Small business – using your courage.
Sometimes, in our anxiety to keep looking ‘successful’ in our new small business journey (after all, who wants to admit that this fantastic idea and dream is not sky-rocketing the way you’d hoped) – we miss a valuable opportunity. We need to open doors for business mentoring by being more honest (not negative) and saying ‘Look, it’s a bit slower to start than I’d hoped, or..I’ve hit a couple of hurdles that I need help to go around or over.’ We open the door for our listeners to offer the help or advice they might not otherwise have done. Generally, people are reluctant to offer advice or feedback to something they hear is going really well – it leaves them too exposed for the idea to be not what you want, or not required. Your small business is successful, therefore what you are doing must be already making good choices and decisions. No need for help or support. WRONG. We always need support and help. Other people’s perceptions and ideas can make us stronger, or give us food for thought. Very important when you are working on your small business on your own.
This is where facing your fears is really important. Fear can hold a small business back, can stop you asking for help, and can limit the calculated risk you take. Moving forward with a small business, especially one that has no real proven market – perhaps you are heading in a new direction, or launching a new product – this can be daunting and keep many of us awake at night. It doesn’t matter how much YOU believe in your product. Now its time to inspire others to believe in it enough to monetise your idea, product or service.
As a new small business owner, we need to keep asking for feedback, guidance and ideas. Recognise that your original brainwave can, and must, evolve. Don’t lose the essence of it – or the key ideas and your beliefs. Rather, be flexible in delivery of your idea, who your ideal client is, or perhaps how to market the new concept. When in doubt go back to your philosophy of WHY and WHAT you believe in.
Where your market demographic lies is a key road to success. I’ve modified my original market demographic on my first rudimentary business plan so many times, but, in reflection, there are some elements which have remained the same. That is a good thing and one to be built upon.
So, back to facing fears. It takes courage to ask for help. It is important to focus on the fact most people want you to succeed and are willing to think of ways to support or help, even if it is just be a listening post. Each time I’ve faced my own fear of rejection, and discussed genuinely where my business or I am at, it has been very valuable and thought-provoking. I learn from each new experience, that whatever the feedback is, it can be used to grow and learn.
There’s obviously a fine line between discussing potential problems or hiccups and just whingeing about things. It is all about how you communicate your concerns or feelings that is crucial to accessing the listener. We want to make sure we communicate that we are looking for ways forward, rather than just blaming circumstances or others for the present situation. When you are having a real ‘down’ moment – and goodness knows, we all get them – bring yourself up out of it a bit before you go to someone for guidance. Re-focus on the high points and the steps forward you have already made. List the strengths of your business. List your own strengths. Then, when you open a discussion with someone you think can propel you forward again, you go to them with the positives of your business and not so much of the negatives. Rather than feel the pressure to ‘rescue’ you, they are inspired by your resilience and often will offer more positive and constructive feedback and advice than they otherwise would have done. Participating in the success of a small business is a gratifying experience.
From experience, I know that developing a small business and believing in yourself can bring with it some challenging moments -(alright, weeks sometimes) – but it takes resilience and courage to keep going. I read a wonderful quote the other day that said a good idea is not a bad idea until you’ve done it 100 times and really proven it is not viable. I’m adding to that- don’t wait that long, you should modify it as you get the feedback and go again.
As my late father said, “Never give up”.