One of my goals this year is to understand and make smarter decisions in growing my business. These past four and a half years of running LPS I’ve done an immense amount of work researching, designing, developing new products that I love and my customers find useful, networking with like minded small business owners, pitching my work to magazine editors. My goal each year has been to grow, grow, grow! Each year my business grew more than the year before. I reached my yearly goals and some years even exceeded them. Everything went according to plan up until last year…
During the first part of last year my sales were slow. I hadn’t done anything different from the years before if not put more work to it. Etsy sales were down (a third of what they were the first year of doing business). My website sales were pretty steady but still didn’t come near those from the year before. I tried different tactics to make up for my lost revenue the first half of 2012 (like working on my etsy listings, tags, descriptions, photography ) – some of it worked and some didn’t. I began feeling frustrated. Than I realized there was little I could do to control etsy sales, but I could and did control how much time I was putting into my business. Up until last April I was working in my business not on it! I had began feeling exhausted! I was hustling over the same things. I felt like I was running in circles (familiar feeling, right?). I had to re-invent the way I thought growing a business works.
I’ve always been a big fan of to-do lists. I get the biggest satisfaction checking items off my to-do list so much that some weeks I felt pretty obsessed with it. Checking things off your list daily will help you stay organized but it sure isn’t a long term strategy in growing your business. Growth requires using smart strategies to make your business more personal, more service driven. It requires discovering the path to greater success by actually doing less of the hard work. Growth comes when you step way back.
This is what I learned.
To me, growing my business means working less hours and spending more time with my family. It means being able to take a family vacation. It also means more freedom by giving myself permission to step away from it all every once in a while. Last year was not my most profitable year (on paper) but sure was my most fulfilling year to date. I was blessed with a baby. My second book got published. I did actually take a family vacation. All these things are priceless and can’t be measured against business revenue.
This year, I won’t be drawing up a list of big goals. Instead I will focus on finding the path to true success which I believe is the ability to make great impact and influence others. I will be sure to share with you all my thoughts and process here. I am interested to find out how you define growth in your own business? Is it by hiring a little extra help to lighten your load? Is it by attending that conference you’ve always wanted to? Or simply by shortening your working hours so that you can spend more time doing what gets you excited? If you care to share, please leave a comment below.
Here are some great post/resources that are helping me with my 2013 goals:
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