We are so excited to introduce Episode 026 of With Grace and Gold: The Podcast — 3 Ways to Embrace Slow Business Growth — a business education podcast for small business owners and entrepreneurs. With Grace and Gold: The Podcast features 5-minute episodes with clear, actionable steps to guide you toward successful small business ownership. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Anchor, Spotify, or elsewhere!
According to an article from Australia Business News, research conducted by Yale University has shown that, over the past century, the average lifespan of a business has decreased by more than 50 years. On average, each new business has a lifespan of only 15 years.
The article goes on to explain that business owners’ fixation on immediate results and fast growth could be a reason why today’s businesses have a shortened lifespan; when business owners are focused on fast growth, they may lose focus on the ways they can build a strong foundation for their business, experience sustainability and longevity, or create a business that lasts decade after decade.
According to a professor at Princeton University, enduring companies share similar values and approaches within their businesses: redundancy, diversity, and adaptation. So, today, we’re going to explore 3 ways to embrace slow, meaningful business growth — 3 ways to create a successful business, rooted in sustainability.
3 Ways to Embrace Slow Business Growth
We want to begin today’s episode by saying, there are many ways to pursue small business ownership — many unique paths to similar destinations. Furthermore, the way you run your small business can be rooted in your values and the one-of-a-kind approach that sets you apart. Maybe you run your small business in a fast-paced way, or maybe you value “slow business.”
In today’s episode, though, we want to focus specifically on slow business growth — the ways small, intentional steps and thoughtful strategy can help you to experience success, sustainability, and longevity in your small business.
Embrace systems. When a client wants to book your services, what do you do? Is your process well-documented or stored in a project management system? How do you educate and inform your clients about the process they’ll journey through? Has your process been refined and refined to ensure it’s as seamless as can be for both you and for your clients? These are just a few examples of the questions we can ask ourselves about the systems and processes within our businesses.
Having systems for every area of your business — client processes, business housekeeping, adding new products to your shop — helps to build a strong foundation for your small business. Systems help your business run smoothly. They give you direction each and every day. They guide your steps and help you become more experienced, confident, and effective as the owner of your small business.
One step further, having systems in place is invaluable for the hiring and training of new employees within your small business.
All in all, embracing systems can help you to truly build the structure of your business and to ensure that everyone working within your business — whether you’re a solo business owner or you have a team — can work efficiently, effectively, and seamlessly day after day.
Embrace repetition. From the outside, small business ownership always look somewhat glamorous; setting your own hours, having ownership over how you use your creativity, and working from home are just a few of the many appeals of small business ownership.
But, chances are, if you’ve been a small business owner for awhile, you know there is so much more detail and tedium that goes into being a small business owner. In fact, with the systems and structure we’ve created at With Grace and Gold, our days are often filled with repetition.
Daily, we repeat our mission and values through our marketing channels, we journey through a well-established process with our clients, and everything we do is done with a system and structure we’ve already created.
Though repetition may sound, well, repetitive, it’s repetition that has allowed us to clarify our message, to provide a really seamless experience for our clients, and to know exactly what we need to accomplish each and every day.
So, if you’re wanting to build a strong foundation for your small business, first, create and refine your systems — and then follow your systems day after day. This repetition lays the groundwork for our next step:
Create a long-term plan. When small business owners begin their business journey, they often have big dreams about where they’d like their business to go. Some of the best advice we’ve ever received was: The business you start and run today doesn’t have to be the business you dream of it becoming.
In other words, it’s OK to start small, to build the strong foundation, to establish the systems, to repeat the processes — and to prepare for where you’d like your business to go.
As an example, With Grace and Gold began as a creative studio providing only brand and web design. After 3 full years of polishing our processes and our client experience, we created our Showit template shop. After 4 years, we created the With Grace and Gold Workshop for designers. After 5 years, we launched With Grace and Gold: The Podcast.
We’ve always dreamed of With Grace and Gold being a multifaceted business — a business we could continue to grow and manage as a team of two… but we didn’t begin our business journey with all of those facets already in place. Instead, we tried our best to build a strong foundation and to add those facets to our business in a strategic, balanced way.
So, create a long-term plan for your business. When will you — or will you — add layers to your business in the years ahead? What steps have to be taken in order for you to do so? Work backwards, and determine how you can make those long-term dreams a reality.