You’ve probably been in the business world for a while by now. You’ve probably seen many other enterprises succeed and at least as many fail. Sometimes, the reason for success or failure is clear from the outside. But other times, it’s elusive. Is it luck? Money? Business connections? While all of those factors play a part in making or breaking a business, an entrepreneur’s mindset is even more influential.
Ask any entrepreneur what inspired them to strike out on their own. They’ll probably tell you they wanted the freedom to work for themselves. However, too many end up becoming slaves to the businesses they’ve created. Before long, the dream of free time and feeling like your own boss goes out the window.
While long hours come along with starting a new business, it shouldn’t be a permanent arrangement. Yet, many entrepreneurs get stuck in this mindset for years, even decades. Many successful business owners often achieve the dream of freedom, but too many entrepreneurs don’t know how to get there.
If you want to succeed, you should be setting your business up for a day when it doesn’t need you. That doesn’t mean you stop caring or working hard. It means that when you’ve found the right structure, team, and strategy, your business can support itself. After that, you can enjoy your other pursuits.
Any business that permanently depends on one person for survival is not sustainable. It’s a bit like raising a child. You start out changing diapers, then transition to helping them with schoolwork. Eventually, you support them through their first heartbreaks and disappointments. But every parent hopes that someday, the child will move out on their own and fend for themselves. Your job is to provide them with the foundation they need to grow and stand on their own 2 feet. And while you don’t plan to leave your child’s life entirely, you’re a lot less involved in their day-to-day affairs.
In his book “Built To Sell,” John Warrillow builds on this mindset. He argues that every decision you make about your business should, at minimum, consider 2 factors. First, you should ask whether it will help you buy back more of your time. Second, question whether the decision will increase, decrease, or have no impact on the resale value of your business.
You might be saying, “But I don’t want to sell!” No one’s making you. But whether you decide to sell now or in the future, you must consider it. Having a business you can sell for top dollar is a great way to achieve growth and a healthy bottom line. It changes your mindset from a small-business owner to a CEO who always looks at the bigger picture.
You should also reconsider your mindset toward leads. Everyone wants new leads — we hear it all the time. But when every business owner thinks the same way, there’s usually something wrong. This herd mentality is a primary reason so few businesses break a million dollars in annual sales, let alone scale to $5 million or $10 million in revenue. If you think like every other small business, your business will continue to stay small.
Instead of constantly looking for new leads, take a second look at what you’re doing with the ones you already have. What percentage of them are buying? The number could almost certainly be higher. You need to nurture those leads before they can grow into a sale.
Often, this takes time, and building a sales funnel to boost conversion rates is intimidating. It doesn’t provide the quick fix many entrepreneurs are looking for because it involves slowly building relationships. You have to change your mindset and meet customers where they are on their buyer’s journey. And the process can take months or even over a year.
But new leads cost money, and they cost more than nurturing the ones you have. If you’re not spending to turn more of those leads into sales, you’re leaving money on the table or flushing it down the drain. Track who responds to your nurturing campaign and consider new offers for those who don’t. Though you’ll never achieve a 100% conversion rate, you’ll likely be amazed at how it climbs.
When you think about it, this mindset relies on basic math. But too few businesses follow this strategy. Entrepreneurs don’t want to invest in nurturing leads for the same reason anyone hesitates to invest. They’re worried it might not work and could cost them money. In truth, not everything works the first time. But being in business is about taking calculated risks and learning from your failures, so you can get up and try again.
To grow and scale your business, you’ve got to think differently than you have in the past. This is your business, not a salaried day job. Shift your mindset to one of growth, and you’ll have a more cost-efficient and self-sufficient enterprise. But you’ll never get there by following the crowd or sticking to your same old habits.