When building a small business it is inevitable there will be some growing pains. Things do not go as planned, you get caught in a slump, you can’t get referrals or sales to go up, and sometimes you even go backwards. If you are building a small business I am sure you will recognise at least some of those!
Thankfully there are some easy steps to take to help you overcome these pains:
Talk to Yourself
Ok so I know its considered a sign of madness but in my opinion we are all a bit mad lol! Joking aside though if you are struggling you do need to learn to tell yourself certain things. For example, building a small business is not an easy thing to do. It is normal to struggle a bit when you are trying to expand. If it was easy everyone would do it.
Personally I know I can be a bit hard on myself, and my superwoman complex needs put in its place quite often. Talking to yourself is important, but do make sure what you are saying is realistic too. If you find you are putting yourself down or expecting too much then you need to be able to challenge those messages. Building a small business is hard enough without you being your own worst critic!
Believe it or not talking to yourself is actually a skill. If you were not working on your own you would have other people to help put things into perspective for you. It takes time to learn how to do this for yourself in a balanced way.
Manage Your Workload
Perhaps one of the most common cause of growing pains when building a small business is not managing your workload well. It is a major juggling act to be director, manager, sales clerk, accountant, advertiser and all the other roles you have too. When doing all of this yourself the roles can get muddled and you can end up busy getting no-where. In my opinion it works best when you have specific tasks for each role. It also helps when you can split your time according to role and task. For example I am currently in my writing role. I try to spend around 1 hour per day writing now, and that means not being on social media, not thinking about what else I have to do and generally just focusing on writing. When I finish my hour of writing I change roles to focus on marketing. I find taking a break between the roles to do something unrelated (like taking Molly for a walk) really helps with this.
I hate to say it but having a daily routine is vital. I used to actively avoid routine when possible, however when building a small business it just works. It doesn’t really matter if your daily routine takes 10 mins or 5 hours as long as it is:
- Regular. In other words you do follow it each day.
- Practical. You need to be able to do it every day without fail so make sure it is practical to do so.
- Result Driven. This is a biggie. We can all use our time in ways that are not directly linked to getting a result. If you want to increase sales make sure what you are doing is designed to get more sales. Sounds obvious but sadly its not. Some people spend all their time increasing the number of likes on their Facebook page for example. Nothing wrong with that, as long as those likes are from people who are actually interested in buying your product….
- Reviewed. There is no point in doing something every day unless it is getting results the want. Check that it is working for you on a weekly or monthly basis. Remember that external factors change and you may need to change tact to keep up.
Ask for Help
When building a small business it is often the case you are working alone, especially if you are also working from home. Just because you are working alone however does not mean you can’t ask for help. There are many forums, social media groups and support networks. Whatever you are struggling with someone else will have struggled with it too. Reaching out and asking for help is so much easier than ever.
Do Something Different
The do something different option is another way to overcome growing pains. If you always do what you always do, chances are high you will always get what you always got! Remember that small changes can be much more effective than drastic ones. Tweaking what you do already is always worth trying before you try to make massive changes.
Take a Break
Sometimes difficulties arise purely because you have been working non-stop. Small business owners can easily work up to 80 hours per week and more. Due to non stop working you can experience burn out and the only thing that helps with this is to take a break. That might be as simple as taking a day off. It really can make a difference to stop and come back refreshed.
Is there anything else you find helps? I would love to hear your opinion!
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