Being in business can be a very lonely place. It’s a fact. And because you’re isolated you can often get caught up, lose your way a little or just generally feel a bit demotivated. So I thought I’d write a little blog about how you make sure you always feel good about your business.
Be clear about who you are and who your customers are
Feeling lost as a business owner often comes from losing sight of yourself and/or your customers. If you’re questioning whether you’re doing the right things, whether you’re going to reach this month’s targets, then it might be time to remind yourself why you started your business and what your purpose is.
Your business, your rules
There are lots of people out there giving business advice (even me!) and many of them deal in absolutes. For example listen out for lines that start with “You will only be a success if…” “Successful business owners all do this…” The fact is it’s your business and your rules. If you want to start at 9pm and finish at 3am and your customers are ok with it – try it! Essentially, if that’s what it takes for you to enjoy your business then it will ultimately end up more successful because you will be happier.
Don’t fall into the trap of telling yourself you’re too busy to keep learning (or worse! That you know it all). Continuing to educate yourself in your field, in management skills, in entrepreneurial skills will always be a sound investment. You don’t have to spend fortunes – there are plenty of free seminars, libraries, downloads etc if you’re on a budget, but make the time! You’ll feel great for it and if you’re anything like me you’ll find a way to make your new knowledge benefit your customers.
Know your strengths
How many of us are so busy focusing on what we can’t do, we forget what we can do? So think about it… what are you good at? If you can’t think of anything I’ll give you some examples. Most of us excel in at least one of the following:
sales, building relationships, leading, getting things done (also known as being a do-er), planning, brainstorming, organising, dealing with lots of information, problem solving, paperwork, accounting…
You’ll have others, but always know your strengths. And find other people to take over those areas where you’re weakest.
Be careful of ‘helpful’ advice
For every person that you find that will support and encourage you, there will generally be at least 3 who will say “you can’t”. Often they’re your family and closest friends. Mostly they do it because they care and they want the best for you. But sometimes you have to use crazy (yet well thought out) strategies to get where you want to go.
Have a goal that motivates you
The key here being it has to motivate you. Paying your bills is an essential thing to do. But will your first thought of the day get you jumping out of bed in the morning with a smile on your face? Probably not. There is a theory that it’s easier to earn £100,000 than it is to earn £1,000, just because of the excitement that goes a long with having that kind of challenge.
Learn to see the positive
Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty kind of a person? Both types are actually very useful in business. You need someone that’s enthusiastic and positive, and you need someone who will be able to see the possible pitfalls. Though if you’re a ‘half-empty’ kind of person, it’s a good idea to find a confidant who is a ‘half-full’ type. Someone who will help you see that there are positives to every situation and give you a boost when you need it.
Know when to ask for help
No woman or man is an island. You may be the business owner and the buck may stop with you, but never be too proud to ask for advice or to ask for what you need.
Be a ‘we can do it’ type of person
Ever lost your keys? You go hunting around the house for them telling yourself you can’t find your keys and you’re going to be late (it’s always when you’re in a rush) then your spouse picks them up and you say… “but I looked there!” Why does that happen? Apparently it’s because you’re so busy telling yourself that you can’t find your keys that your brain shuts off.
So, when posed with a challenge or a new situation, rather than thinking “oh heck I’m never going to do this” ask yourself “how can I make this work for me?” A lot of my clients initially think I’m talking about mumbo-jumbo-hippy-stuff, but it’s more about getting yourself into the ‘zone’. That Zone where your brain works for you rather than against you. Ask the right questions and you might be surprised…
“Only the crystal-clear question yields a transparent answer” Zen proverb
Remember: Success is often found in the boring and mundane…
In many businesses it is being able to do those things that no one else can do or that others don’t want to do that makes the difference. My telemarketing business was started because so many business owners I spoke to when I was a sales person hated making their own appointments. I’d always done it. And I knew how to train others to do it. In many businesses it’s being able to do the least exciting things that sets you apart from your competition or makes you invaluable to your clients.
Have monthly management meetings – even if it’s just with yourself
Meeting with yourself once a month isn’t as daft as you might think. If you’ve got another director involved in the business, or a team then you absolutely must have meetings once a month – or even better once a week. A monthly meeting should be somewhere where you can’t be distracted by the phone or emails or anything else and go through what you achieved last month, your targets for next month, your challenges and your plans for making it all happen. You will feel more in control if you take a little time to do this and you can also start to see a progression each month which will make you feel great.
Celebrate every minor achievement!
Do you celebrate regularly in your business? Whether you buy champagne when you get that new client, treat yourself to lunch when you finish your yearly bookkeeping or take the afternoon off when you reach a target, I firmly believe that you will feel great every time you make the effort to reward yourself for good behaviour. It’s worth it and it will help you realise that you’re doing really well.
You’ll also motivate yourself to do more.
Feeling good about yourself in business does take a bit of effort, but it’s such an important part of that work-life-balance thing and making sure you’re not slogging away for nothing.
Have an awesome day everyone!