Are You Focusing on Growth or Maintenance?

Note: This is part of a series on momentum. You can view the full series here.

Are you focusing every day on activities that grow your business, or are you only doing thing that keep it going?

Too much work on maintenance activities is a common mistake most people make. It’s easy to get sucked into no matter what stage of business you’re at.

This is all good and fine if you either don’t care about growing, or if your business has reached an “escape velocity” stage where it’s growing without you doing anything.

But if you’re in the critical stage where every month’s revenue counts, or if you’re trying to reach the next level, you must be ruthless about focusing on growth activities.

There are a few categories of activities you can be focusing on in your business:

  • Administrative
  • Management
  • Project management
  • Technical/backend work
  • Customer service
  • Product creation
  • Content creation
  • Ongoing education and development
  • Growth creation

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s easy to see that there are a plethora of things at any time that you could be doing in and on your business.

Getting tricked into false growth

What’s tricky is that sometimes maintenance activities can masquerade as growth activities. You can be fooled into thinking that social media responses to people in your field is somehow helping you grow, even though it’s not getting you in front of big groups of new people.

You can get stuck in the rut of connecting with the same people, reinforcing the same connections, not in an intentional, growth-oriented way, but in a passive, lackadaisical manner.

Adding even more confusion, sometimes you really do need to focus on non-growth activities before you can do the real growth work.

For instance, you may need to set up a Mailchimp form and a page in WordPress (non-growth) for a guest post (growth) that will bring you lots of new leads.

Or you might need to set up a webinar, schedule it and test it before you do a webinar with a partner to bring in new sales.

Outsourcing to amplify growth

Over time, you want to focus more and more on outsourcing these supporting tasks that are necessary for growth, but aren’t directly affecting it. For example, you might outsource the setup of your webinars so you can spend more time building relationships, and forming partnerships to make the webinars happen in the first place.

The more nuanced you get, you can start also rating your growth activities. A simple 1-5 scale will do just fine, five being the highest potential for growth.

The key is not to put some nebulous task like “get featured in magazine” or “get speaking gigs” but to work on things that directly influence these opportunities.

In this way, the highest priority items on your To Do list might be “get introduction for magazine editor from network” or “pitch three people on guest posts.”

Of course you need to do the other things that matter in your business. You must continually grow, educate yourself, and make sure things are running smoothly. But a smoothly running ship with no one on it is pretty worthless.

This is the first step of building momentum. Focus on the key one or two tasks that are the highest leverage, the 20% that get 80% of the results.

In the next post, we’ll explore the importance of decision speed and how it can increase your momentum.

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