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Wednesday, 18 February 2015 13:38

“I want to grow my business, but I’m just not quite sure where to start.” I hear this or similar statements all the time. Most business owners I know devote a lot of blood, sweat, and tears towards creating a successful company. They are proud of offering desirable products and services to the marketplace, supporting their family and those of their employees, and accomplishing something significant in their local community. In other words, they are trying to build something special.

But let’s be honest. As the business transforms from a start-up idea into a stabilizing enterprise, successful business owners want to make more money and, at the same time, regain control over their lives. Maybe they want to use the new found freedom to spend time with family, or to reengage with favorite pastimes, or maybe even to start or buy other business opportunities. So to most entrepreneurs, a successful business equals a more fulfilling life! The more it grows, the more freedom a business owner has. As a result, growing their current business now becomes their top priority. Maybe you can relate.

Now we all know that a lot of businesses close their doors every year and not all businesses make the cut. If you’re among the ones that did, congratulations! But now what? If you are like many businesses in Northeast Pennsylvania, your company is somehow tied to the natural gas industry. For you, the question should not be “will my business continue to grow?” but more along the lines of “HOW will it grow?” and “WHAT will it grow into?”

Think of an infant for a moment. As long as a baby receives basic care and nourishment, it will grow. That’s the natural order of things. From infancy to childhood to adolescence to adulthood, development is “a sure thing”. In other words, as long as basic needs are met, growth is inevitable!

How each child grows up and what he/she grows into, however, is enormously dependent on what kind of environment, experiences, and influences shape him/her. Will the child be raised in a nurturing home, or in a neglecting environment? Does the child have strong parenting leadership or one of random directed life? Will it be a positive experience, or one filled with unnecessary pain and hardship? How these questions are answered serve as a good predictor to how the child matures into adulthood.

It’s the same with your business. Growth will happen, but how do you “get there?” Will you make needless detours on the way to achieving the success you’re looking for? Will the growth take longer than is really necessary? Or will you be actively leading the growth and direction of the business? What decisions are you making? Just as important, what decisions are you not making? How these questions are answered are also a good predictor of how your business will grow and what it will grow into. 

One of the common complaints I hear from business owners is “This isn’t what I signed up for!”. Translation: “My business has become something I never planned for. This isn’t what I envisioned in the beginning.”  Maybe you can relate or maybe you’re not quite there yet.

Remember… the burning issue here isn’t so much whether your business will grow or not, but rather how it will grow and what it will grow into. That means your top priority as the owner of your business is to make sure it grows on purpose and by design, and not by accident. To make this happen, your number one priority is to stop working IN your business and start working ON your business. Lead your company into the future that you envision! Don’t let your business grow without the proper leadership required to build a successful company and a more fulfilling life!

Many area businesses are impacted either directly or indirectly by the expected boom and bust cycles common in the natural gas energy industry. To survive, most must plan accordingly. How is your business growing? What is it becoming? Those are the crucial questions you should ask yourself today.

Submitted by Edgar T. Warriner
Owner/Founder of Elk Advisors Group
NEPA’s Premier Business Coaching Firm
www.facebook.com/elkadvisorsgroup