The following article was written by Ruth Verver, partner at Paperclip Promotions. Being your own boss is one of the most amazing and rewarding things you can do. It also tends to be the kind of thing that ties your stomach in knots and causes your head to spin. It’s the beginning of the year…where are all of those sales going to come from? I need help...but what type of person should I hire? Ugh I still need to make that Facebook post that I came up with last week! My bank balance is WHAT?
Small business is good business, but it can be tough sometimes. I believe success comes down to the ability to juggle three equally important tasks: Sales, Operations and Marketing.
But how do you do it all? Ask yourself the following questions. Answer honestly, and I believe you will find a solution that leads to a plan of sanity restoration and fun with juggling.
1. What’s your passion?
Confucius said, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” This is a popular quote and for good reason. If you aren’t excited about going to work each day, you are missing out on something spectacular, and I promise you that your family, employees and your customers will know it--probably before you do. One day I was meeting with a prospect who had done a small amount of business with me, but I was excited to finally sit face to face and bring out all the bells and whistles her potential was so huge. I started to talk about the samples I had brought, and I was telling her all the different ways she could use them. About two minutes in she stopped me and said, “You really love what you do, don’t you?" I paused, and feeling a little embarrassed, I agreed with her. More recently, I have had similar situations, and now those moments make me feel proud--and lucky. There's no reason to be embarrassed to get excited about your business. If you aren’t obviously excited about it, why are you doing it?
2. What does your business need?
Make a short list, the top one or two things that you absolutely need right now to take it to the next level. Focus on those things for now and nothing else. Consider asking yourself this anytime you feel the need for change. Odds are good that your needs today are different from a year ago, so keep it current! More sales or higher margins? A new marketing strategy or a plan for efficiency? A new hire to keep you sane? Making a new hire is a giant commitment and an important asset to invest in. At our company, we have a rule that we never stop business development. At a time when we realized we weren't being consistent enough with it, we decided we needed to hire someone to help out. It was an important step in our growth, and solved our issue so that we had time to call those prospects more frequently. We saw a big difference within a couple of months and were then able to move onto other obstacles!
3. What’s in your way?
Speaking of obstacles….we all have some that get us down. Stop for a minute and close your eyes (but wait till your done reading this post!) and take a minute to identify them. When you open your eyes, it doesn’t matter if you see a mountain or a molehill, you need to identify the top two obstacles, get to know them and then figure out how to destroy them. We battle Father Time quite often--there's just not enough hours in the day. Since we can’t add time to our days, we decided to be more innovative with the time we do have. We realized that working smart is just as important as working hard. By using a new order processing system and taking advantage of technology, we are able to get a little more done each day.
4. What do you do best?
If you’ve read a Seth Godin book, you have heard this before: Figure out what you do best and be remarkable with it. Use your strengths to your advantage. Each of us wants to believe we can do it all, but just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Focusing on what you do best will make you even better, and your company will thrive because of it. I struggle with this one often because I really do enjoy so many aspects of the business! We have worked with a third-party to help identify our individual strengths so that we can do better. Although you might not like what you hear, I think it is extremely beneficial to have someone else give you an outside perspective.
Like running a business, juggling isn’t always tough, but it does require balance, multitasking and consistency. I’d bet you are already a better juggler than you think!