If you’ve spent at least a few years as a small business owner, it’s a safe bet that you’ve discovered that you must keep reinventing your business.
All of this reinvention can never stop because every day the 21st century marketplace becomes less like a destination and more like a moving train. Indeed, the Hobson’s choice for a small business is reinvention or extinction.
Let’s talk about reinventing your business, yourself and the fact that there should also be a balance between the two.
In his book, Creative Approaches for the Cost Effective Organization, Steven Martin says there are five generations of business growth:
1. Work – the entrepreneurial stage.
2. Sell – focus on sales growth and market share.
3. Cut – focus on efficiencies to drive the bottom line.
4. Buy – quire assets to reach the next level.
5. Think – all actions are proactive.
It’s almost a natural law that a successful business will reinvent itself along these five generational lines. And since each growth step requires a different kind of manager, be sure to reinvent yourself.
Unfortunately, there is no corresponding natural law to help keep your personal reinvention matched up with, and parallel to, that of your company. Consequently, keeping your personal intellectual growth in sync with your business requires constant attention and honest self-analysis.
Personal reinvention doesn’t mean you go from being a surveyor to a surgeon. It means that instead of being intimidated by technological advancements, you actually become a visionary expert on how to leverage new capability.
It means you go from knowing nothing about how an earthquake or a military coup d’etat on the other side of the planet could affect your business six months from now, to being pretty good at identifying local, as well as global, threats and opportunities.
Perhaps the best example is when you’re able to delegate tasks that you once trusted only yourself to do to the capable staff you’ve hired.
Sometimes circumstances require you to reinvent yourself whether you’re ready or not. When that happens you can choose to be a whiny victim or embrace the change. But remember this: Only owners who lead change can run and grow successful businesses in the 21st century.