It seems as though every day the world is beginning to move faster and faster. Often times, in my career, I have seen entrepreneurs or business people with great products or ideas, but they lack one specific quality: patience. They want to rush and get their product out there, or move on their great idea. Moving faster and faster does not always equal success. Too many times it can actually lead to burnout.
Everyone knows the fable of the Turtle and the Hare. The lesson is simple, yet profound — slow and steady wins the race. Sure, that doesn’t work in a 100-meter sprint, but business isn’t a sprint, it is a marathon. If you want to grow your business and you want to sustain your growth, you must pace yourself and refuse the temptation to sprint.
Slow down, keep the quality
Some of the best cookies I have ever tasted in my life are Carol’s Cookies. I had the privilege to talk with Carol Goldman, the owner of Carol’s Cookies. Her cookies were named the fourth best cookie in America by People Magazine. Carol shared advice on her success and it boiled down to this: take it slow. She said, “I felt that the reason my business was successful…is because I started out slowly. My passion was at first was just a hobby…Making cookies, giving them out to people…I feel that if people start out slowly, learn how to promote their product instead of rushing into anything…” growth will occur.
Carol took the time and care to grow her business, working out of her own kitchen for years, and learning how to promote her wonderful product. But, the number one thing she taught me by sharing her wisdom of going slow was this: by going slow, she didn’t water down her product. “I have kept the quality,” she said. “I use the same ingredients as I used almost 40 years ago…. Every cookie is weighed and every cookie’s made by hand.” Quality trumps quantity every time—you allow yourself to keep the quality when you take it slow and protect the process.
Trying to sprint in business often results in corners being cut in order to keep up with demand. When corners are cut, quality drops, and your once good idea turns into a watered-down version of itself. Don’t let this happen. Go slow and grow big.
Take time to reflect
Slowing down also gives you an opportunity to stop and think. Through the hustle and bustle of the business life, the little things can often be overlooked. Things like the way you treat your employees or honoring the people who gave you your start all go a long way to helping you to sustain your growth.
In talking to Carol, she has grown her company from three employees to thirty. She recently had to hire a bakery manager because she couldn’t manage all of the employees and keep up quality. “I always felt like my employees were family. I did extra things for them, they did extra things for me,” Carol recalled. It can be easily overlooked, but the way you treat your employees will drastically affect your ability to grow your business.
Carol takes it a step farther too: she honors those who got her started in the business. She started in a small grocery chain, led by a man to whom she was introduced. Though this man no longer works for the grocery chain, Carol still takes him a tin of cookies every year as a gesture of thanks for taking a chance on her in the beginning. Small deeds like this make business personal. When you care about your business, it’s not just about charts and graphs and balance sheets—and that makes all the difference.
Slowing down and trusting the growth process allows these types of personal connections to take place and really brings the business down to a personal level. By creating a culture that employees love to work in can create a foundation that your business can flourish from naturally.
Reflecting can also allow you, as a leader, to do a little bit of soul-care and really align yourself with your people, your business, and your community. Take the time to reflect, and don’t push this time off with an excuse that you are too busy with other things. Taking the time to reflect, caring for your employees, and honoring those who helped you get where you are will take you to heights you never imagined.
- Business is a marathon, not a sprint — so don’t rush the process.
- Reflecting is a necessary tool that will help to grow you, your employees, and your company.
- Quality over quantity should be the mark of your growth. There is no substitute.
By following the example of the turtle set in the old fable or the pure example of Carol Goldman, you can trust that a slow process will be a better process. For the sake of your company, for the sake of your growth, take it slow. Take it slow and think through all the questions, have answers for the disrupters, and let the growth happen naturally. You cannot force it, you don’t want to force it, because it is your business and your business matters!