Step out! Growth happens outside your comfort zone

One of the most common desires I hear from business owners is that they want to grow their business. They are tired of going round in circles or things being stagnant for a long time. For some, growth means increasing their business revenue, for others, growth means opening new branches or increasing their customer base. I have noticed that growth is harder for businesses that have achieved some amount of success and have coasted in a certain level for a while. The reason this is the case is that they do not want to change a winning formula or rock the boat.

The fast pace of technology development has rendered a lot of formerly successful products obsolete; from typewriter’s to fax machine, to the cassette player and even to the floppy disk(remember those?). Most of these companies achieved a level of success and stayed there. They were not willing to step out of their comfort zone and make the required changes that would lead to growth and other more agile players took over their market share with new products. Albert Einstein defines Insanity as ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result’.

As a business owner or if you are part of a business that needs to grow or go to the next level, you need to step out of your comfort zone. You can start with baby steps and then take bigger steps with time. Here are a few tips on stepping out:

Take risks
This is a scary concept for a lot of us because by the very meaning of the word ‘risk’ it signifies uncertainty. It connotes that the outcome is unpredictable and can either have a positive or negative impact. I am an advocate for taking calculated risk and putting your leg in the water gradually and this is a necessary step to grow in business. This could mean introducing a new service or product to a small segment of your customers and testing the response before scaling it up.

Learn new things
Knowledge always fuels growth and most successful people are committed to continuous learning and improvement. Don’t only learn about things that are happening in your industry, learn from other abstract or unrelated things and you would be surprised where inspiration would come from. One of the ways I get inspiration is by watching cartoons with my son; the amazing characters that Disney and Pixar create seem to always have a message for me about life and business.

Explore
This is an extension of learning new things. It is looking at new ways to do the things you usually do. I met a lady some time ago who has built a successful business around sugar free cakes because she decided to explore a way to bake cakes that people could enjoy without packing on the calories. So my advice is look at your current process, product and services and find new ways of doing things.

Fail forward
Failure is a word that has a negative connotation to a lot of us, but I have learnt that failure is a perspective and true success cannot be achieved without some failure. I like John Maxwell’s advice to fail forward; which means let every failure be a learning experience that would move you forward. A famous quote by Robert F. Kennedy is: ‘it is only those who dare to fail greatly that can achieve greatly’. So instead of letting the fear of failure hinder us from moving forward, the goal should be to learn from our failures and grow through them.

Find your genius
I believe everyone has an inner genius and your inner genius is unleashed at the point where you let go of inhibitions and fear and embrace your true creativity. We always refer to some people as ‘geniuses’, but the truth is that everyone is capable of being a genius at something – if they are willing to hone their skills and put in the necessary work required to create genius standard.

You need to step out if you want to grow and this can only happen when the discomfort of being stagnant overshadows the fear of stepping out. I would like to also recommend this article: 3 success habits that changed my life to provide more inspiration.

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