Few things on earth compare to the feeling of working for yourself. If you’re a small business owner, you know exactly what we’re talking about. Owning your own business means being your own boss. This is a lot of responsibility, and it’s hard work. But, it will always win against punching a clock working for someone else.
You’ve probably met your fair share of detractors, especially in the beginning of your small business venture. Friends and family are working for well-established companies offering 401Ks and dental insurance.
Entrepreneurs are wired a little differently; they don’t want to work for someone else. There’s a passion and a vision to carve out their own way. Incredibly difficult, with the deck stacked against them, but, that only makes success that much more rewarding.
Below we’ve compiled a quick list of some quick tips and thoughts that we have found helpful when the going gets rough. Very few small business owners experience smooth sailing 100% of the time, we hope this can help get you through some stormy waters.
Keep Your Sense of Humor
To kick off this list of tips, always remember, have a sense of humor. You’re going to make mistakes, you can do your best to avoid them, but some will always slip through. Stress is a real problem, especially for the entrepreneur or small business owner. The best way to avoid undue stress (and eventual burnout) is to be able to laugh at yourself.
We’re not suggesting you don’t take your business very seriously. But, getting angry and frustrated over things you have no control over isn’t going to help anyone. Laugh it off, learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward.
As an entrepreneur, you probably have the clearest vision for what you are trying to do. You also probably have more passion for the business than anyone possibly could. Hold off on partnering up, unless you are absolutely certain the person is as invested as you are. It’s also important any partner that you join up with is ready and willing to get as financially involved as you are. You most likely don’t need another idea guy.
Going along with this, many a small business owner has found themselves partnered (voluntarily or otherwise) with their spouse. If this is the case, cut them a little slack, it’s unfair to expect them to have the exact same mindset, vision or passion that you have.
Keep Great Records
This is a valuable tip that is echoed across the internet. Especially if you’re running a new business, keeping accurate financial records is of the utmost importance. There’s no shortage of reasons why you should start a habit of keeping good records, but, consider this.
If you’re running a somewhat new business, there are going to be some “teething pains.” If your business starts to experience a financial hemorrhage because of a growing and unrecorded cost: how would you know about it before it’s too late?
By keeping your books rock-solid, you are maintaining full control. If a supplier’s costs are starting to rise, you can catch it early and respond accordingly. You’ll also have much more reliable numbers to show potential investors.
Separate Work Space from Living Space
If you’re working from home, either temporarily or just every now and then: keep your work space separate from your living space.
If you work from a home office, you should be in “work mode” when you’re at your desk. The couch in the living room might seem awfully inviting, but, this is a bad habit you just don’t want to start.
As much as your office should inspire and facilitate work, your living spaces should do the same for your relaxation. As the next section spells out, it’s incredibly important to stay well-rested and feel refreshed for the next work day.
One of the worst experiences a small business owner can have is physical and psychological burnout. Running your own business, while rewarding, is some of the hardest work there is. It’s of vital importance you are always operating at your best.
Look at what needs to be done, every day. If you need to, make it into a list. For any of the repeat tasks that can’t be delegated, schedule out a block of time to accomplish these things and get them out of the way. Do your best though to delegate as much as possible. There are probably better uses of your time.
Beyond the work day, figure out pockets of time you can step away to catch your breath. You’re the boss, and it’s completely acceptable (and necessary) to get out of the office and recharge. This need is amplified if work doesn’t stop when you leave the office for the night.
Make Plans and Adapt When Needed
This is a more general strategy that can be applied to several aspects of small business ownership. No matter what your next goal is.
Let’s say you want your business to start making a more proactive effort on social media. Unless you have the money to outsource, this task will probably happen in-house. Do your research, make a plan and then execute it. If after a few months, you aren’t seeing the growth you want, asses the situation and make changes as needed. You might need to take a different approach, like some paid promotion of your best content across Facebook.
If something isn’t working, tweak it or change it. Keep your options open to figure out what will work the best.
You started your business for a reason. You had an idea, and you manifested it in real life. No one is going to have the passion for your business that you have. Don’t lose that feeling, staying passionate is what drives small business owners to break through barriers and get past performance plateaus.