated. If stagnation is visiting you, take some time to dream your dream.
Author: Robert Pruitt