Growing a business is hard work, and it is impossible to do without some personal and professional growth as well. Sooner or later, a small business owner reaches the point where they need to scale up — either by expanding their organization or increasing their productivity.
When the time comes, you need to be sure you’re ready. And the only way to be prepared is to start learning how to do it today.
To assist you in navigating this challenge more successfully, we’ve come up with ten steps to help you grow professionally. Let’s have a closer look at what you’ll need to do to ensure your business will never stop growing:
#1: Set SMART Goals
There is a distinct difference between setting a goal that states: “I want to become a successful business owner,” and one that states: “I want to achieve a $10,000 monthly income within a year by starting my own health and wellness business and becoming a health coach.”
Can you spot it? The first is general, and the second is SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
When setting SMART goals, you’ll need to come up with specific answers, timelines, and ways of achieving your goals — which will set you down the path to success. And the best part is that you’ll be able to define what success means to you.
#2: Learn Time Management
Every successful business owner has had to learn how to manage their time efficiently. For some, it comes naturally. For others, there is a learning curve involved. The trick is that not everyone has the same system of doing things, but fortunately, there are plenty of options to help you become better at it.
Bullet journals and time management apps can both be a good way to get better at planning your daily activities. What’s more, countless books have been written on the subject. From Covey’s quadrants, to David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology, to the Pomodoro technique, there are many different ways to manage your priorities and time.
#3: Never Stop Learning
Education is essential to both personal and professional development, so don’t ever stop learning. Make some time in your schedule for it, and do it the way that works best for you.
Don’t be afraid to invest in your education by taking a course, or reading books and blogs by the people in your industry that paved the way. Whichever way you choose to keep learning, it’s going to be time and money well spent.
#4: Develop Your Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence can help you get much further in business than you thought possible. In every business, there can be conflict and stressful situations that you need to know how to navigate.
From potential customer complaints to disagreements within your team, any situation will require a great deal of emotional intelligence to solve successfully. A better understanding of what people want and how to give it to them is essential to greater success in business.
#5: Embrace New Challenges
There is no progress without treading unknown paths. While discomfort isn’t something we tend to seek out on our own, it’s likely going to be present every step of the way on your business journey. In fact, if you’re not feeling discomfort, it might even be a sign of stagnation.
Throughout our lives, we can’t stay in our comfort zone forever, or we’ll never grow. The same is true for business development. If a new challenge seems scary and fills you with discomfort — step out of your comfort zone and embrace it.
#6: Find a Mentor
A mentor can be of immense help to you, and one of the “shortcuts” to growing professionally. With their experience and know-how at your disposal, you’ll be learning the business faster. What’s more, you probably won’t make the same costly mistakes that they did, while still getting the lessons they learned.
#7: Find Like-Minded Company
Surrounding yourself with like-minded people doesn’t necessarily mean finding people who have the same opinion you do about business. The key to this step is making sure you’re around people who inspire you to keep trying and do better every day.
They might have a great work ethic or be inspiring in other ways. Their positive influence will help you stay motivated through the tough times.
#8: Mentor Others
Once you’ve grown enough to help someone else, take the opportunity to do so if it arises. Having a mentee helps you to give back, but it also helps you keep your skills sharp. Your experiences and insights will be just as invaluable to them as your mentors are to you. What’s more, it’s an opportunity to put your hard-earned lessons into words, which might then help even more people down the road.
#9: Embrace the Success Mindset
Another important aspect of your professional growth will be your mindset and the way you look at failure. In order to grow, the first thing you need to realize about failure is that it’s an essential part of the journey.
Have you ever met anyone who did everything perfectly? If not, why would you expect the same of yourself? Mistakes are inevitable, but we should learn from them instead of seeing them as a reason to stop trying.
#10: Take Care of Your Health
If you want a successful career and lots of professional growth, you have to take care of your health. Unfortunately, entrepreneurs often neglect this, especially when they’re just starting and feeling like they have to put in a lot of hours for their business to succeed.
But if you don’t give yourself time to rest and recover from this highly stressful lifestyle, sooner or later you’ll find yourself unable to continue. Health is the pillar that supports everything else, so make sure you take good care of yourself.
The journey of professional growth can be a difficult one, as there is no clear destination in most cases. Surround yourself with people who inspire you, learn from those more experienced than you, and remember to give back to your community and industry.