Show notes from Episode #145 of the Sweaty Startup Podcast.
The beginning of each year is an ideal time to start setting goals for yourself and your business. Most people that talk about their business goals are focused on hitting certain revenue or profitability figures, but there are steps along the way to those goals that you should be taking, and those involve getting uncomfortable.
All of us face anxiety, discomfort, and fear of failure in starting and running a business. This fear may be around launch, hiring employees, making the investment to expand or smooth operations, quitting your day job, or any number of activities. While the discomfort is completely normal, it’s a space you need to thrive in to do what’s best for your business. If you fall into a comfort zone, it’s easy to fall complacent and not do the important things necessary to grow your business.
The summer after his junior year at Cornell, Nick had to make an uncomfortable decision involving Storage Squad. When they saw their classmates head off to high paying jobs and internships in New York City and Washington D.C., Nick and his partner Dan knew they had to push the limits of their business in order to make it worth the job opportunities they had passed up. Together, they convinced their network to launch Storage Squad branches at the University of Illinois, Indiana University, and the University of Iowa. In retrospect, it’s crazy that before they had a strong foundation or even a website they would be running a business in 4 states, but if they hadn’t taken that risk and pushed their boundaries, Nick knows he probably would have left and gotten a job.
If you’re not where you want to be 5 years from now, it’s time to get uncomfortable. Spending 12 hours a day servicing customers and falling into a routine is easy, the hard but valuable work is in hiring employees, marketing, raising prices when fit, and focusing on the Quadrant 2 activities that are important despite not being urgent.
Along with your revenue or business goals, set goals that are uncomfortable high-value work that will help you get there. Think about what pain points you’re facing in your business and where you need to grow then consider goal such as:
- Spend <50% of your time servicing customers.
- Spend 10% of your revenue on marketing or hire a digital marketing agency.
- Every time you leave the house, give a business card to one person asking if they know somebody looking for a job.
- Get a new permit, license, or skill that allows you to offer a new service.
- Get 20 new Google reviews from customers.
- Send handwritten notes to every customer 2 weeks after servicing.
- Raise your prices and fire your worst customers.
Your success will be correlated to how willing you are to get uncomfortable, knowing it will grow your business. Wake up one morning, ignore your phone, and start to write out goals that will add value to your business. People who don’t succeed don’t do this work because it’s hard and uncomfortable, but it pays off.
This high value work likely requires forming and maintaining productive habits, and a great read from the Sweaty Startup book list is Atomic Habits by James Clear. This book will help you put habits in place that are long-lasting, super effective, and repeatable. Forming positive habits with minimal friction will help you in business and in life, and can assist you in reaching your goal of getting uncomfortable.