This is a guest post by Nik @CareerJourney who is a coach who provides business and Career Coaching services. He has worked in some of the coolest companies (Apple Computer) and challenging environments (North Sea Oil Platforms).
Nik has been laid off multiple times and now has his own coaching practice. He has a positive outlook on life and is always willing to help his next client on the way to a successful Career Change.
Setting-up a small business is a dream for many. Young entrepreneurs / solopreneurs may not think to consider the emotional challenges you have to face when starting up a business.
Starting off with optimism is normal. You worked out your products or services based on a brilliant idea you had. You believe many people would love it and you start to market heavily.
Initially, not many people seem to be interested or you are getting mixed reactions. This is the stage where pessimism starts to set in. There could be a variety of reasons why things don’t seem to work out at first.
SMALL BUSINESS STARTUP
Ask yourself some tough questions to see if you are on track:
- Do you really offer value for your clients? Value for money often gets viewed from your own point of view rather then your customers viewpoint. Asking feedback is essential. Talk to other business owners too!
- Are you using the right channels to sell your produces? Selling dog collars on a website focused on cats is just not right.
- Are you targeting the right customers? Selling nappies to single people is not the focus your product deserves. [Note from GrowMap…nappies is British for diapers. 🙂 ]
- Are you managing your relationships with your clients well? Poor relationship management will prevent your from growing your business. Getting your customers to sell your service is the ultimate goal.
- Are you actually making any money? Be honest with yourself. If it takes you 5 hours of effort to sell something that’s worth $25 you need to think again.
These are tough questions and if you do not have a clear view, your business model might be faulty! If that is the case the informed pessimism might never turn into optimism since your business is flawed. Being overworked and stressed is not great. Finding the mistakes in your business and working hard to resolve them will help you move beyond “informed pessimism”.
If you do manage to get some clients on board and start to break even you will notice that your emotions will turn positive and optimism is starting to set in. In order to build a complete business you will now need to ask a completely different set of questions:
- Do you understand all your activities and have you documented them? Documented processes will help you to become efficient. Understanding how long each activity takes and what exactly needs to be done is key.
- Do you have access to all the resources you need to run an effective business? Resources come in all shapes and forms. For a blogger, they are his computer and the Internet. For the invitation writer its paper and envelopes. If a big order comes in do you have the resources to fulfill it? If not you will struggle to grow.
- Are you leveraging the right partnerships? Partnerships are a solution for many things. Selling your service alongside someone else’s services could set your business alight. For example, selling car iPod connector kits via your local garage could really work well. Having a deal with a paper company so you can order large volumes on short notice will help you to get ready for that big order. Partnerships can be golden, make sure you have them.
Clarifying the answers will get you to completion and eventually you will be running a great profitable business.
One element you do need to add to the overall success
of your business is elbow grease. Yes, just plain hard work.
There are some staggering numbers about how many businesses get set-up and how many of those fail. Some of it is due to failure to get a decent business model up and running and some people just realize it’s not for them or they hope to get rich without working.
To summarize: Setting up a business can be very emotional. Like most new entrepreneurs you will have to learn a lot and ask yourself lots of questions. Be aware of your emotions but don’t let them rule you. Most small business owners will agree they all had a time when they felt emotionally drained and we all wondered if it would ever work out. Work hard on your business model and success will come.
Latest posts by Nik Lemmens (see all)
- Are You Really Offering Value to Your Customers? - April 8, 2012
- Small Business Startup: Overcoming Emotional Challenges Whilst Setting Up Your Business - February 29, 2012