How to Grow Your Business With Way Less Effort
Business owners love to talk about how hard they’re working. Relentless, grueling work earns you a badge of honor in the entrepreneurial realm.
But on a societal level, there’s a new shift towards lifestyle balance. More and more frequently, you hear thought leaders and influencers talking about the importance of rest and having a personal life.
I believe both of these philosophies hold merit, but they both neglect the real issue.
If you want to grow your business to a point where you can take a break any time you want, it’s not about how hard you work.
It’s about how strategically you work.
You do have to be relentless as a business owner, especially when your business is new. But if you constantly work to optimize your process, you’ll make more headway with less effort.
This means you get closer to the place where you can take those dream vacations with your family. It also means you have a little room to take a weekend off now and then in the meantime.
Bottom line: if you’re constantly grinding and seeing little-to-no growth, it means you’re working too hard at the wrong things.
Here’s how to re-invent your process for bigger wins and less effort.
First and foremost, think critically about everything.
- What worked about the way I approached that?
- What didn’t work?
- Why did I get the outcome I got?
- What can I do differently next time?
- Has this effort done anything to further my business or my expertise? If not, can I change my approach to make the same effort in a smarter way? Or should I focus my energy elsewhere?
Notice where you’re excelling and where you’re slipping. Evolve your process in response.
Analyze the Numbers
Which marketing campaigns are succeeding and which are struggling. Where the weak links are in your operation. Which products or services are your primary revenue drivers.
Let the numbers tell you where to invest your resources and your time. If you see waste, stop wasting.
Numbers are powerful because they only speak the truth.
If you’re not a tech person, hire one, consult one, or learn how to be one.
Technology is one of the most effective ways to maximize profits while easing the load for both you and your team.
How can you use artificial intelligence to manage client accounts more effectively? Could technology provide your clients with an easier way to pay, sign agreements, or communicate with your team? Could you develop an app that addresses a pain point for your buyers?
If all these questions feel a bit beyond your understanding, check out this article on how to get past your discomfort with technology.
Cultivate Game-Changing Skills
Every business owner can name at least one thing they really wish they did better. They may even blame this gap in their skill set for their failure to truly succeed.
For you, maybe it’s networking. Or sales. Or motivating team members. Or managing money.
If you’re like a lot of entrepreneurs, it’s fear that’s holding you back. (More on that in a moment.)
But if you’re reading this and thinking, “When exactly am I supposed to fit in all this learning?”, I’ll let you in on a secret.
You can take it tiny bit by tiny bit.
A YouTube video on your lunch break. A podcast in the car. Ten minutes of reading in the morning.
Fit in what you can, when you can. You’ll be surprised how quickly it all adds up.
Zero in on Strengths
Okay, I know we just talked about how important it is to work on the skills you lack, but it’s important to note that some of those skills are non-negotiable, while others are completely negotiable.
If you can hire a freelance designer, you do not have to spend your precious time learning how to use Photoshop.
If your competition is gaining clout within the industry thanks to their great podcast, you do not have to work on your showmanship just to keep up.
Know what you do exceptionally well and build your professional efforts around that skill.
When business owners double down on their strengths, they see much faster growth than they would if they kept struggling to achieve competency in their areas of weakness.
Take a minute to consider this huge workload you’re carrying. Is there anything on your list that could be done more effectively with the help of someone else?
This could mean allowing a team member to take on a new project or grow into a leadership position. Or maybe you could run your process by a mentor or peer and ask for their advice.
It’s amazing how much simpler a challenge becomes when we enlist the help of someone else, even if all they can offer is another perspective.
Choose to Be Proactive
You know you have a reactive mindset if nearly every decision you make in a given day is a reaction to something outside yourself.
That something could be a problem, a request, an opportunity you impulsively chase… anything that makes you feel like you have to 1) respond immediately 2) in a way that risks the least amount of pain.
This is not how you grow a business. This is how you maintain the status quo. Reactive decision-making is, by its very nature, the practice of doing what you have to do to stay afloat.
The more powerful choice is to be proactive. This means every time a decision must be made, you ask yourself, “How do I use this situation to grow my business?”
That doesn’t mean you ignore problems. But it does mean that you give yourself a beat to breathe, calm down, and think.
How can you turn this scathing client review into an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to customer service? What can you do to find a rockstar replacement now that your sales manager unexpectedly quit?
Embrace the Fear
Finally, to accomplish all the tips above, you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Optimizing your process means expanding your comfort zone, making bold moves, and being humble enough to learn from others.
And I’ll tell you this: if you find yourself making excuses for why you can’t make a move that you know will benefit your business, those excuses are BS. Look deeper. I can almost guarantee what’s really going on is fear.
The move you’re imagining is unfamiliar. You’re not sure you’ll succeed at it… or maybe you think you know you’ll fail. (Most of our “limitations” are all in our heads, by the way.) You absolutely can make the effort. But your inner resistance is strong.
Conveniently enough, that resistance is also pointing the way to your best next move.
So lean into your fear. Be bold.
And get more out of that admirable work ethic.
Further Resources on This Topic
Free Video Course: Accelerating Business Growth
Free Tool: Business Plan Wizard
Free Ebook: Career-Defining Goals