Growing is hopefully a natural part of your business, but for most small businesses it happens almost as an afterthought. When we start our businesses, we think about success but we don’t consider that success means that we are going to have to grow our business by staffing and strategy it as well. In an age of 1099’s here is what I learned to ask myself through a meaningful lunch conversation.
What do you want out of your business?
If you want to do the business development and be the face of your company then you are going to have to bite the bullet and find a pool of consultants that you can pull from to staff projects. This is easier said than done, you are going to have to take the time and find someone who you know will complete projects at the same level you would and someone who you would gladly have represent your company.
What’s in it for you
I know that my job as a CEO is to grow my business and my bottom line. Those things are hard to do when you are the one working on the project. If you like the desk scene, it’s time to find a partner who is social and can do the business development for your company. The one thing you understand as a business owner is that the contract is eventually going to end and you need to find ways to keep food on the table.
Networking solves most of your problems
Now I am a natural born introvert, networking is extraordinarily difficult for me. But you wouldn’t know if from looking at me at an event. I smile, I’m outgoing because I understand what’s at stake. Business is all about relationships and even though I want to run and sit on my couch I can’t, not if I want to keep working. I believe that value is real when you are helping someone out and my networking has created more projects than my marketing plan. You need a project replacement, go to your network. You need a new vendor, go to your network. You need advice, turn to your network.
As my colleague said to me, ‘Once you hang that sign on the door, you are no longer a consultant. You are a business owner and you have responsibilities’. You have a responsibility to your company to do the best job you can every day and sometimes doing the best thing for your company means finding people who are better than you. Sometimes it’s going to mean stepping outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes it means having drinks and smiling when all you really want to do is sit on your couch in your sweat pants. Whatever it means to you, your company demands it.