tonya dalton writing in her daily liveWELL Planner from inkWELL Press

3 Key Things I Did to Grow & Expand My Business

This week on Episode 101 of the podcast, I’m diving into all of your big questions about setting goals, planning, and more… And today, I want to continue that conversation by talking about building a business!

I have been met with a lot of curiosity over the last few weeks about the steps that I took to build inkWELL Press when I first started out, and with so many new businesses (big and small) popping up all around the world, coupled with the positivity and promise that a New Year can bring… I thought it might be a great topic to touch on this week.

Whether you’re looking to start your own business in the future, or you’re looking to build the small business you’ve created, I have just a few tips that have made all of the difference with my own entrepreneurial endeavors.

Let’s jump in!


Business How-To: 3 Key Things to Grow + Expand



This tip can seem like a no-brainer… but in my experience, it can be a lot harder than you might imagine when you’re first starting out. After all, for many of us, our businesses are like our babies… It’s difficult to maintain a level head and clear degree of separation when it comes to building it up all of the time!

But this tip bears repeating: No matter what, treat your business like a business.

I’ll be frank here… A business is not and should never be considered on the same level as a hobby. Because it isn’t! Creating, building and expanding a business takes a lot of hard work, focused energy, time and determination.

In that light, I encourage each and every one of you that is looking to create or to expand your existing business to treat it as such.

If you’re just starting, a good exercise is to write out your business operations. How will the day-to-day at your office or workspace run? What will your team look like? What message or mission statement is behind your business? What does your business stand for, and how will you behave as the owner/operator?

Another great exercise is to create a time log for yourself so that you can get a better understanding of how long it might take you to perform everyday business operations. Work to find your bottlenecks, and then create a planning system that will work for you and will ensure that you’re crossing off all of the important marks on your business priority list.

Not sure how to create a time log? Refer to Episode 023 for a refresher!




One of the biggest things that you can to do help your business grow is to create systems that will lend you the space you need to take care of things “in the background”.

When I was working to gain footing with IWP, I spent a lot of time creating a Customer Service Manual, for example, so that the individuals that I decided to bring aboard my team would have an understanding of the way that I wanted things handled when it comes to my customers, and so that my team would know how to handle any issues in the event of my absence from the office.

A great idea to keep in mind when starting out is the “Pass the Bus Test”. In the event that something outrageous and unexpected happens that could up-end an entire day’s work… How prepared would you and your employees be?

While it may feel a bit tedious when you’re just starting out and you’re the only person on your team… Diving into the nitty-gritty parts of your business and fleshing out all of the areas of concern and that need some extra attention will eventually allow you to scale down your responsibilities once you’re able to include more people on your team.

Just remember: The more systems that you have in place at the start (via service manuals; operating procedures, standards, and expectations; etc.), the easier it will be to bring on help quickly in the future!




This last tip was huge for me… And if you have family, friends, or other loved ones waiting for you at home at the end of the day, then chances are this will be extremely helpful for you too!

No matter what: Make sure that your loved ones feel included in your journey, somehow. Because creating and building a business is pretty exciting stuff! It’s natural that your friends and family will want to share some of that euphoria with you and to celebrate all of your little wins along the way.

If you set out to create a business with a foundation in retail and you have kids at home, a great way to get them involved is to recruit them to help with preparing boxes, stamping packaged orders, or restocking shelves. Any way that you are able to include them is a great way to keep your kids engaged and fully invested in the business goals that you have set.

Another great idea is to get your spouse involved! Even if you are only looking for their support, a great way to get them on board with your business goals is to help them see what you’re doing… and to let them know why it’s important to you. The more you let them in, the easier it will be for them to lend you the support you need, when you need it!



Any big business plans in your future? I want to hear about them! Share your experiences in the comments below. What has worked well for you so far, and what areas of your business could use some work?And if you have not had the opportunity to do so… Be sure to tune in to Episode 101 of Productivity Paradox this week where I’m answering all of YOUR questions related to goal-setting, planning, productivity, and more!

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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton