As an owner of a small to medium-sized manufacturing company, it’s all too easy to become trapped in the daily grind, focusing on the immediate tasks at hand and putting out fires. But it’s crucial to understand that sometimes, the best way to drive your business forward is to momentarily step back from it. By working ON your business, instead of solely IN it, you open the door to bigger opportunities, fresh insights, and strategic growth.
Here are three compelling ways to do just that.
1. Embark on a Learning Journey with Business Building Professionals
There are many books, seminars, programs, and business teachers that provide training content to help business owners. Investing the time and money to participate in this type of skill development is a huge opportunity for you to grow your capacity to lead your business in a positive direction.
Enrolling in a course, going to a seminar, or participating in a workshop away from your business can create time and space for you to evaluate your business from a broader perspective than is typically possible when you’re fighting fires on a daily basis.
Here are thoughts why an outside education program might make sense for you and the benefits and challenges associated with trying this option for your business growth:
Why this option?
- Widen Your Knowledge Base: Platforms like Masterclass and Business Made Simple offer a treasure trove of insights for business leaders. By enrolling in courses such as Donald Miller’s Small Business Flight School or Darren Hardy’s Business Masterclass, you’re not just learning—you’re gaining invaluable tools and strategies tailored for business growth.
- Expert Guidance: These platforms offer courses led by industry veterans. You’re essentially getting mentorship from professionals who’ve been where you are and have succeeded.
- Flexibility: The online nature of these courses allows you to fit learning into your schedule, ensuring your business doesn’t suffer in the process.
Benefits of Outside Education Programs:
- Tailored Content: These courses are specifically designed for business growth, ensuring you get actionable insights.
- Network Expansion: Beyond the course content, you’ll often get a chance to connect with other entrepreneurs, which can lead to collaborations or partnerships.
- Updated Trends: These platforms are usually up to date with the latest business strategies and trends, ensuring you stay ahead of the curve.
Challenges of Outside Education Programs:
- Time Commitment: Although flexible, these courses still require a dedication of time, which might be challenging for you if your business is super-reliant on your hour-by-hour input to run properly.
- Overwhelm: With a plethora of courses available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and not know where to start. That’s one reason for the suggested programs above, as they have all proven to be successful.
- Investment: High-quality courses come at a cost. While they can offer a great ROI, the initial investment can be a barrier for some.
2. Join or Create a Mastermind Group
While a course or program provides an important learning opportunity, it doesn’t typically involve regular, ongoing participation. The effects from a one-time learning environment tend to fade over time. Maintaining the energy and excitement of new learning can be drowned out by relentless daily business activities when you return to your office.
A weekly or monthly Mastermind Group can establish ongoing energy for sharing and new learning, and the ongoing participation will be a reminder to step back and consider how you’re running your business.
Why this option?
- Diverse Perspectives: A Mastermind Group is a collective of committed, like-minded individuals. The diversity of experiences and expertise ensures you’re exposed to a wide range of solutions and ideas.
- Mutual Growth: Being part of a Mastermind Group is about both giving and receiving. As you assist others, you’re refining your own business acumen, all while benefiting from the feedback of your peers.
- Accountability: Your group will hold you accountable for your business goals, ensuring you stay on track.
Benefits of a Mastermind Group:
- Synergy: The collective brainpower of a group can often lead to solutions and ideas that you might not have thought of alone.
- Support System: A Mastermind Group provides a consistent support system, especially during challenging times.
- Shared Resources: Members often share tools, strategies, and resources that have worked for them, potentially saving you time and money.
Challenges of a Mastermind Group:
- Finding the Right Fit: Not all Mastermind Groups will align with your goals or values and finding the right one can be a process.
- Time Zones and Schedules: If your group is spread out geographically, coordinating meeting times can be a challenge.
- Reciprocity Expectations: You’re expected to contribute as much as you gain. If you’re not prepared to engage fully, a Mastermind Group might not be a fit for you.
3. Assemble a Board of Advisors
Courses and Mastermind Groups are important opportunities but sometimes you really need the help of someone getting into the weeds specifically in YOUR business to help you with your challenges. Bringing ideas back from a course or exchanging ideas in a Mastermind Group typically provides things you can apply in your business, but they are rarely tailored specifically to your exact situation.
When you need more specific help or more in-depth analysis, particularly over time, a Board of Advisors can be an important option to consider.
Why this option?
- Expertise on Demand: With a team of professionals from different disciplines, you have immediate access to expert advice, whether it’s legal, financial, or marketing-related.
- Objective Feedback: An external board can offer unbiased feedback, helping you see things you might have missed.
- Structured Guidance: Meeting regularly ensures you have periodic checkpoints to evaluate, reassess, and redirect your business strategies.
- Specialized Expertise: You have access to experts in various fields, ensuring you get specialized advice for all areas of your business.
- Risk Mitigation: With multiple experts overseeing decisions, there’s a better chance of catching potential issues before they become significant problems.
- Decision-Making Confidence: Having a Board can increase the quality of your business decisions and, as a result, can increase your business’s credibility in the eyes of investors, partners, or stakeholders.
- Managing Dynamics: A Board consists of multiple personalities and ensuring that everyone works well together can be a challenge.
- Loss of Autonomy: While the Board is advisory, some decisions might be influenced by their strong recommendations, potentially leading to a feeling of lost control.
- Coordination: Assembling the Board, organizing regular meetings, and ensuring everyone is available can sometimes be logistically challenging.
The journey of business growth isn’t one you must go on alone. By investing in continuous learning, seeking feedback from peers, and leveraging the expertise of advisors, you’re positioning your manufacturing business for sustainable success. So, step back, take a deep breath, and prepare to soar!