Have a think about your approach to your business right now. Are you in maintenance mode or growth mode?
Which of these two do you connect better with? You must look in the mirror and make a conscious choice about this because they are two different mindsets, and whichever approach you take will affect each and every decision you make in your business.
If you’re not clear about which mode you are in, you could be headed for trouble. What outcomes are you focusing on, and how do they relate to your strategic plan?
Given you are trying to boost productivity in your business, which mindset do you think will serve you best? You may think you should be in maintenance mode, treading carefully and being conservative, and you can worry about growth later. But let me tell you something right now – you should always be in growth mode.
That’s right, always.
To be in growth mode means you are focused on the future. You should have two-year, five-year and ten-year goals and shorter term targets along the way that you know will get you there.
Being in growth mode means having a strategic plan that is the basis for all the decisions you make. It means having the right people who will grow with you, and the right physical environment that takes into account your future needs, so you won’t have to scramble together unsatisfactory solutions at the last minute.
Remember that the short term is just a step on the journey to long term, so you must always be clear on your destination. You must see the opportunities before you and not just the costs.
Focus on the cost of opportunity, not the cost of growth, and be prepared to take a short-term hit for long-term gain.
COST OF GROWTH VS COST OF OPPORTUNITY
We all know that there are going to be costs involved in taking your business to the next level. How you approach those costs will be pivotal to whether your business goes to the next phase or languishes where it is now. There are two different mindsets you can have when you look at costs: you can see them as the cost of growth or the cost of opportunity.
Let me explain.
Being in cost-of-growth mode means having a short-term outlook and seeing everything purely in terms of dollars spent. You have an expense mindset. You look at each decision and say, ‘Geez, I’m not sure I can afford that right now,’ without looking further into the future and recognising the long-term benefits of spending that money. When you are in cost-of-growth mode you are holding yourself back and limiting your horizons.
When you look at decisions as opportunities and not simply costs, your whole horizon will expand. You are clear about where you are going and you are moving forward within the market that you are targeting. You are reaching out and grabbing the opportunity, rather than letting your fears hold you back. You have an investment mindset.
Let’s have a look at an example.
Let’s say you run a professional services firm and you are considering expanding to a larger office as business has been good and you think you are on the right track. Your productivity is growing, you have the right team, the trends are all good. If you are in cost-of-growth mode, you’ll do all your sums and decide that maybe it doesn’t quite add up.
Maybe you’re not quite ready after all. Maybe you don’t have the financial resources to pull it off right now. You might next year, but not now. Or maybe you think your current little office is where you belong. Maybe you’re not willing to go to the edge of the cliff.
But if you are moving forward with clarity and confidence according to your strategic plan, you will not see expansion in a new location as a cost but as an opportunity. You will understand what the new location will bring – it will make everything bigger and better and launch the next phase of your business.
Perhaps the decision will hurt you in the short term – there may be an impact on your finances, your operations – whatever. But sometimes you must go two steps backwards to go four steps forward. If you’re in cost-of-growth mode you will just see the two steps back, but if you’re in cost of opportunity mode you will also see the four steps forward. This is how you grow a business.
It’s not a licence to throw money at something every chance you get, but it is about being bold and backing yourself if you’ve put in the hard yards and you understand the opportunity.
Power to you!
Founder, CEO - Business Benchmark Group
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Stefan Kazakis on 5 May 2018
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