Way to Grow

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today we have an awesome guest post from our expert partner in planning & strategy, megan gallagher of method & madness. i am really needing these tips right now, how about you?

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think that getting started is the hardest part of owning your own business.

In reality, it’s the growing that can stop you dead in your tracks.

There are so many directions your business model can go in, sketches and product ideas you have ready to make, and dreams that you want to make into reality. That’s a lot of high-pressure decision making on your shoulders, no? I know I’ve felt that way before with my own business—completely unsure of which way to go; so I stood at the proverbial intersection way longer than I needed to. And that cost me in terms of money, developing new business, and in my general health.  Stress is not good.

What I’ve learned since then, and we’re going to talk about today, is that knowledge really & truly is power. To grow your business is to know your business. And hopefully by the end of this post you’ll be ready to get up close & personal with your own indie business—and grow it in a sustainable, smart, and profitable way.

We can really boil this whole issue down to one question:  what should I (really) focus on?

(If we can all be honest here, doesn’t the thought of “focusing” itself kind of stress out your creative mind already?)

So, let’s redefine our idea of focus:  instead of linear, single-minded thinking and having to choose “that one thing” to put our attention to, let’s look at focus as creating a minimal structure to create a maximum of creative space.

(That feels better, no?)

To create a minimal structure requires your due diligence, first and foremost. Which means: do some homework. Grade your product lines by how much revenue they generate for you, and by how your customers responded to them.  Did they help to build your brand name or do you really need to go back to the drawing board for a few of them?  You may ask why this is important.  Here it is:

If you can use this knowledge to build more income from your existing line, think of how much time you can spend (without any stress or guilt or worry about making money) just being creative. Like, for the fun of it.

Know what product is your #1 money-maker? Find a way to make more of it.

The next thing to do is get a little ruthless.  Cut away the excess that isn’t doing anything for you but taking up space in your life. Make room for new ideas to come to the forefront, and give yourself the space to redesign what could be better.

The other element that will help sharpen your focus is your mission. Every product sketch, idea, and initiative you want to take in your business should be filtered through your mission statement.  If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t pass go.

Your mission is your very best barometer of whether or not to put your energy on a particular task or idea.

If you don’t have a clear mission yet, that should be the very first thing you work on.  If you don’t know why you’ve gone into business, you’ll be out sooner than later. The mission is what drives you, and keeps you pushing forward when the deck seems stacked against you.  No mission leaves you with scattered energy and no momentum. You stay still instead of moving forward. 

So:  Know your mission. Analyze your business. Grow from what you know. Trim the fat. Find your focus…

…And grow an amazing indie business!

Hey—did you know you can work with me one-on-one to design your perfect product line? Check out the Single Shot Sessions for a personalized 60 minute coaching call around your unique product line.

Megan Gallagher is small-business strategist working with creative indiepreneurs over at Method & Madness. She works with a diverse creative clientele through one-on-one strategy sessions, small group workshops, and the DIY guides now available on her website.