Many times when a new business, or business owner, runs into difficult times, people find that they don’t know what to do, or don’t have the motivation, to overcome these hardships. This is often because the reason why they started a business in the first place has been lost along the way. Any entrepreneur needs to know, and remember, why they started their business and they need to remember and hold on to that when dealing with difficult times.
What Made you Start your Business?
Do you remember why you decided to go into business on your own in the first place? If you don’t then it is time to sit down and really look at what got you here. Was it your ambition? Was it your desire to be your own boss? Was it your need to be able to be creative? What was it that brought you to the shore of your own business in the first place?
If you have lost sight of this along the way it is time to take stock and get reorganized.
Take some time to look at your business and see if it is currently matching up to the dream that you first envisioned when you started the whole thing. If not, what changes can you make to bring it closer to that dream? Were there parts of your dream that you now understand to be unrealistic? How can you match up your vision, with what you now understand to be reality?
Getting Business in Order
No matter what kind of business you are in, from bookkeeping to poetry, you have to have some form of organization. You need to keep clear and clean records. If this isn’t something that you are good at, find someone that can help you. If you can’t afford to pay an employee or bookkeeper then find another business owner that might be willing to trade bookkeeping services for your goods or services. Having friends in businesses is going to go a long way.
Keep track of what needs to be done every day. Create a to-do list and make sure that you stick to it. Use a calendar to help you stay on schedule. Make sure that your office is clean and well appointed so it is easy for you to be organized.
If you have hit a rough patch in your business the first thing to do, after taking stock, is reorganize. Look at what you could be doing better or more efficiently and make changes.
Watch the Competition
Do you know who your main business competitors are? If you don’t, you should. Many business owners get lost in their own day to day needs and never take the time to see what their competitors are doing. This is a big mistake. Your competitors are going to be able to give you clues on what will and won’t work for your own business. Read up on them, go to their stores, find friends in the same industry and share notes. Do your research to help you stay in line with what other businesses like yours are doing.
Understand the Risks
Did you jump into your business without really understanding how long it would take to make a profit? Any time you make a decision or create a plan for your business you need to ask yourself what the downside is. If you know the answer to this question, then you will have a strong understanding of what the risks are. When you know what the risks are, you can better determine if you are willing to take those risks or not.
This also means that you have to be prepared to make sacrifices. You are the business owner. This could mean, long hours, working weekends, no lunch breaks, no overtime pay; especially at first. You have to foster your business with love and that doesn’t always pay really well.
Creativity is Key
Yes you have your own business, which means you are already a creative and brave individual, but you need to continue to use that creativity to keep your business fresh and moving forward. It is important that you stay open to learning new things and trying out new avenues of doing business. The most successful people in business don’t think that they know everything. They work with others, try new things, and stay open to all possibilities. No matter what kind of business you have it is important for you to do this.
Consistent Focus on Service
When you run a business you need to be consistent. This means always doing things at the same level or better. You have to do the same things every day and keep up a good practice of consistency.
You need to stay focused on your goals. Remember; why did you get into this business in the first place? What is your goal? See it, focus on it, and go for it!
To be successful in business you also need to remember about service. Your clients and customers need to feel like you are looking out for them. You need to provide great service, all the time, so they will want to come back and do business with you again. This means being professional, meeting deadlines, living up to any agreements or promises that you made, and sometimes going the extra mile for someone.
Running your own business takes a lot of work and often you have to do it without any of the glory or fame. With your own business it can be easy to get off track when things get rough, but it is important to remember the energy that got you started running your business in the first place. Let that energy fire you through any challenging times that might come your way.
Remember that overall, running a business takes time and energy. Be patient, give yourself a break every once and while, and most importantly, remember to have fun.