Running my own business has been one of the most rewarding but challenging experiences of my life! It fulfils a lifelong dream I have had to work for myself and be master of my own destiny. Working from home gives me the flexibility to work hours that suit me and the opportunity to work in with our crazy family life. BUT… it is not for the faint of heart! The challenges sometimes seem insurmountable and on occasion my confidence wavers and I am left wondering if I can do this. Here are some of my tips for surviving the journey.
I have a fundamental belief that I can do anything, it all comes down to how much work I am prepared to put in to achieve a goal. As a small business owner you need to have an unbreakable belief in your ability to make it work. Self-doubt is corrosive and can very quickly undermine your energy levels whereas positive thinking breeds positive energy. Surround yourself with avid supporters and energetic, like-minded individuals who will encourage you along your start-up journey.
In starting a small business, it is inevitable that you will make mistakes along the way. I think we learn more from our failures than our successes. Keep your mistakes in perspective, take full responsibility for your failures and use the knowledge as a valuable business tool rather than dwell on the mistake or worse, blame someone else! Mistakes are like battle scars, wear them with honour.
Set yourself both short and long term objectives for your business and post them on the office wall as a constant reminder of where you are going. As a small business owner there are a million tasks that require your attention and it can be difficult to remain focussed without losing your way. What works for me is having a clear picture of where I want my business to be 3 years from now then I break that down into a series of manageable tasks over shorter periods of time, try a 90-day plan. Write a To Do List daily and highlight only three tasks that you want to achieve for the day so it isn’t overwhelming.
Too Many Hats
One of the biggest challenges with starting your own business are the hats you have to wear, general manager; financial controller; marketing guru; receptionist, the list goes on. I believe that this process is fundamentally important to learning and growing with your new business, you need to understand the business yourself before you can start outsourcing to others. Part of the growth process is identifying the skills you don’t have and employing staff or outsourcing to fill the gaps.
Follow Your Passion but be Adaptable
Passion is what will drive the heart of your business but it’s not enough, as you learn and grow with your business you need to adapt to the environment your business is operating in. All businesses operate in a dynamic, constantly changing environment, particularly now in the online space. To stay on top of the game you need to be prepared to learn, adapt and embrace the change.
My favourite business quote by business guru Peter Drucker
“The two most important functions of a business are marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.”
Jane Robinson is the founding owner of Rainbow Fun, an online retail store for creative toys and activities for children & adults, www.rainbowfun.com.au