Let’s face it – we live in a society obsessed with ‘growth’ as a measure of success. In most of the Western world, growth in GDP is the single factor used to determine how well a country is travelling, as an economy and as a whole.

Even the majority of small business literature, coaching and training programs assume you want to grow BIG – preferably as quickly as possible.

However, many of us love being soloists and have no desire to complicate our lives with staff, premises or longer working hours that come with a bigger business. We have chosen this path for many reasons – to have more freedom and flexibility in our lives, more time for our families, friends and communities, to explore our creativity on our own terms, to look after our health and wellbeing, or just to slow down and escape the rat-race.

That said, we do need to keep challenging ourselves and move beyond our comfort zone or else we stagnate.

As humans, growth is essential. But how do we continue to grow without actually getting bigger?

I believe we can (and should) redefine growth, set more ‘wholehearted’ goals and start recognising our success in other aspects of our lives.

Personal growth

If there’s one thing running a small business is guaranteed to do, it is challenge you! In fact, many people (myself included) say that being a business owner is the biggest personal development journey they have ever undertaken. Overcoming obstacles, dealing with self-doubt, staying motivated, setting boundaries – you will face them all. And you will overcome them! If personal growth proved to be the only positive outcome of running a business, it would still be worth it.

Creative growth

No matter whether you run a product or service business, you are going to have to explore new ideas, develop new offers and probably learn Canva in the process. Creativity is within all of us and is what has kept the human race evolving. Creative growth will help keep your business fresh, your customers loyal, your work interesting, not to mention growing a few new grey cells.

Mastery

Each of us has unique skills, knowledge and talents that we use within our business. A new challenge helps push us out of our comfort zone and learn new skills. The daily practice of our craft – whether that be our profession, communication, sales or an actual craft – ensures we are consistently improving and growing.

Relationship growth

Even as a soloist, we can’t do it by ourselves. Being actively part of networking groups, co-working communities, online groups, masterminds and work-related friendships nurtures us and brings meaning to our lives. These business groups can help us build strong alliances that not only support us personally, but also help grow our businesses.

By choosing to work on our own terms, we also have the ability to prioritise our most significant relationships, i.e. friends and family – especially when that includes that most important work – helping raise small humans.

Profitability

It would be very remiss of me to ignore the money side of business completely! Even if we prefer keeping our business small with fewer complications, most of us would like to make more money. Honouring our value and charging appropriately, outsourcing tasks that are repetitive or outside of our zone-of-genius, and tailoring our offer to our preferred niche are just some of the ways to increase our profitability.

So when you are next setting your business goals, be sure to look beyond sales targets or getting more customers. Consider other ways to ‘grow’ your business and set measures for those goals too.

For it is in this ‘heart of your business’ where you will find the greatest rewards.

This article was originally published on Flying Solo – Australia’s Micro Business Community.

Hi, I'm Cath Connell

Wholehearted Business and Marketing Consultant, and Creator of Wholehearted Marketing

I'm passionate about helping micro and small business owners take a more 'wholehearted' approach, and build a successful business WITHIN a life. Through Wholehearted Marketing, I provide 1:1 consulting and mentoring, training workshops, practical resources and hands-on support. I hope you enjoy reading my posts and find them relevant, helpful and interesting. Feel free to connect with me on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, and make sure you register for your free BIG Marketing Questions Cheat Sheet - it's the perfect tool to get you started!