5 New Habits that Will Help You Run a Successful Business
As a small business owner myself, I know what it feels like to be overwhelmed, even frantic as my business seems to run me rather than me running my business. I hope some of the lessons I have learned will help you turn your business around so you too can run a successful business.
So, you took the step to start your own business. You quickly found out that business ownership requires all sorts of things you hadn’t really considered. The result? Managing your time has become an issue.
One thing you learn is that it is necessary to have a website and Facebook Page in order to succeed. Wow, these two things alone eat up a lot of time. Every time you sit down to make a Facebook post or check for post comments and shares, you easily get sucked in a little to spending time on social media when you should be working.
As time moves along, you start to compare yourself to other business owners. Why is Mary’s restaurant always full at lunch time and hardly anyone crosses your doorstep? What’s she got that I haven’t got, you wonder. She is probably undercutting me, you think. Wow, you can’t believe how other business owners act just to make a sale.
Well if the economy was better, or the city hadn’t closed the street your business was on, or the tourist season wasn’t so slow, business would be a lot better!
Meanwhile, you are pulling your hair out, trying to do everything, and doing nothing well. You can hear the business owners around you talking about you. Mary is purposely trying to undermine you, you think. She probably left a couple of nasty reviews just to keep you from being successful.
The question is, are you going to continue? Or, are you going to take a long look internally and try to get control of the only real thing you have control over, yourself?
Learn to Prioritize, Schedule and Time Block
It is extremely easy to lose large chunks of time to low priorities if you aren’t paying attention. One of the most important things I have learned in my entrepreneurial journey is to prioritize my tasks, schedule them into my planner, and if applicable, block out a chunk or chunks of time to complete them.
I schedule everything, from client appointments to social media posts to date night with my husband. Once something is in my planner it is an appointment. This has led me to a far more relaxed place where I know I will accomplish what I need to each day.
This practice also limits multi-tasking, which I find yields multi poor results. It also allows me to avoid distractions until my “appointment” is finished.
Stop Being a Slave to Social Media
In this 24/7/365 world, we are expected to provide instant responses to people’s inquiries. This makes it easy for social media to take over your life. Between posting, replying to comments, acknowledging reviews, responding to messages, and composing and placing advertisements it is easy to lose yourself in the social media world. Add multiple platforms to the equation, and you could be in big trouble.
Learn to schedule and time block your social media. Add an auto-response to your Messenger account, allow notifications for any engagement on any platform to your phone so you can keep an eye out for something important. Alternatively, hire someone to help you with the whole social media piece of your business.
Accept Yourself and Your Business
At times we all spend time comparing ourselves to others and our business to other businesses. Learn to accept that you are enough and your business is enough. If you have done the proper planning and are taking the appropriate actions, then it does not matter what anyone else is doing. You also have no way of knowing what is driving the other business owner.
For example, Mary opened her business 5 years ago. This year she has planned for an increase in sales to $500,000. Her plan lays out the necessary actions she has to take in order to reach her goal. On the other hand, you have just finished your first year in a competing business and your goal for year 2 is $100,000. Does it make any sense at all to compare you or your business to Mary and hers? Of course not!
If you feel like you are not in control, check out my post “Can You Really Make Your Own Luck?”
Take Responsibility for Your Results
I often hear business owners complaining about the economy, the low tourist season, the road closures, the weather negatively affecting their results. Rather than trying to find an excuse for why things aren’t going your way, start looking at these things that you have no control over as opportunities.
Let’s look at a business that relies on the tourist season to make 70% of their annual sales. As the business owner, I would be taking a serious look at how I can introduce other products or services for locals in the off-season. Ask yourself, what can I do to extend my season or make my business a year-round business?
If your business is going to be facing extended road closures, ask yourself what can I do to entice people to park a block away and walk to your business. If it is an event that is causing the closure, ask how can I participate in this event to bring a spotlight to my business?
The point is to focus on solutions to the hurdles you encounter and take responsibility for your results. This is
Ask for Help When You Need it
Each of us has skills and talents that we bring to our business. The fact that you are an excellent tradesperson, does not mean that you will excel at bookkeeping or marketing.
I am a perfect example of someone who should have asked for help when I decided to put my Business Development Course online. I know my material inside and out, so creating the 14 modules wasn’t an issue (other than the time it took). However, I had no idea about everything that was involved in the technology of having an online program. I started my journey in November of 2016 and finally launched in January of 2018. If I hadn’t been so stubborn and had asked for help at the beginning, my course would have been launched in May 2017, a full 7 months worth of sales earlier. Trust me, I have learned my lesson.
This holds true for anything you don’t have the skills to do, don’t like to do or don’t have time to do. Bite the bullet and ask for help.
Also, try to find one or more mentors that you can reach out to when you need help. Mentors are invaluable when it comes to sharing how they handled similar problems to what you are experiencing. Join Meetup or other networking groups to build a network of people you can call on.
What does it take to run a successful business? SUCCESS = Risks, hard work, late nights, struggles, failures, persistence, action, discipline, courage, doubts, change, early mornings, pushing through boundaries, breaking habits, criticism, disappointments, adversity, rejections, losses, sacrifices, moving beyond the comfort zone…Exhilarating!