The life of a small business owner operating in the WordPress space can be at once, fun, challenging and even outright frustrating.
It’s as though you are endlessly trying to manage the balance between growing your business and maintaining some degree of sanity. This is the life of an entrepreneur and as much as you are faced with continual challenges, that’s part of what makes the entrepreneurial process so much fun.
One of the biggest challenges you might be facing as a WordPress professional is how to jumpstart your business growth. It’s far too easy to get caught up in the day to day operations and lose sight of where you want to be five years from now.
If you sometimes feel like your business is stagnant or you’re having trouble finding the time to grow your business, this post just might provide some ideas that are helpful.
Perform an Honest Self-Assessment
Anytime you start to feel like your business has become stagnant, it’s a good indicator that it might be time to take a closer look at what’s going on.
We’ve all heard the saying “you can’t see the forest for the trees” and running a small business is no different. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to step back a take bird’s-eye view of your business.
But looking at your business from a different perspective is not as easy as it might sound. Most entrepreneurs are more optimistic than we should be – it’s kind of a necessity, right? The problem is that when we’re put in a position of performing an objective assessment of our business, we’re never really 100% honest with ourselves no matter how hard we try. We often make things out to be better than they actually are without actually realising we are doing so.
So, although it’s not easy, it is important to learn how to objectively analyze every aspect of your business. Sometimes enlisting help from someone else who both understands the WordPress ecosystem and is an entrepreneur themselves can be a good idea.
The more objective you are, the easier it becomes to figure out what needs changing in order to jumpstart growth.
Get Out of Your Own Way
Another difficult thing for most entrepreneurs is being able to look in the mirror and admit when we are the cause of our own challenges and issues. Working with technology and being an entrepreneur requires a certain degree of perseverance. Most of the time, that perseverance works in your favor. Where other people might quit, entrepreneurs refuse to do so. Where other developers give up on a challenge, you find a solution.
But sometimes that perseverance gets in your way. Refusing to admit where a problem might exist in our business is not perseverance, it’s stubbornness.
A key attribute of successful entrepreneurs is being able to admit when we are wrong. Remaining open to trying new ideas, experimenting with new technology or tools and accepting when something needs to change. Getting out of your own way is a skill that once mastered, makes growing your business infinitely easier.
Create Systems & Delegate as Much as Possible
Running a successful WordPress business means you’re probably wearing quite a few different hats. Developer, designer, customer service, accountant, and sales rep to name a few. It’s a lot for any one person to manage.
Is your WordPress business at a stage where it’s feeling a little stagnant? Or maybe you’re feeling like you’ve reached a sticking point that you are finding difficult to break through?
If this is the case, then try taking a close look at the roles you are playing. Are you still trying to manage (or micro-manage) every aspect of the business by yourself?
If you find yourself nodding after reading that question, it’s time to stop. No, not the nodding, the micromanagement.
The “I can do it myself” attitude is helpful, even necessary, when you first launch your business. But there comes a time when it no longer serves you well. Entrepreneurs who are able to grow their businesses have the ability to prioritize and hand-off the tasks that other people are capable of doing just as well, if not better than they can.
You’re much better off spending your time on the tasks that contribute towards business growth or that you are really good at and then delegate the rest as soon as possible. That might mean hiring a part-time virtual assistant, a full-time contractor or employee.
One action that can potentially make the process of delegation much easier is to make sure you create SOPs (standard operating procedures) for your business. When you land a new web design client, what is your onboarding process like? How do you set them up in your CRM and project management software? Establish a process for everything.
There are no two ways about it, delegation, and giving up a measure of control can be difficult. But if you want to grow your business, you must stop doing everything yourself.
Stop Performing Repetitive Tasks
In case you’re not quite ready to hire a virtual assistant or your first employee, there are still actions you can take to free up your time. If you’re a WordPress developer there are really two key tasks that you should be focusing your time and energy on:
- Development related or billable tasks.
- Looking for new clients.
Essentially, any other tasks that you are spending time on will take away from what is more important. This includes accounting, dealing with cold leads, customer service, and social media. Almost all of these tasks can at least be somewhat automated.
Email auto-responders, marketing automation platforms like Infusionsoft and services like Zapier can save you an enormous amount of time. Even small repetitive tasks add up over the course of a month. If you’re not using any form of automation in your WordPress business, it’s a great place to start – even before you make your first hire.
Become a Great Business Owner
Maybe you fell into entrepreneurship unintentionally. You started out taking on some occasional freelance jobs while working a regular 9-5 and the next thing you know, you’ve quit your job and are running a full-time business.
But there is a big difference between being a great WordPress developer or a highly skilled designer and being a good business owner. There is little crossover between being good at coding and being good at managing a team. In fact, it’s possible to be an awesome WordPress developer yet still have your business go under.
The secret is to spend as much time working on your business as you do working in it. Commit time every week to growing as a business owner and taking actions that benefit your business. In doing so, your chances of long-term success will be vastly improved.
Don’t Be Afraid of Change – Do Something Different
Here is the number one thing you can do to jumpstart your business growth when you’re feeling stuck: Do something different than what you’re already doing.
Getting caught in a rut is easy to do when you’ve got your head down, powering through a list of client work a mile long. But digging your heels deeper into the ground is rarely the right solution. If you’ve already read the previous five things in this article, you’re left with what is essentially one option and that’s taking action.
Pick one area where you suspect a problem exists and make a change. That one thing will be different for everyone, but some examples could include:
- Get help from a business coach or join a mastermind group. Anything that will help to keep you accountable is a good idea. Both of these options can contribute towards gathering a realistic opinion of the strengths and weaknesses for both your business and yourself as an entrepreneur.
- Writing out a list of everything you do in your business and looking for ways to simplify or automate some of those tasks. Saving 5 minutes per day adds up to 100 minutes per month.
- Consider hiring someone on a part-time basis to handle the tasks that are not mission-critical. This will free you up to spend more time on billable hours or prospecting for new clients.
Sometimes, doing something new can also mean pivoting your entire business. Maybe you’ve been targeting a specific clientele and realize that things aren’t working as planned. If you’ve been putting forth a concerted effort for a reasonable period of time and still feel like you not making the kind of progress that should be expected, maybe it’s time to consider a pivot.
For example, you might shift your focus from custom website development for small businesses to a productized model for law firms.
Sometimes a pivot occurs simply because you add a new service to your business. You experience unexpected traction and before you know it your business has changed directions. As entrepreneurs, we should never be afraid to put aside what’s not working and double down our effort on what is.
Successful businesses are often fluid – adapting to change and looking for opportunities to meet demand.
Although your business is highly specialized – dealing specifically with WordPress – it’s really no different than any other business. There will be times of growth and times of stagnation.
It’s normal to experience times when business is slow. But learning to recognize when slowness has turned into a slump can help you determine when it’s time to make some changes – rarely does growth or change happen on its own.
What are some of the internal changes you’ve had to make as an entrepreneur in order to jumpstart growth in your business? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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