There’s so much psychology involved in business, especially in how to grow your small business. However, surprisingly, there’s so little written about. When entrepreneurs start out, there’s always psychological barriers between starting, executing and finishing.
How to Grow Your Small Business
When I started out writing a blog when I was 22, I gave up after 3 months of zero traffic, closed shop, and went freelance. I thought: this just isn’t for me.
It was only when I realized that I wasn’t educated in the means of entrepreneurship that I started again. Over the next couple of years, I attended a multitude of SEO courses, affiliate marketing courses and stock investing courses, many of them were a hit and miss, and some of them were actually good.
It was something that is a constant work in progress. Something that adds up month after month, year after year.
The Progression Principle: Moving Up the Value Chain
When I started out, I was over worried about not being a famous internet blogger the next day. In my head: I should be a success, right? I read the business books, I gave up my degree to start a business, I totally SHOULD be successful right?
No. That’s the completely WRONG mindset to go about growing your small business. I was aiming way to high too early. That caused me to freeze, and not take tiny actions daily towards my goal.
There is a progression to it. Just because you read a couple business books does NOT mean that you know how to start a business. Just because you have first class honours in your business degree does NOT mean you know how to grow a business.
Just like most other eventual entrepreneurs, I started off as a middleman, making some cash off government claims in Singapore, bounced between employment and freelance. I also once went back to University, thinking: perhaps I need a business degree to get good at this.
However, when started freelancing and successfully accomplished a couple of SEO projects for a couple of companies as a freelancer. I thought: Hmm, that seems to work, okay, let’s try starting my own website. Wow! I manage to sell a $700 service through my website. Now, let’s tune it up a little. I invested in more courses, and soon enough, I sold $3000 worth of products in one deal.
I slowly figured out business concepts like minimum viable product, positioning, systems, marketing tactical hell, deep customer research, frontloading your work, planning for failures, how to create high quality content, how to create content whilst teaching/ working, how to differentiate the buyers from customers that will never ever buy from you.
These came progressively as I moved up the value chain, had some cash on hand, re-invested them in courses, books and training.
The majority of entrepreneurs attempt to rush business, expecting to be an overnight success. They want results the very next day. They end up in tactical marketing hell. They have no systems, no mentors, no environment and no accountability. None of that. I understand that. I used to be like that.
Think about it, if you can’t get your first class honors overnight, what makes you think you’re going to build a successful business overnight?
The A students are the ones putting in effort day in and out in their work, the Z students are the ones dreaming about the As. Hey, I used to be a Z student, you can ask my teachers. Instead of focusing on the progression principle, I was constantly aiming and dreaming for the stars.
This is the same with entrepreneurship (or all areas of life).
Only by building up your business resume, testimonials and skillsets that you can charge more for your services and products. Today, I am a much more sophisticated digital marketer, SEO consultant, than I was 6 months a go. Today, I am in a much better position to form partnerships, pitch to investors than I was a couple of months ago, and rest assured, I will be a lot more 6 months down the road.
Find Paying Clients to Free Up Your Time to Serve Your Market Better
I used to have this crippling mindset of charging for my services. Should I REALLY be charging for my services? I have this: imposter syndrome. However, I learned to make the switch of mindset.
Firstly, by getting compensated rightly for my work, I get to serve my clients better. I get to invest in books, videos and training courses on SEO, digital marketing, advance my knowledge, serve my clients and students better. The most of all, I free up time to do it.
When I make a profit, I can hire someone else to produce nicer videos, create premium products and services, rent a nice classroom for students, and more.
When you make a profit, you have the resources to not have to do everything yourself. That’s the right mindset to grow your small business.
That’s how you move up the value chain as well: gaining skillsets in time management, people management, hiring, building systems, being a leader and etc.
Yes, you should also be in entrepreneurship for profit. If you’re not in this to make a profit, then you shouldn’t be starting a business. However, it’s not only just about making money and freeing up my time. It’s about improving my services, classes, digital marketing company and growing your small business.
Growing your small business and earning a profit may scare you. This makes some people feel like a king, and others a fraud. The thought of charging for your services cripples people. I know for sure it still stifles me a little and I still second guess how I charge for my services.
However, it’s necessary for yourself, and the company so that at the end of the day, you can service your clients better. When you come from that mindset, you’ll free yourself up to charge what you are actually worth, and invest those profits to build better products and services for your clients.
Yes, there are entrepreneurs and business people (especially in Asia) who boast about their net worth and you’re sitting there thinking: I don’t want to be an asshole like him.
However, the revolutionary entrepreneurs are the ones that create kick ass products and services to better serve their clients. Think Steve Jobs and Richard Branson. They are both billionaires in their own right and yet, they are always innovating their companies, aiming to better serve their clients.