Is a "Mom And Pop" Mindset Affecting Your Growth?

Thinking you're still a small business and the only one who can do your job could be the reason behind stagnating business growth.
April 19, 2017

For those who perform the revenue-generating tasks of running a business, like providing legal advice or creating the cakes in the bakery, it may seem like there are not enough hours in the day to step back and think about implementing growth strategies. Then there are others who never even consider "growth strategies," choosing to focus on the technical task at hand instead. This type of mentality (focus on the task instead of the growth of the company) can also be referred to as the M.A.P. Mindset—affectionately known as the Mom And Pop Mindset.

What, you ask, is an M.A.P. Mindset?  Simply put, it is a management or leadership philosophy that embraces a "I need to do this (manage, operate, finance, legal, issue, marketing) myself." 

A business owner who has a need to do—or inability to stop doing—tasks themselves can stagnate growth. Some would argue it is the opposite of an entrepreneurial mindset. One of my colleagues put it this way: "If your exclusive function in your company is that of being the producer, you don't have a business, you have a job." 

If growth is a stated goal, you may want to strategize on the systems, training, processes and relationships that are essential to obtain it.

It's a harsh reality check. If you are of the belief that only you can perform the tasks necessary to be successful, sustained growth may be difficult to achieve. Systems, training and goal setting can all be keys to your company's growth.

Do you think you have an M.A.P. Mindset? You may if you have consistently made any of the following statements:

1. "No one can do it like I can!"

Why is that exactly? Have you considered training your assistant on how to properly bake that special recipe or taking the time to edit the brief of your junior law associate?

If you believe that there aren't any good people out there, there is a strong possibility that you haven't taken the time to stop doing it yourself to show a talented, yet less experienced person the ropes. If finances is the issue, there may be lots of interns and college students who value the experience and can assist you in exchange for the knowledge they will receive. (Just make sure you're following the rules of hiring interns.)

2. "Having systems take away from the creative process—I prefer to be inspired."

Focusing more on your passion for the product and less on the consistency of the process may mean you have an M.A.P. mindset.

Things in your business should not change with your mood or feelings. They should be written down so that no matter what mood you are in, the cake will taste the same.

3. "I don't have enough money for professionals. I can Google it."

Now, I understand that professionals can be a financial burden for small-business owners. However, in order to achieve true growth, professionals are often vital for assisting in your growth. Otherwise, you could be penny wise and...well, you know the rest.

4. "I don't want to owe anyone."

There are lots of people who bring their personal financial philosophies into their businesses and do so at the own peril.

While being debt-free is an attractive goal, in business, it is the rare entrepreneur who is a financial island. No equity partners? No 504 SBA loans? No credit lines? That may also equal no growth.

In sum, each business owner must decide what business model works best for them. If growth is a stated goal, you may want to strategize on the systems, training, processes and relationships that are essential to obtain it.

Read more articles on leadership.

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