[This is part of the Side Business Series: From Extra Income to Full-Time Business]

There are four stages of business growth: start-up, growth, maturity , and decline. I think the hardest stage, and probably the one most of you are struggling with, is the start-up stage. This is natural: it is tough to start something new. I would like to share with you 7 tips I have learned to accelerate the growth of your side business.

1.  Understand your business – This seems like a no-brainer, but this is deceptively difficult and multifaceted. I will be covering a lot of these during this side business series.

  • What business are you in?
  • What products and services will you sell?
  • What is your unique value proposition?
  • Who are your ideal customers?
  • What is your business model?
  • Will you have employees?
  • How does your business fit with your life plan?
  • Who are you competitors?
  • What sets you apart from your customers?

2.  Understand your weaknesses – I have stressed the importance of building a business around your strengths, but it is also critical to understand your weaknesses. Businesses require many roles and talents. You will not possess all of those talents and skills. Therefore, you need to know what you don’t know.

3.  Hire your weaknesses – Once you know your weaknesses, you can hire the right people to help you out. When I launched my side businesses, I realized immediately that I suck a web design and coding. Therefore, I contracted with Michael Soriano and Jessica Carpel Kupferman to help me with my design work. I also hired an accountant to help with my business taxes. I also hired my friend Cliff Ravenscraft to help me start a podcast (more to come on this one).

4.  Learn what you need to know - There is so much to learn when starting a business. I guarantee that you don’t know everything. Once you identify the topics you need to learn more about, start reading relevant books, attend classes, and talk to experts. The faster you learn, the faster you will accelerate your growth.

5.  Hire a coach (or two) – Given that I am a coach, I really think that coaching can help any aspiring business owner. Even though I am a coach myself, when I started SoloBizCoach.com, I started working with two coaches–Pam Slim and Justin Lukasavige. Since I was new to the coaching world, I wanted to accelerate the growth of my coaching business by hiring people who have already built successful coaching practices. By the way, if you are interested in hiring a coach, please email me at fred@solobizcoach.com to set up a free consultation where we can find out if my coaching is right for you.

6.  Talk to your peers - Many people are scared to talk to their peers because they see them as their competition. This is a very limiting mindset. My peers are not my competitors: they are my collaborators. I have learned so much from my peers. They have been invaluable to the growth of my business.

I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of these people, and this list just represents a tiny fraction of the people who have helped me starting SoloBizCoach.com.

7. Execute – This last tip is the most important tip I can give you. You have to execute. Start doing. Many of us have a tendency to plan and plan, but planning will not grow your business. You need to execute. As Larry the Cable Guy says, Get er done!

I hope that these tips help you to accelerate the growth of your side business.

[Photo by Michael Kuik]