Last week, I read with interest a three part piece in SmartCompany on the 7 stages of business. It got me thinking about how and where we’re heading in our businesses.

So many of us got into business to ‘escape’ the 9-5 grind only to find ourselves working 7-10 often 6 or 7 days a week. But despite the grueling efforts we put in, there’s something wonderfully fulfilling that comes from it. Our businesses not only provide scope (and let’s face it, sometimes tethered reality) for our efforts and funds for our lifestyles, they also contribute significantly to the wellbeing of others – our clients, suppliers and staffers and the economy more generally.

But more than that they allow us to hang our personal dreams on our businesses – where can we go, what can we achieve, how can we change the world. What’s not to love about that?

Staying One Step Ahead of The Game

In the Smart Company piece, Dennis Roberts talks of business owners only needing to be one step ahead of the business game. So if you’ve got the seed of your business idea or have actually started your business, you only need to be thinking about starting up or your first phase of growth. These are widely regarded as the two most exciting parts of the business building process – but they can also be the most daunting. So many things to do, so many ideas to harness – oh and you have to begin making some money too if you’re going to take your idea beyond idea stage into being a business.

Growth Can Be Scary

Once you’ve got your product or service and figured out a working model for making income from it, employing staff can be one of the scariest steps you, and any other business owner, will take. I remember my first hire and the sleepless nights that ensued. But if you’ve done your due diligence, hiring the right person or people can take you to places that you’ve only imagined.

These days of course there are other ways to ‘hire’ staff and you can take baby steps along the way – such as outsourcing to virtual teams (link). I loved Roberts’ reference to a native American proverb – If you want to go fast go alone; if you want to go far, go together. I can’t think of any successful business owner I’ve met that would disagree with that sentiment.

Help is a Key Factor in Achieving Real Growth

In the 12 or so years since I started SOI, we’ve seen many, many of our clients’ businesses go from early start-up phase to significant players in their industry niches. Almost all of them have started as one or two people and grown from there.

I’m in a hugely privileged position to be able to watch their growth over time. Sometimes they require larger space within SOI, more assistance – virtual or otherwise and other times, they outgrow us and move on to their own premises housing dozens of staff. It’s something that never ceases to inspire me. And in all that time, I’ve seen few, if any create real, lasting, sustainable business captaining a team of one.

So if you and your business are at that point in time where you’re looking to grow to that next level – stop and think – are you aiming for fast or far? If we can help, we’d love to hear from you.