Every business is a living organism.

At a certain point in time, it is born.

It goes through the stages of infancy, adolescence, and maturity.

It struggles, it experiments, it learns, and it grows.

And when it stops growing, it sputters and gasps for air.

It puts up a fight for a while; and then it goes out of business.

It dies.

That's why setting your business up for growth is a business imperative.

Not just survival. Growth.

The rule of business growth says that every business is destined to grow. This is the Growth Imperative.

As the business owner, it's your job to lead that growth--to nurture it and support it in every way.

To build it on the foundation of your dream, vision, purpose, and mission.

To continually infuse it with passion, belief, and method.

As your business grows, it naturally changes. And as it changes from a small business to something bigger, you'll begin to feel out of control.

You'll reach the point where the needs of your business exceed your personal know-how, it spirits right past you, and now it's taunting you to keep up.

That's when you'll start to panic and try to contain the growth in the mistaken belief that, by reining in the growth, you'll remain in control.

But by holding on to that sense of control, by containing the growth to something you can comfortably manage, by staying in your comfort zone, you are actually cutting off the air supply that keeps your business alive.

If this sounds rather dire, you're right. But by the same token, it can actually be the turning point that propels you and your business to the next level.

The panic you experience as your business grows beyond your comfort zone is a sign that you've reached a fork in the road: on path A you stay in your comfort zone and try to hold things together as best you can; but on path B you do what it takes to grow the business as the Growth Imperative dictates you must.

Unfortunately, we all know what most business owners do. Path A. Stay small. Play it safe. (Which is not really safe at all.)

We know this because the statistics continue to bear out the fact that the survival rate for small businesses is abysmally low.

Path B--the growth path--is always the path to take.

It's the path to making your business dream a reality.

Growth is going to happen no matter what you do. (Until you kill it, that is.)

You can't expect your business to stand still, to stay small. A business that stays small and depends on you to do everything isn't really a business at all, is it? It's a job!

Just like every living organism, your business must be allowed to grow, to flourish, to change, to become more than it is.

Your business is either going to grow or die.

The choice is yours.