If you want to grow your business you must do scary stuff

To grow your business, you will have to do things you don’t like. Or things you don’t want to do. Or things that feel scary. Of course, it’s the same for many things in life. There are lots of things we must do that we don’t like. It’s called growing up.

However, the reason why I reference it to business is because, if we want to grow in business, we must keep doing new and scary things we’d rather not, on purpose. We often need to be reminded of this, and sometimes even pushed.

Our most famous example in the bible is Jonah, who tried to go abroad to escape what God told him to do. Moses is another example. He tried to blame why he couldn’t move forward on being ‘slow of speech’.

What are you blaming it on? Whatever it is, God’s not having it.

If you want to take your business to another level it will involve going places you’ve never gone before. And yes, some will be scary and/or uncomfortable. If you’re anything like me you might prefer to leave well enough alone because it suits you fine – even though you want to grow.

For a long time, it suited me to work from home in my purpose-built office at the bottom of my garden. I would pick up my bag (and coat if it was cold) and go to work just like anyone else. I would keep my head down and hardly speak to another soul (certainly never see anyone) for weeks. The only time I ventured out was if I had a meeting. I did this for years and it suited me fine. I like my own company, but my own company weren’t going to help me build my business.

I remember taking one of those psychometric tests to find out what type of entrepreneur I was. It told me straight that my independence was my weakness. It advised that I reach out and collaborate with others. I was none too pleased and wanted to take it again. I wanted it to tell me that I was fine working as I was.

No. I didn’t take it again. God weren’t having it.

Instead, I headed out of the office at the bottom of my garden and started to work from a hot desking office in Stratford. There I met a brilliant systems thinker who has become a great business person to knock heads with. I also joined a business group in Kingston and met two brilliant women from the other side of the social spectrum who have become great friends. Both were farther along the road in business than I was and able to guide me on how to take my business up a notch. Along the way I learned to appreciate connections, conversations and contacts and how they can fast-forward you and your business to another realm. I’ve always loved learning, but there’s something different about getting it live and firsthand, and not just from books, online or talking to yourself…

A few weeks ago, I was at a business conference where I heard Brompton Bikes founder Andrew Ritchie speak. He said that if you aren’t doing things in your business that make you uncomfortable, or even a little afraid, then you’re doing something wrong. He was alluding to the fact that even after more than 40 years in business and 16 million bikes later, business can still feel scary. A person must keep moving out of his or her comfort zone and keep facing the unfamiliar challenges to continue to grow. Otherwise you can’t innovate. And you’ll stunt.

So, you may not like it but you need to keep pushing, pressing, changing and testing new grounds. You must keep moving forward, learning and trying new things. Keep meeting new people. Today, I rather like getting out and meeting people, so life has thrown me new things to do that I don’t want to but must… it never stops. But the most beautiful thing about it is that in the process of doing this, you will transform the most important aspects of all when it comes to building a kingdom business: yourself and other people.