Owning and operating a small business is not for the faint of heart. There are times when you’re counting on the batch deposit to cover payroll that hits the next morning, or hours where you pour over every expense- trying to find gaps where you can be leaner. How do you stay the course, without losing your shit? Here are my tips for success to make it through the tough times without losing sight of the direction you want to move in.
1. Set concrete goals
Setting goals in the beginning of the year allows you to maintain focus. If one of your goals is to increase sales in a certain division, it’s easier to say no to jobs not in line with that goal as the year goes on. The temptation to make a buck will always be there, but the stamina to stay the course is what will set you apart.
2. Know your vision
If your business has a partner, make sure you’re on the same page as to where you see your business in the next 5 years. Do you see your business growing in volume, do you want to step back from operations as an owner, or do you want to introduce a new service, or do you want to increase the size of the jobs you pursue? These are all very different directions and if you and your partner aren’t moving in the same direction- you’re inevitably going to justify resources allocated for the other’s direction.
3. Honor your staff
Working for a small business also comes with its own unique set of challenges. There isn’t a safety corporate net where that warm fuzzy of job security comes from. Your employees are here because they care about you on some level. They’re not just working for you for a paycheck, because they could easily get that from another ‘easy’ job. They’re carrying a portion of that stress because they see it too. So, honor their ambitions, enable their goals, and let them grow. It’s the autonomy of managing their workload and being involved in business decisions that is attractive to them. They are more than capable, that’s why you hired them.
I offer these tips not from rose colored lenses. We are in the thick of it as I write this blog. In the dark times is when you can see the light more clearly. I know its hard. But I also see the path. We are on our way.