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Manage yourself first

Your business plan is based on increasing revenue. You're looking forward to more revenue creating more profit. And with the increase in cash flow you'll finally be able to hire more people so that your struggles will ease and you will finally be able to get free of the technical work.

Is that your plan?

This plan may sound reasonable (and exciting) but in fact, it's not appropriate or realistic for 99% of small businesses. As was offered in the recent G Myth blog, growing a business as a means to solve its problems is like buying a mansion to deal with a messy house: the result is often a bigger mess. In fact, it's not uncommon for growth to literally kill a business.

It's easy to dismiss this notion but it's important to really consider the implications of growing before you're ready: loans, overtime, waste, inefficiency, temporary and contract labor, etc. These things add up quickly, tend to pick up momentum, and can easily lead to bankruptcy. It happens often, though the people it happens to don't tend to advertise it.

Growth has to be scalable and sustainable. And the prerequisite for this type of growth is competent and effective management — starting with your ability to manage yourself. This is where it all starts — your capacity for self-management sets the tone for the whole organization.

A critical piece of your self-management is your ability to stay organized and out of overwhelm. Business growth requires not just more of your time, but more bandwidth — more space — in you.

Here are some questions to help you get real with yourself and how you're doing on self-management. Do you feel consistently overwhelmed? Do you finish your to-do lists? Empty your inboxes daily? Work more than forty hours a week?

Your self-management is the basis of effectively managing others..."

Is there space in you for the business to grow?

Now imagine your leads tripled next month. What would break first? Are you doing all that selling? Delivering? Would you have to hire? Train? When would you outgrow your space, your technology infrastructure? What quality problems do you have today that will explode with those new leads?

For most businesses, the path to growth is one step at a time. Your self-management is the basis of effectively managing others, which leads to responsible employees who serve customers efficiently. The efficient production of your service or product is what creates value. Value increases profit. Profit fuels growth.

The SOBO 2013 results told the straight story: developing infrastructure (clear roles, accountability, training, etc.) to support growth is the path to growth. And you can’t build that infrastructure if you’re constantly overwhelmed and putting out fires.

"If you build it, they will come."

PS: Check out our Self-Management video. Be passionate about getting organized--it’s the first step to growth! 

Josef Shapiro

Written by Josef Shapiro

Josef is an EMyth Certified Business Coach and has been coaching business owners since 2002. Josef works in his own practice at Emergent Business.