Growth is a difficult decision

This past year Insanitek has looked at growth incrementally and begun to hire more tutors. It wasn’t easy, though. Trying to figure out the balance of running lean enough to keep things going for the long-term and making sure everyone is taken care of is one of the most difficult things that I’ve ever encountered. The mental gymnastics around logistics while maintaining a cash flow is overwhelming from time to time.

That’s part of the entrepreneur’s job.

A budget like this shouldn’t mean you can’t grow slowly.

I find it amusing as most of the consultants out there on the internet are all about surface stuff. Stuff like social media marketing, branding, and some systems for the self. Very few work on systems for a growing business. Those that I’ve found that do tend to not think in terms of keeping prices low enough for the lower working class to afford and running lean. Instead, I’ve received the advice to “take investors.” I don’t know of many that seem to believe in slow, steady growth.

Anyone that’s been around here for any length of time knows my stance on that is “Nope. I’m not busting my ass for someone else to make money off it just by lording over my company and demanding we do things faster.” I want things to be stable, long-lasting, and help people far into a future where I don’t exist.

Besides, the message we want to deliver to people through living the example is that you can start from scratch to make something ─ even science ─ with no money and no social standing to fail upward through.

This stance and mission means the selection of mentors and consultants are rather slim for me. Instead, there’s a lot of reading (because library books are free), reading blogs, seeing patterns, and trial and error.

And a lot of error there is.

Trying things out, measuring their impact, tweaking them, trying them again… that’s all part of it. The iteration is maddening, time-consuming, and often a bit rough on the budget.

For example, we sank $50 into paying for a Pinterest advert to teach parents about how they can integrate interactive journaling in their homeschool. $50 in one month. That could pay for two pieces for a freelance writer, a student’s lunch for 2 weeks, or any other thing. We sank it into adverts to grow the company to get nothing in return. A few thousand impressions, but of course no one can tell you if the browsers saw it while scrolling. So, do you pay another $50 to try a different ad? Or do you pay for a needy student’s lunch?

Scale that up to hiring someone to help tutor. It’s a lot more than $50 a month. If I screw it up, that’s way more than one lunch for one kid for a couple of weeks.

Just because there is risk in growth, doesn’t mean you can’t do it.

Vision means you can build anything you want to. A plan means it stays standing.

Calculated risk is everything. Just like people, companies need a considerable amount of discomfort to grow. There are a lot of moving parts to life, and taking a risk means one more thing is going to be added. It’s a good thing, because as you get used to it, growth on all fronts happens.

The key to keeping from failing massively is to pay attention to cash flow, have a vision of where you want to go, and a plan to get there.

If you’re unsure of what that means, it’s pretty simple. Know what you want, think about what it’s going to take to get there, research options, then budget. And keep cash flow at the top of your mind month to month, week to week. Investors were not joking when they noted that cash flow is king. By staying on top of what’s going on, you can grow – even without the investors.

And in the process of all this you’ll build an antifragile system and foundation to grow more on. That’s far more important if you are really wanting to build something meaningful and leave a legacy for the world.

What is growth to you? How have you overcome the barriers to grow?