Williamsburg School of Medicine explores its own growth possibilities.

Entrepreneurs are passionate, dynamic, and tend to get new ideas quickly. One big challenge that many face after successfully establishing a startup is the urge to immediately launch another business. The urge to jump into the next great idea can really start to feel like an itch that needs scratching. But according to business mentor Norm Brodsky, before you pick up that backscratcher, make sure that you’re not focusing on a new project before you’ve fully explored the growth possibilities of the business that you already have.

In an article for Inc. Magazine Norm tells the story of Craig Howe, founder of the Williamsburg School of Music in Brooklyn, New York. Craig had established a successful business with great growth potential. Because his music school largely operated during the afternoon hours, he was considering using his building as a preschool during the daytime hours when it largely sat empty. Norm warned the young entrepreneur that this may not be the best next move for him.

“There’s a common mistake many entrepreneurs make once they’ve had their initial taste of success,” Norm explains. “Long before they’ve exhausted the growth possibilities of their first company, they decide to start another one in a totally unrelated business they know nothing about, and they end up spending time and money on it that should be put into building their original business instead. The risk is that they’ll end up failing at both.”

First Explore all Growth Possibilities Before Branching Out

Part of what makes a successful entrepreneur is a talent for spotting great business ideas, and the fearlessness needed to launch those ideas into reality. Craig had spotted an unexplored potential for his business in the empty rooms during daytime hours. That part is good. Using that potential to start a whole new, unrelated business is what Norm felt compelled to warn against.

“I impressed on him that value in a business depends on things like recurring income from customers who come back year after year–in other words, exactly what he has at the music school, and what nurseries almost never have.”

Entrepreneurship is very much a balancing act. The key is to keep the cart firmly behind the horse, and put your full focus on your current startup, guiding it through its full growth potential and being prepared for the inevitable peaks and valleys in progression. Once you’ve taken full advantage of your startup’s growth possibilities, then you’ll have the space to explore other business ideas.

Read Norm Brodsky’s article in its original form at Inc. Magazine’s website.