In Delton, MI, where I grew up, the dandelions are just going to seed. I know because I recently traveled back home to see my sister graduate from college, celebrate Mother’s Day with my mom, and visit the rest of the family. Despite the unseasonably cold weather (though hearing about the SNOW flurries this week reminded my thin South Carolinian blood and me that it could have been worse), it was nice to get the chance to relive spring (Here in Myrtle Beach, it’s Bike Week, the unofficial start to the summer beach tourist season).
You might be wondering why I would mention the dandelions, rather than the tulips, forsythia, dogwood, and peonies in full bloom. Don’t get me wrong; the flowers were lovely.
But here’s the amazing thing about dandelions: they can grow and even flourish, almost anywhere. Think about it. Those seed puffs get blown by the wind or by happy children making wishes and they start sprouting wherever they land, even in the cracks in the driveway. They don’t lie dormant waiting for the perfect growing conditions to come along.
There is a life lesson here: Right here, right now are the perfect conditions for growth because they are right here, right now.
So, ask yourself: Self, what can I do TODAY to start growing my business?
Here are some tips that I’ve been trying lately:
- Take a hard look at your priorities.
Start your work periods by tackling the most difficult item on your to-do list first. I’m as guilty as anyone of falling into the trap of thinking I need to get into “my grove” before I do that hard thing that I really don’t want to do. The problem is that doing one easy thing leads you to look for the next easy thing and so on. You feel immediately satisfied and productive, but you still have this big task hanging over your head at the end of the day. Not optimal. Also, if you are feeling overwhelmed and behind Every. Single. Day. It’s time to address the root cause of The Overwhelm.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
One reason you might be feeling overwhelmed and behind Every. Single. Day. is that you need help to accomplish all that you do. Is it time to hire someone to manage day-to-day operations? There are so many online possibilities for outsourcing bookkeeping, office management, website maintenance, marketing, *Ahem* writing *Ahem*, etc. Don’t waste time that could be better spent building your business doing tasks that could easily be delegated to others.
And if you need help figuring out where you need help, consider hiring a good business coach. I just met with my fabulous business coach, Gina, and I feel ready to take on the world. We created a dynamic business plan, which will need to be modified as the business takes shape. Because it’s designed to be dynamic, it’s not perfect, but it contains action items, concrete things that I can do now (like write weekly blog posts) to lay the groundwork for future growth.
- Trust your gut.
No one knows your business and your clients better than you do (yes, that includes your competitors who have been in business for 50 years). You and your brand are unique, so what works for others won’t necessarily work for you. If you see something creative you want to try, figure out how it would work for your business, rather than just trying to copy what they have done. Think about what inspired you in the beginning: you saw a gap in the market that you believed you could fill. At one point, you were probably your own future ideal client. So, try to put yourself back in that mindset and become your own living, breathing business avatar.
- Remember you are the best tool in your toolbox.
What are you good at? What are you most passionate about? If you can’t see a clear path to those things from where you are today, you aren’t making use of the best tool in your toolbox. You can take the easy way out and continue just getting by, but if you are still reading this post, chances are good that you are ready to try something else. Don’t let fear be the thing holding you back from realizing your potential. Dive in and figure it out.
My first job, back in high school, was working at a 99¢ movie theater. I loved that job. Seriously. I’m not going to sit here pretending that, at age 16, I learned a lot of big lessons about running a business (I was just happy to be able to put gas in my MR-2), but I do remember the pride I felt being out in the world earning a paycheck. I’m experiencing a similar feeling of pride now as I work to get my own business up and running.
Once when I was working at the theater, we moved the popcorn machine to clean behind it (for the first time in probably 5 years). Behind the machine, we discovered a tiny corn plant that had sprouted from a popcorn kernel growing up from a crack in the concrete floor. I uprooted that little plant, put it in a pot, and took it to college with me when it was time for me to move on. I guess I thought of it as my spirit vegetable.
So, in the spirit of corn plants and dandelions, I’m ready to bloom where I land. I’ve hung out my ‘shingle’ and I’m open for business.
Check out my services and tell all of your friends!