Having a real business with clients, staff, and profits takes courage. You have to be brave to step out in faith each time you make a decision to spend money on the next step in your business.
As a business coach, I hear questions all of the time. When should I….
- hire my first employee?
- get a real website?
- have an office outside of my home?
- invest profits back into my business?
It’s one thing to play around on the side with a new business idea and get a couple of clients and make some extra money.
It is completely different to have your own livelihood completely dependent on your business. This level of dependence creates fear and anxiety. For some, it is a crippling fear that requires calling out to God frequently and asking “Is this what I am supposed to be doing?”
Fear and God are often used in the same sentence. Many times it is someone telling us that we shouldn’t fear, we should just trust the God of the Universe. However, I learned that there can be a healthy fear of God in the form of reverence. We should revere the God who created everything, including us and our business.
Reverence is how I think of fear in business. We don’t want paralyzing fear. The kind that keeps us up all night and that keeps us from making any decisions that will actually move our business forward. We want a healthy fear, or reverence, that keeps us from making erratic and impulsive decisions that could put our finances and family in jeopardy.
We need to trust that God cares about our business. We need to put Him first in our business and seek His vision and will for it. Then what?
5 Ways to Be Brave
Then we need to be brave and do the right business steps:
1. We need to have a plan of what our business will look like at various levels of growth. No one seems to want to do this. I think it is okay to ask God what the business should look like when it grows. This includes what people should be in it, what systems will be required to create a strong foundation, and most importantly, what is the point of difference that will fuel our growth?
2. Put some numbers behind your plan. If you develop some budgets and breakeven revenue, it helps you to know how you are really doing in your business. I think new business owners don’t want to know. What they don’t know won’t hurt them. But actually in business it can hurt you. If you aren’t good at the numbers, get some help. If your business takes off, it is essential to understand the financial performance. How else can you make a confident decision about next steps in your business?
3. Decide on a set income for yourself to work up to. One of the key things that gets a business owner stuck is taking all of the profit out of the business. At first you do it because you need some kind of income. Then you are catching up because you made so little for so long. Soon, it is fun to have cash coming from your business. You want to enjoy being successful. Now, you are used to the higher level of income personally and you don’t want to cut your own salary to invest in the resources to take your business to the next level. Sometimes, you have increased your personal standard of living such that you feel that you have no choice. Decide up front and stick to it.
4. Reinvest according to your plans. Being a good steward is important and I believe we should be careful of debt. Retaining earnings in your business and using it to expand your capacity as a business is a good plan if you want to keep growing. This can be in systems and automation to begin with. Then it may be time to add people to your team to increase your capacity. Having the plan in advance will help you to know what you need to invest in once you grow to the size that will require increased capacity.
5. Now it is time to step out in faith. Even if you are growing and saving it is still scary to grow to that next level. To spend your hard earned and saved money. To have responsibility for more people and more expenses. It is hard and it is scary. But at this point, you are ready for it. You have done the work. You have created a plan, worked the plan, saved the money, and are growing. If you want to keep growing, you need to invest. This is where you pray for God to help you with wisdom and discernment. To guide you through the process and calm your nerves as you take the next step.
It is scary. But the alternative is that you get stuck. You get stuck in a tight, uncomfortable place where you are the bottleneck and you have no more bandwidth. You can’t grow because you can’t do anymore. At least not well. And if you stay where you are eventually your arms will get too weary from stretching and holding the whole thing up alone. The trend will be the opposite of growth.
But you can do this. You can be brave. You were brave when you quit your job or lost your job. You were brave when you decided to try it on your own. It took the same courage and commit to go out and get that first customer.
It is scary.
But you are brave.