Are you a female entrepreneur who’s blocked and overwhelmed by the to-do list and thinking it wasn’t supposed to be this way?
At the start there was passion, energy and most importantly, purpose. You knew your idea was good and intuitively you knew all the steps necessary to make it happen.
Your product took off and customers liked it. Sales were good. You built a team and created systems, structures and processes to support the company in this first stage of growth. Your team was excited and everyone was working towards a unified goal of meeting growing demand and creating great customer value. It felt like a big adventure that you were all a part of.
Circling the hamster wheel with no direction
After that first burst of growth, things continued to grow only now you’ve found yourself in a reactive leadership role, going round and round a hamster wheel amending, adding and adjusting to make things work for that moment.
The structures you put in place need to be modified to account for growth but time is scarce. So you stay where you are and start second guessing the next steps to expanding your business further.
It’s sapping everyone’s energy and motivation including your team’s but can’t they see the pressure you’re under to keep things afloat?
Alone at the bottleneck
This scenario is so common it should carry a universal health warning. But we hear female founders say time and again that when they reach this place they feel so alone.
When the focus is only on sales and performance you neglect other important facets of your business like people and purpose. And when purpose is lost, business stagnates.
We’ve developed Sofia’s story as a way to help entrepreneurs learn how to get out of their own way and stop being the bottleneck to growth. It starts by re-finding purpose.
Sofia is a fictional persona developed from the very real and raw business bruisings we encountered in our pre-Wyseminds lives as company owners. We’ve been there, done that and got T-shirts. Along the way we discovered simple tools that helped us get off our hamster wheels and develop thriving, purpose-led businesses.
Sofia’s story depicts the growth progress of her backpack company and the pitfalls she faced. It will help you recognise at what stage your company is, and what the right next step is.
The power of purpose
Founders are supposed to lead and find new opportunities, not firefight their way through each day. The way you become unstuck is to make yourself redundant from your current position so that you can continually promote yourself into a role that enables you to do what you love most and are good at. Easier said than done! We hear you.
First you need to re-find your purpose. So what does that look like? The Oxford English dictionary defines purpose as:
the intention, aim or function of something; the thing that something is supposed to achieve
Such a simple definition yet one at such risk of being muddied by the everyday humdrum of running a business. The important steps are:
- Getting out of your own way
- Taking a step back to recreate personal purpose
- Building organisational purpose and trust in your people.
If the thought of taking a step back from your company sends shivers down your spine, this probably applies even more so to you.
Learning how to remove yourself from everyday run-of-the-mill tasks is a fundamental step towards business growth. It’s how you rediscover your own personal purpose, who you are and what your essence is, which you can then embed within your company through organisational purpose and values. Once the business is purpose-led, your teams will have something meaningful to follow and get behind, and trust can be strengthened on all sides.
So how do you do it?
Building organisational purpose and trust
The space you achieve by building a moat between you and your company, brings many benefits. You will now be able to do the job of a founder again and will have a clearer vision of the changes you need to make.
The first thing is to rewind to stage 1 when it was all about comradeship and motivation. Review what you’ve built and celebrate your achievements. Then ditch the systems and processes that are no longer serving your goals.
Second, re-tell the story of your company’s origins, what makes it unique and what it stands for. Be sure everyone is involved in this phase and understands: your teams (new and old), your suppliers and your customers.
Rebuilding trust, unity, connection and passion with your people and customers will make it easier for you to hand over responsibilities and gain the freedom you crave.
Research shows that companies where everyone believes in a strong purpose grow faster, perform better and return more value to shareholders. But for this to truly work, that purpose must be deeply embedded and not superficial.
Achieving success the Wyseway
Wyseminds is a support system of people, knowledge and tools that helps female entrepreneurs achieve the growth they want.
Our new book The Wyseway contains all the lessons and insights we wish we’d had when growing our businesses. The book is available in the Wyseminds shop or you can sign up to our support programme Your Journey for a copy.
If you’re feeling blocked, try the tips and tricks we’ve included in the book or learn from Sofia’s story how to harness the power of purpose.