One definition of maturity means you have completed the natural growth and development phase of growing up. It means you’ve reached full development. It’s supposed to mean that you have arrived. People mature (although I don’t think I’ve mentally gotten out of Junior High yet), wines mature and so do businesses.
Our businesses go through growing pains just like we do. In the beginning, we can barely walk. We fall down a lot and need help getting back up. Our eyes are wide open and we are usually willing to listen to anything that could help us ‘grow up’ into a big and strong business. In this stage of development, we often need our noses wiped and our hands held while we make big decisions!
Then we learn to walk and function on our own. We get to that highly hormonal stage similar to the teen years. You know, when we think we have it all figured out and don’t need anyone telling us what to do. This is an interesting stage because we’re learning so much through living it. Things are coming at us so quickly and so often that we are frequently finding ourselves so emotional that it’s like we’re being all four seasons in one day! We love our company…we hate our company…we type up our resume and decide to look for a job…then, an order comes in and we can’t imagine doing anything else with our lives!
Eventually, we mature. We get beyond the nose wiping and crazy emotions and things level out. Business comes in with some kind of consistency and we start to see some of the benefits of being in the game long enough to win. It’s in this stage that we also realize how some habits of the past are now catching up with us. New problems rise up…creating a plan or job descriptions now seem much more important than they were before. That database you didn’t maintain is now costing you a lot of time and money to ‘get in order.’ Small profit leaks that were easy to blow off when you were a ‘teen’ are now becoming a huge source of pain for you!
Maturity can kill the growth of a business.
When we grow up and have the attitude that ‘we’ve arrived,’ it can kill our vision. As a young company, we had a dream of what the business would look like in the future. When vision is small it leads to complacency. This complacent mindset then produces mediocrity. None of us started our businesses with the goal of being average and if we’re not paying attention we can end up being just that…the owner of a complacent, mediocre company. That kills momentum. It repels top employees and it kills growth.
Keys to Avoiding Mediocrity in Your Business
I believe there are a few things small business owners can do to keep things moving instead of become a stale, uninspiring ‘mature’ organization. These are some things I see in people like Greg Wittstock of Aqua Scape and Adam Mock of Medallion Media Group. These are two leaders that really have their stuff together and it’s no surprise they are growth leaders in their respective industries. Your company will be better off if you imitate their mindset!
You’ve got to commit to getting better. Stay up to date with technology. Listen to your people and your customers. Too many ‘mature’ leaders are set in their ways and kill growth as a result. Be a sponge. Keep your eyes up and your vision big!
Keep Great Company
The best leaders are surrounding themselves with amazing people. They pick their friends carefully. They welcome and respect people who call them higher and don’t allow them to sit in mediocrity.
The companies that continue to increase business consistently also are the ones that are consistently adding value to their employees, their clients and their communities. They give time, money and talent while their competitors are hoarding it. Approaching our work with this giving mindset will help us to be happier and more creative and in turn, will create momentum and growth in our organizations. The abundance mindset will always trump a mindset of scarcity.
They say it’s harder to stay on top than it is to get to the top.
I encourage you, mature business owners, to open your eyes and stay hungry. Choose your closest friends carefully and turn up your giving. Sure, you’ve paid your dues. You deserve to chill now and then.
But, I know you still have some amazing left in the tank…