When you’re confident in an idea, you want it to succeed immediately.
But according to Brian Smith, founder of Ugg Australia and author of “The Birth Of A Brand,”expecting your business to take off right away is like expecting your two-year-old to head off to college tomorrow.
“You can’t give birth to adults,” he explained last month at the 2014 Small Business Summit in New York.
Rather, Smith believes one of the keys to success is treating your business like a baby. Just like an infant, your company needs constant attention at the beginning if you want it to be healthy and grow. “It needs constant feeding and changing,” Smith says.
As it gets older — and you become more experienced as a parent and entrepreneur — your company, like your child, will begin to sustain itself. You can then take a step back, while still keeping a close watch.
Every parent knows children don’t stay small forever, and eventually your business will reach it’s “teenage years,” as Smith puts it. “You’ll want to be everywhere and do everything at once, but that can get out of control,” he warns, referring to the temptation to expand too rapidly.
But if you can keep things running smoothly through this notoriously difficult period, you’re on track to transition into “adulthood,” where you might run into obstacles, but the company will generally be self-sustaining.
While Smith’s metaphor easily compares growing a business to parenting a child, there’s another important reason entrepreneurs should think of their companies as their children: You need to love what you’re doing above all else. “If you love it, no matter what happens, you’ll get through it,” Smith says.