I recently met with a group of successful business owners in a mastermind session where we discussed the topic of “how to keep you and your business growing.” There were no wallflowers in this group so the ideas and best practices came fast and furiously — and with some special emphasis that I’ll not repeat here. However, the clear message behind all these simple steps was: “If you think you know it all, you’re wrong. So get off your duff and attend to your growth and development; no one else will.” Here then is a summary of those ideas and tactics based on many years of successful experience.

Get out of your office.

Offices breed office work. They’re places where you can attend to lots of minutia but not create a lot of value. Sam Walton, the late founder and charismatic leader of Wal-Mart, set the standard in this regard. In more than 30 years of running Wal-Mart he never spent more than three days a month in his office in Bentonville. The rest of his time, some 20 days per month, was spent visiting stores, vendors and suppliers and talking to employees and customers. Because of this he was always in a learning mode. So, whether your office is in your home or in the corner of the top floor of your building, get out of it. Visit customers, have coffee with colleagues, attend local conferences, conduct library research, teach a class for your associates, host a business briefing at your local community college, do pro bono work, etc., but get out of the office. You’ll not only add more value to your business growth efforts, you’ll also learn a lot.


It’s a proven fact that reading exercises the brain and helps keep it healthy. And yes, it’s difficult for an engaged business owner to find time to read. However, Inc. Magazine, in their profiles of highly successful entrepreneurs, indicated that reading helped business owners run their companies successfully, giving them both broad perspective on business and many ideas to try in their own companies. So if you’d like to stay sharp and learn new perspectives about you and your business, read. There are too many good business books to recommend here, but perusing the New York Times business best seller list is a great place to start. For business periodicals, I recommend Fortune, Fast Company, Inc, The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, Business Week. Each of them also has an online version (they’re really great) and most of those are free! Now I’m not suggesting you stop reading Sports Illustrated or O, the Oprah Magazine. If those provide needed entertainment and relaxation for you by all means keep reading them. What I am suggesting though is that there is an abundance of timely and useful business information available to anyone at any time. Sort through it efficiently, take the best and leave the rest, and then apply it to growing your business.

Invest in your personal growth.

The very best investment you can make in your company is an investment in yourself. Opportunities abound for workshops, college classes, online courses, business coaching, degree and certificate programs, personal and professional development programs, etc. Be selective and do your homework before signing up for such programs, but do engage. A $10,000 investment in your personal development can easily mushroom into a ten times ROI.

Build and add to your team.

Whether a solo-preneur or the president of a large company, you must have a team of qualified advisors and associates to accomplish what needs to get done. If you want to improve and grow your business, you must improve and grow your team. Start by listing the major functions of your business, e.g., marketing, finance, HR, operations, customer service, etc, and then determine if the person leading that function (it may be you!) is able to take your company to the next level. Be brutally honest here: Does that person (again, this may be you) really have the skill, ability and, here’s a big one, time to get it done? If not, it’s time to face up to the brutal truth and add to or change your team.

Be creative; get going. Use a few of these tips and keep growing!