Most business owners will tell you that the only thing harder than getting started in business is staying in business. The dream of business success can start to fade when the realities of day-to-day business challenges start to take a toll.
Here are some tips to help prevent burn-out and make it easier to manage your company.
Business Tip #1: Get Connected
Start to make – and sustain – connections both online and in person. Identify key peers, mentors and advisors and reach out to them. Building a network provides support, direction and referrals to people who can help you when needed.
Business Tip #2: Focus on the Customer
Your company won’t exist long without customers. The customer’s experience with your brand or product has to be front and center at all times. Customer service is an investment – not an expense. Word-of-mouth is the most powerful marketing tool there is. Remember that employees, vendors and investors are your customers too.
Business Tip#3: Authenticity Builds Trust
Being authentic doesn’t make you a great leader, but you can’t be a great leader if you aren’t authentic. Leaders who portray authenticity are well-liked, followed and, most importantly, trusted.
Business Tip#4: Accountability Ensures Results
Business owners who never lose sight of measurable results keep their people and themselves focused on producing. And no matter what the size or type of business you own, that is what leading is all about.
Business Tip#5: Dismiss Confusion through Clarity
Business gets messy; things are not always accurate, precise or correct. Still, tough decisions have to be made in the face of imperfect information. Successful leaders learn how to be decisive even when they might not have all of the information. By presenting information in a clear, understandable way, they infuse their organization with confidence and focus.
Business Tip#6: Encourage Diverse Perspectives
Diversity of thought and viewpoints are valuable because they reveal the true issue. Encouraging discussion – even argument if kept professional – will help to find creative solutions and create buy-in for those allowed to have a say in the matter at hand.
Business Tip #7: Influence Change
Successful business leaders know that with every change comes opportunity. Knowing how to harness and use those opportunities wisely – to bring influence to those opportunities – takes skill, patience and knowing strategies that influence change.
Business Tip #8: Listen for Win-Win Solutions
Listening is the first step to thinking about things differently. Profitable ideas start with listening and thinking about things in new ways. Most people aren’t open to learning better ways to listen because they think they already know everything there is to know about listening. This is rarely the case. Mastering communication means letting go of assumptions, beliefs and thinking we know the content or person with whom we are engaging. The way a business owner listens – and communicates – will make a big difference their business outcome.
Business Tip #9: Value Work / Life Balance
It is so easy to get caught up with all of the demands placed on a business owner. But in order to sustain your business, you have to create a balanced life. All of the parts of life have to be working harmoniously for you to be healthy and thrive. Your business will benefit in the long run when you attend to yourself and your family. Plan a balanced schedule and stick to it!
Business Tip #10: Stay Positive and Don’t Give Up
Business always includes an element of risk and experimentation, which means business owners may experience failure at times. Failure occurs more often than success when we are learning. Failure is not the problem; our reaction to failure is. Remember that nothing is ever a waste in the natural world – everything gets recycled – even ideas! A failure today is an opportunity to explore another aspect of your ability to create something greater tomorrow. Embrace failure – plan for it! – and then when it happens you will be able to move forward with a positive attitude knowing that sometimes what looks like failure may provide something much greater than the original dream.
Owning a business is a journey that challenges us to grow and become successful in our endeavors. Staying in business may stretch us in ways we never imagined. Looking outward to resources that can help us identify and make necessary improvements can make that journey enjoyable and profitable.
Help other business owners learn from your experiences. What strategies would you recommend to new business owners to help them stay in business? What would you add to this list? What mistakes have you made that you now know to avoid in the future?