Fancy turning a one-man band into a small, to a medium, to a large business, now there’s a challenge. But what a great one. And as someone once said all companies large and small started with someone making a very brave decision.
I am 8 years into taking 4twenty2 on this journey from my own brave decision in October 2007, and the one thing I have found out, through reading about and also trying it, is that it is as difficult as everyone says.
Coming out of 2015, when we had our best year ever, 4twenty2 is now in full transition and we are certainly feeling the growing pains. So as I sit on a train back from London on a Friday afternoon reflecting on another week of delivering training, managing others delivering elsewhere, having a series of very exciting business development discussions, writing proposals, thinking about the strategy and getting ready for the courses we have coming up next week, I thought I would share some of my experience with you. Why I hear you ask? Perhaps you can avoid some of my mistakes, perhaps it can give you inspiration in your own roles, or even give you the energy to make your own brave decision and start something special.
So thinking about where to start I keep coming back to one thing, and that is know why you are doing it. Over the first few years of running my business I flip flopped from doing it so I could have a great work life balance, to I wanted to be massive and take over the world, to all I wanted was a nice little lifestyle business, to I am going to dedicate my life to the business so I can thoroughly enjoy retirement. Now that I have settled on my why, and put a strategy together to capture it, I feel so much more settled, content and even energized to make 4twenty2 the best it can be.
The second thing I would say is get great people around you. What makes people great; simple those that have the same belief, cause, drive and motivation as you do. If you are the only source of energy, you will find that it dwindles relatively quickly. You need like-minded people to keep you going, pick you up after disappointments, and keep your feet on the floor after success.
So you know your why and have great people around you, what next? This is where 4twenty2 is right now, and where I am feeling the most pain. Don’t be afraid of process and getting others to own it. What I just said (if you haven’t worked it out already) is don’t be a control freak!! Liberate yourself to focus on why you set your business up in the first place.
And finally, I have to say that I am not one to normally quote others, but I am going to make an exception. In his lifetime Winston Churchill said a lot of memorable things but one that has stood out for me and I think all business owners should try to live by is ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it’s the courage to continue that counts’.
Good luck to all those brave decision makers out there, may your journeys be full of your own growing pains.