Running a small business isn’t easy. Sure it has its share of excitement and joy, but as an entrepreneur, you’ll face a lot of tough times and rough markets. It can feel like the entire weight of your small business industry is collapsing on your shoulders. When faced with these times, many small business owners lose their passion for their business and run for the hills. Here’s advice for holding onto that passion and getting your small business through these inevitable rough patches.
You are going to fall off your proverbial bike. Accept it. Make failure work for you. Get up, dust yourself off, figure out what you did wrong and then get back on the bike, vowing not to make that same mistake again. In the case of small business, getting back on the bike means rethinking your strategy.
Eventually, you’ll figure out all the things that make for a bumpy ride and all of the things that make for a smooth road. Unfortunately, the only way to figure this out is to keep falling and getting back up. Accept this process as part of your business education and embrace your failures as part of the necessary steps on your path to success.
Go Easy on Yourself
Even experienced entrepreneurs run into trouble with their small business. The risks are great, the hours are long and the work is tough. You have to be a business person, an innovator, a CEO, a sales director, a marketing manager, a financial officer and many other things, all at the same time. No one can do it all. Avoid the tendency to beat yourself up. You are doing something most people wouldn’t even dream of attempting.
When you start to get down on yourself for not being an overnight success or compare yourself to others who appear to have more success than you, take a step back and think about how much you have accomplished. Take stock of how much you’ve learned and how far you’ve come. You took a risk and, for that, you are already a success. You are a brave, ambitious person. Don’t forget that.
Stay Focused on Your Small Business Goals
You started a business because you had a dream. Bad financial moves, disappointing sales, failed product launches and any number of things can go wrong, causing you to question your business idea or your abilities. When this happens, ask yourself if this one setback is worth giving up your dream. If the answer is no, and it should almost always be no, then learn from the experience and move forward. There is a reason you were driven to start this small business and a reason you were given this dream in the first place.
Expand Your Horizons
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, especially during a tough market. Reinvigorate your passion for your small business by reading new publications or adding a fresh perspective to your strategy. If you are finding that your business is in a lackluster place, take action. Attend a conference or seminar that applies to your industry. Take some classes to help you master a skill with which you may be struggling. Attend a networking event to meet other small business owners who may have gone through some of your experiences or meet with a mentor who can shed some light on your situation. Sometimes, taking positive steps in the right direction are all that’s needed to help you achieve your goals.
Surround Yourself with Positivity
Create and nurture a support group of friends, family and business contacts who will lift you up when you are down. This is true for your personal life and it is also true for your professional life. Participate in activities that relax you and make you happy. This can be as simple as getting some exercise, taking a short overnight or weekend vacation or even just getting out of the office and working from a coffee shop for the day. Eschew anyone or anything negative that will only add to your bad feelings. Any decisions you make for your small business should be done with a clear head and controlled emotions.
Fear of rejection is a very strong motivator and, often, can lead people to make business decisions that aren’t in the best interest of themselves or their company. You can avoid making that mistake by accepting this one reality of life, especially business life: You will face rejection. It will happen more than once, maybe even frequently. It happens to everybody and you are no exception. However, like every other business failure, rejection comes with an opportunity to learn something you can use to improve yourself for next time.
Now, empowered with that knowledge, get out there and build a great business.