I don’t know about you, but when we started With Grace and Gold in 2014, the last thing we had on our minds was longevity — or building a business to last us through retirement or even beyond. Instead, we were entirely focused on building our business, connecting with our audience, and serving our clients wholeheartedly. In fact, there wasn’t much time or space to do much more than that.
Every business is unique, but I like to think each business owner experiences an “a ha” moment like this: You’ve been running your business for a couple of years, your systems and processes are in place, you feel comfortable managing the key areas of your business, or you’ve delegated some key areas of your business. And now you’re realizing: Where is this thing going? What can I do to ensure my business is successful not just in the next couple of years, but also in the next couple of decades?
Today, we’re going to explore how to factor longevity into your business — a handful of best practices to keep in mind as you mold and shape your business to succeed in the years to come.
Create Longevity for Your Business
As small business owners, so much of our day-to-day schedule is simply learning how to work both on and in our businesses — how to serve our customers and clients well, and how to keep our business moving forward, season to season, quarter to quarter. In the busyness of day-to-day small business ownership, it’s only natural for our long-term planning to become secondary. But… what if there were small actions we could take today to ensure our businesses last for the years ahead?
Today, we’re exploring how to factor longevity into your business — 5 unique best practices to keep in mind as you continue designing your business for long-term success.
- Consider what you’d like your life to look like in the next 5, 10, 15, 20 years. For so many of us, our small businesses are hands-on. They require us to be present, serving clients one-on-one, or at our desks during regular business hours — or a combination. This hands-on approach to running a small business can work. But… what about as you look toward your life in the years ahead? Would you like to start a family and be less hands-on within your business? Would you like to travel more and have certain areas of your business more automated? Would you like to decrease your workload and delegate certain areas of your business? By thinking about what you’d like your life to look like, you can work backwards to design your business accordingly. For every “problem” you see within your business, there is an opportunity to do something differently… to reframe an area of your business so it better aligns with your values and goals.
- Be willing to ask what could be done differently — and to mold and shape your business accordingly. Often times, when we feel stuck within our businesses, it’s because we have committed to doing things the way they’ve always been done. But what if, for every aspect of our business no longer serving us or our clients well, we asked “What could be done differently?” Whether you hire an additional team member, invest in a new project management system, reduce your business hours, or brainstorm another creative solution — being open to change can make all the difference in building longevity in your business. Personally, we know photographers who have become course creators. We know live conference hosts who have become online conference hosts. We know wedding planners who have become content creators. Being willing to pivot or change can create a meaningful difference and help create sustainability.
- Be willing to adapt to new technology. In January 2020, I was listening to the Gary Vee podcast, when Gary suggested using a new app called TikTok, because it had the best organic reach of any social media platform. I wondered if the app would catch on — and because the app mainly showcased dancing, I wondered if TikTok could be used for a brand and web design business like ours. Now, we’ve all seen how much TikTok has grown and has created opportunity for creators everywhere — and how other apps like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube are prioritizing short-form video content more than ever before. Now, a big lesson I’ve learned is not to question whether new technology will catch on, but to be willing to just give it a try! Maybe it will fizzle out… but maybe it will be the next big thing. Being open to adapting your business to new technology can help your business enter a new chapter — helping to maintain or grow your business!
- Market your business behind-the-scenes. One aspect of small business ownership I wholeheartedly believe in is mastering the basics — small, everyday practices within your business that can make a difference in the long-term. Activities like blogging, pinning blog posts on Pinterest, and continued, consistent social media marketing across several social media platforms are just a few ways I value marketing our business behind-the-scenes. Over our past 8 years in business, consistent marketing has made a major difference in building Search Engine Optimization, and therefore, bringing more visitors to our website. Content creation can strengthen the foundation of your business as a whole. Even if your business grows, changes, or evolves, leading people to your online space can make all the difference.
- Brainstorm ways your expertise can be used for something passive rather than something active. You may have heard it put this way “Turn your service into a product.” Performing a one-on-one service requires you or your team members to work closely and personally with only a certain number of clients based upon your availability and capacity. On the other hand, a digital product like a course or a template can be sold freely and scaled freely. For the most part, selling a digital product online doesn’t require you to be present. So, what are some ways your expertise can be used to create something passive, rather than something hands-on? Selling a product online can help you to scale your business, grow your business, and create longevity.
How do these best practices reframe the way you look at your business? Which of these best practices can you apply to your business right away?
About Brand It, Build It Podcast, Hosted by Kelly Zugay
Hosted by Kelly Zugay, co-founder of With Grace and Gold, The Brand It, Build It Podcast is a leading small business marketing podcast for small business owners, creatives, and founders. Weekly, brief, actionable episodes will equip you to build a successful, sustainable small business.