Getting Out of Survival Mode and into Expansion Mode

As I sit down to write this today, I cannot help but notice that many business owners seem to be still in survival mode. This pandemic has caused us to focus most of our efforts on the survival of our business and not look far ahead or make plans for the next two, three, or five years. 

While that is completely understandable, it does not help our businesses in any way. If we aren’t moving forward to our goals, we are moving away from them as time passes on. So, what are we supposed to do?

Really, as harsh as this sounds, shake yourself off and get on with life. Yes, there are still risks involved, but our businesses don’t thrive in survival mode, which is doing only the bare minimum to survive. This in itself brings a slow death to any business as we start to focus on the negative and not the positive.

Currently, there are many businesses that are doing precisely the opposite, and encourage you to reach out to any owners you might know who are in expansion mode. They are actively engaged in growing their business and thriving in a time when most aren’t. Being around those kinds of owners will help you to succeed as well.

In the eight years that I have been doing this, I have never seen anyone in survival mode survive as a business. It may take a few years, but eventually, they have to close their doors. At the same time, people in growth or expansion mode can also fail, but it is usually because of expanding too fast for their cash flow instead of simply staying stagnant.

I look at Stacy as a great example of someone who, has grown her business through plenty of challenges, and continues to grow it through this pandemic. Being around people like her can only lift you up and not drag you down. Staying in the positive yet not Pollyanna thinking will lead you to find new ways to increase sales, grow the business, find new products or services that match your vision for your business.

All of these things matter and are critical to the success and life of any operation to include the SBDC. As we go forward and people start wanting to get “back to normal,” remember that we are here to help you wherever you may be in your business. It is our purpose to help you succeed! We exist solely to help small business owners thrive and achieve their goals. It is what we do.

Sometimes, we don’t have the answers, but we have a vast network of people who will know someone who will have the answers. You are not alone. When my first business failed back in 92, I didn’t know who to talk to or reach out to help me. I felt I was going to have to figure it out myself. Well, that didn’t work out so well. Today, with all of the service providers in our area, there is no reason to have to figure it out yourself. Yes, you have to make the final decisions. But there are a lot of smart people in the area who are willing to help you. 

Have an awesome summer and remember to start thinking about growth and expansion instead of just getting by and barely surviving. This could be your time to thrive!

By Todd Rausch, SBDC Regional Director at WITCC.

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