How many times has the thought come to mind, I like what I’m doing so I’m not going to change it. And how often has the thought come to mind, I really don’t want to take that chance because it won’t work, this is what works for me. This is what’s called a comfort zone. A comfort zone can be a good thing but it can also be not so good when wanting to grow with business. Comfort zones can actually become a problem in business by not allowing any business owners to move forward in getting clients or reaching the goals that they want. This difficulty can cause an even larger situation by slowing down a business owner in how they react to every day business activity. That can become a serious affect on the outcome of what the business will turn out to be in the long run.
A business owner moves forward and yet stays cautious for many reasons. Those reasons can vary from fear of the unknown risks to the unwillingness of change due to the comfort zone they have built around them. Picture this in your mind for a moment as a reference to a comfort zone. A comfort zone is like a large brick wall built around a castle. Your business is the castle and your comfort zone is protected by a large brick wall that surrounds it. Your castle (business) stays protected by that wall (your comfort zone) which is a good thing however as I said earlier, it can be a bad thing and I’ll explain why now. That large wall (your comfort zone) does not allow others enter your castle (business) nor does it allow others see the inside of your kingdom (your website) and learn more of who you are. So that brings up the point and question, how else would others get to learn about you if they cannot see the inside of your kingdom or enter your castle? They simply cannot know who you are if you do not let them and that causes difficulty in doing business with others.
It may not be the greatest analogy but it was the easiest way of explaining a comfort zone. So now it raises the question, how to break out of your comfort zone. Well I must say first off, don’t get excited and think that it has to be done full force because it can cause more damage than good. What can be done is to take steps very slow and at your own pace. I will go back to my castle analogy to explain.
Kings and queens centuries ago had large festivals and parties that consisted of inviting friends, families, etc into their kingdom for a day of celebration. There was not always a reason for having a festival but there was always a reason for meeting others and making alliances. It works the same way in business, you don’t always need to go and spread the word about your business but meeting with others whether it be through groups or by joining local business community functions can benefit your business because it will let others know you do exist and it will also give opportunity to build contacts with other business owners.
There are many business owners in the world however the joy of it is, out of all the business owners in the world today there is plenty of opportunity to join forces (alliances) and build business from one another. Consider this as an example. You own a desktop publishing business; another person owns a business that sells candy. Now they are two different businesses however they can combine forces and help out one another. An easy solution could be by this. The business owner of the candy store needs business brochures to display all of her main products that she sells plus has a description of her business. She wants a brochure that has a photo of her business on the front of the brochure also. Now the desktop publisher can give that to her for a reasonable price; that will solve the candy store owner’s issue for advertising. The desktop publisher is giving a small presentation and she wants something special for the guests that she can hand out along with her brochure. The candy store owner sells her 3 small pieces of chocolate candies wrapped in tin foil then wrapped up in a cello like bag with a small piece of ribbon she can attach to her brochure. The desktop publisher can sit that on the tables in front of each seat for the guests. It is a perfect match and both businesses have worked together. They have built their alliance together and broke out of their comfort zone.
So if considering the fact these two totally different companies, far from being close to one another in products and services, can join alliances with one another that would say any business can work together as long as each compliment what they sell. That is the key – compliment what is sold. Using the example with the candy store and the desktop publisher could be easily considered as breaking out of your comfort zone as well as complimenting your business.
A comfort zone can be worked out of one step at a time and when I say that you can make little goals for yourself. For example, set a higher goal that you’ve never tried before and work for it. Make a promise to yourself that when – NOT IF – WHEN you reach that goal, you’ll reward yourself with something special that you haven’t gotten before or done in a long time. Use the words when because using the word if doesn’t reinforce your self esteem, you’re setting yourself up for a fall. Build your self confidence and believe that you can do what you set out to do. Reach for your goals and work for what you want to achieve. You can work through this process one month at a time and over the process, you will find that it can get easier as you do things. The more you learn, the easier it is to get things done. The easier it is to get things accomplished the more you will find it can be easier for you to want to learn new things.
In the end, breaking out of your comfort zone is one of the best things a business owner can do. A business owner should always know that regardless of how difficult it may be, they are never alone because there is always someone else who has experienced or is going through similar situations. Don’t be afraid to ask questions because someone else may have those same concerns. Working together with other business owners will help build your business and it can help break you out of your comfort zone.
Sue Elvins is the owner of A Page Or 2, a web consulting company for small business owners and non profit organizations. Her experience in project management provide clients with options of increasing profit margins. For more information: http://www.apageor2.com