As business owners, it is very common that we start our businesses much differently than we run, maintain and grow them. Sound familiar?
What do I mean by this? Let me break it down in its simplest form. When we start our businesses, we have hundreds of ideas. We want to implement every one of them and we do our best to implement every one of them. We have fun with most all of them. We take risks. Our hunger is so strong! Coupled with our determination, we push ourselves in ways we didn’t think we could. We expand our capacity and in many cases have the mentality that nothing is going to stop us from accomplishing these goals.
Well, fast-forward three years to when you are established – income is steady and growth is moderate. We change. Our hunger, determination, risk appetite, and warrior mentality all drop somewhat and lose a good portion of that oomph that drove us in the beginning. The result? We have less fun and become complacent. The culture – which was once fun and energetic -becomes vanilla. Flat and predictable.
Here is the problem: We are still growing. We still have ideas. We still want to grow our companies, but we may not have the youthful energy to build!-build!-build! like we did when we started out. We have to consciously and conscientiously keep that growth mentality alive.
Here are five tips to get your business BACK in growth mode, up the level of fun in your company’s culture, and begin taking risks again on new, out-of-the-box ideas to grow both your company and your business.
1. Create a Fun Committee! This committee will be responsible for implementing one idea per month to up the fun factor in your workplace. It’s doesn’t have to involve leaving the office in the middle of the workday; but, it is about making the workplace environment more relaxed and, well, more fun. For example, encourage employees to pay a dollar to wear jeans on Fridays during the summer, then donate the collection to a charity. Perhaps your office can have a pajama day or sports jersey day instead (or as well). Steal ideas from your kid’s school – middle schoolers and high schoolers are always doing fun stuff at school. Encourage employees and co-workers to tap into their youth by supporting fun, youthful activities that don’t take a lot of effort.
2. Create a partnership path within the organization for younger people to see. Structure the criteria based on, not only the business they bring in, but the ideas they bring to the table to advance/grow the company. Make this a part of the inner lining of your company culture.
3. Show a movie in your conference room during lunch once per quarter. Offer popcorn and candy and make it enjoyable.
4. Have a potluck lunch or afternoon dessert hour. Nothing brings an office together better than a potluck. I know there are many germaphobes out there who might snub the idea; but, seriously, everyone loves it. We can think creatively about what to bring, perhaps make it from scratch, and then explore what others brought. It doesn’t get much better than sitting around a table, laughing, and stuffing yourselves silly. It’s easy to have a potluck lunch a few times a year, like around Thanksgiving, the end of the year, or some other time that works for you.
5. Host a Company Genius Hour monthly or quarterly. For this, invite people to come into the conference room and brainstorm ideas on how to take everything the company is currently doing to the next level or get thoughts on new and exciting things the company should be thinking about or doing. Google does this. It is a movement that allows people to explore their passions and help the company grow.
It is important to remember that it’s not about perfection. It’s about progress. I gave you five ideas, but the possibilities are endless. If you do anything after reading this, I hope it is to take action to get out of your comfort zone and tap into that start-up businessperson you have inside of you. Start taking more risks. Start thinking outside of the box. Start taking chances again! And, don’t be boring – no one likes that.
Lastly, if you really want to accelerate your growth, get a business coach. Whether it is me or someone else, just get a business coach. Get yourself someone who will hold you accountable and jolt you out of complacency. Find someone who resonates with you and start growing. Don’t look back on each year regretting that you didn’t grow the business, yourself or your people.
Thanks for taking time to read my blog. Have a great and productive day!