Imagine that you’re a child with a new piece of gum. How do you go about blowing the biggest bubble you can?

About a year ago I almost sank my primary business in an attempt to make it grow. I had just trained a new crew, increased my clients, and spent several thousands on software, hardware, reports, and leads – all to position myself to an accelerated growth spurt. In the end I had to let go of some contractors, sell some equipment, and even refund a couple of clients. Like the kid with fresh gum, though, I tossed the gum in my mouth, chewed a couple of times and my ambitious bubble popped before it was even ping-pong ball sized. And just like that kid, I was left cleaning a mess of gum, and egg, off of my face.

A year later I’m still in business and better than ever, but what did I do wrong? Well, let’s go back to imagining that child. He knows not to just blow furiously into fresh gum. He’ll lose his bubble and his breath trying to stretch tough pink goo too thin. Instead, he chews it for a while to soften it, blows a small, modest bubble, then goes back to chewing – possibly adding more gum along the way. This process of chewing, blowing, testing, and chewing goes on until in one steady breath you create a bubble large enough to envelop your sister’s favorite doll.

Like the gum, a business (at least my business) needs to be chewed up a bit. Also like the gum, it’s a bit tough at first, but that’s also when it’s the most enjoyable. After a bit of abuse, you try to grow, steadily and just before popping. Then continuing long after it continues to be sweet or novel, increasing your stretch and size over iterations, sometimes adding more as you go. Continue until suitably impressive.

As a digital and technology specialist, I have been involved in the growth of many businesses and the conception of several start-ups. This has given me the chance to witness this bubblegum effect in action. Even still, I managed to get bitten by the ambition bug. Next time you are looking forward to growing or expanding your business, think about a child and his gum while you blow that bubble to help keep you out of a sticky situation.

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