the slow business movement

 

Attend any business start-up workshop, convention, forum and speed is all the rage.

What app can you make? How quickly can you build it? Who will buy it?  What can you sell it for?

It leaves my head spinning!

I’ve personally been more of a fan of the slow growth business plan, which we’re finding is pretty rare here in our new ventures into the franchising world.

We’ll be opening one Little Nest franchise this year, and two next year.  Each year afterwards the plan is to open only two more territories a year.  This may sound like a lot, but most of the franchise experts and consultants we’ve spoken to are used to going out fast and hard – trying to open hundreds within a span of 3-5 years and most likely creating a lot of chaos in it’s wake.

To me, a successful growth plan takes into consideration not only the needs of the customer, but the employees as well.  Fast growing start-ups tend to be very difficult on team members and their families.  We need our team members to help shape and develop growth strategies as a collaborative effort to train new brand partners.  In addition we have to prioritize taking care of the current customers so we don’t ignore what is already working within the core business.

Each Little Nest location grows anywhere between 12-18% per year and I’m pretty damn proud of that.  Are we double and tripling sales every year?  No.  But to me, that’s no where near as sustainable as creating continued value for our customers while prioritizing the employee experience at Little Nest.

Mr. Slow from Mr. Men & Little Miss
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selfies

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There is a hilarious new hashtag trend called the #antiselfiemovement

According to a recent study, most of your friends are sick of seeing your beautified, carefully-filtered mug posted online.  There’s even a blog dedicated to stopping the madness!

But here’s the thing… I’ve watched several of my friend’s businesses blow up in popularity once they started posting regular, beautiful photos of themselves.  And I have to admit, there is something kind of voyeuristic and satisfying about being able to see people I am curious about.
What do you think?  Is the selfie (or celfie… which I admit I don’t totally “get”) good for business?
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dish

I was recently being interviewed for a magazine article when the question was asked: “where do you get your support as an entrepreneur?”

The answer was very much that it comes from different places for different reasons.  For example, my husband offers  endless emotional support, along with friends and family.  Entrepreneurial support comes from getting together with other people facing the same challenges as small business owners.

Enter Dish: a group of creative entrepreneural friends who get together once a quarter or so.  We take turns hosting and it’s never overly formal – just very honest.  What is said in dish, stays in dish!  It’s a breath of fresh air for us all to have Dish as an outlet considering the amount of stress that tends to come with being business owners, wives, and moms.

The most recent Dish last weekend took place at Terrain‘s mushroom hut.  It was exactly what we all needed.

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The nice thing about Dish is that it’s about support, not networking or trying to do business with one another (although it naturally happens too!).  When you can find a group of people where genuine support is exchanged with no agenda attached, it’s really refreshing.

Do you have a group of people that you Dish with?  How did it come about?

 

 

 

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your power

Have you ever given up your power too quickly a small business owner?

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I don’t mean power in the sense of pushing people around, or unnecessarily exerting authority.  I mean – your own personal power.  Your ability to believe in yourself and not to delegate critical aspects of your business to others because you don’t think you are deserving of being a voice of authority in your own company.

Here’s a little story of a time I gave mine away too quickly.  In my early 20′s when I was starting my own business, I was with someone romantically who had convinced me I wasn’t strong with managing money.  He heavily monitored bank accounts and I never saw a financial statement from my own business.  For years after we were no longer together, I still bought into this idea and delegated P&L responsibilities like cash flow and budgeting to other people.  It was like this little black box I kept closed in my mind because I just “wasn’t a finance person.”

Then one day in my late 20s, after getting burned by a bad bookkeeper, I realized a few things.  The first is that P&L monitoring is not rocket science: it’s junior high level math paired with discipline.  The second is that I’m actually pretty strong in finance, and delegating it to others only gives away the personal power I need to have in order to run my company well.  Although I still outsource all my CPA and bookkeeping work, I have daily, weekly, and monthly metrics that give me a quick, easy to understand picture of what is happening with my business whenever I need access to it.  I then make management decisions based on that information.

The times I have given up power too quickly usually starts with another person saying something like “you should” or “you are…” allowing them to rattle your confidence in yourself.  Has there been a time you have given up your power too quickly?  Did you realize it at the time?

Yoga power move via pinterest

 

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a second look

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When something goes awry in your company, it’s so easy to go in with the desire to fix the “other” person.  But how much of it can be attributed to what you’ve modeled yourself?

Maybe you’ve complained about a vendor to your staff in passing, just to have them then be difficult with that vendor later on.  It’s possible your employees seem confused about to work on, but then you realize you have been going in ten different directions without communicating which one is priority.  Maybe they are spending without permission, or asking for things financially that seem unreasonable, but you realize you never let them know what the budget is up front.  I’ve done all these things over the years…

The most difficult part about being an entrepreneur is that it’s not anyone’s responsibility on your team to tell you this.  You only find out when things aren’t going the way you would like them to.  A touch of self awareness over the years has helped me realize that it’s usually me that needs to change first.

That’s the amazing thing about small business, it’s the greatest teacher if you have the humility to let it be.

How has your business helped your self awareness?

mirror photo source
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