Advice Every Small Business Owner Should Hear
There’s nothing easy about running a small business. But you’re not alone in the challenges that owning a small business brings. Entrepreneurs often feel higher levels of uncertainty, anxiety and responsibility from the everyday stressors of running a business.1
We’ve been working to help businesses succeed for more than 70 years, so we’ve narrowed down some of the most important pieces of small business advice to keep in mind on days when you’re feeling overwhelmed or stuck.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Asking for help or advice is smart! Plenty of other people have been in your shoes and want to help. Plus, strategic business relationships can be a great resource to help you come up with solutions or learn from others’ mistakes. Try talking with other business owners or getting involved in an industry association. You could also reach out to a business advisor.
If you don’t have a go-to person in mind or a local organization to join, the Small Business Association (SBA) and its partner organizations can be a great resource. One of the SBA’s partner organizations, SCORE, is a nonprofit solely dedicated to helping mentor and educate entrepreneurs like you! The SBA also partners with the Office of Women’s Business Ownership to help women entrepreneurs succeed.
Give Yourself Time to Unwind
When you’re at your best so is your company. Overworking yourself may seem like the only way to get everything done, but it isn’t the best way to ensure that your business runs smoothly. While it may seem stressful to even entertain the thought of taking a vacation, results can be positive! Stepping away to recharge can make you more productive once you get back. And you’ll gain perspective, seeing that your business can be left in the capable hands of your employees while you’re away.23
Fail fast. And often. You’ve already completed the scariest part of this adventure – starting your actual business. But you can’t grow it to its full potential by living in fear of failing. The more things you try and fail at, the quicker you’ll find out what does and doesn’t work for your business. While there’s no sugarcoating that failure hurts, you shouldn’t let that discourage you from creating new ideas and exploring them.
Failure is nothing more than a learning opportunity, so think of it that way. You found out what didn’t work for your business, and now, you can use it to rethink your strategy and move forward. While you should always make smart and informed decisions, stepping out of your comfort zone is where some of the best ideas can happen!
Focus on Customer Relationships
Long-term relationships with your customers are crucial when building a business. If you ever feel stuck or discouraged, think back on why you started – because consumers and the market needed you, your product or your service. Take it from our Chief Executive Officer James Blackledge. “The idea is to solve the customers’ problems,” he told the Omaha World-Herald, – and that’s true regardless of business size. Remember: a loyal customer is more profitable than converting a new one.4
Surround Yourself with a Great Team
You may have heard the saying, “You’re only as strong as your weakest link.” There are few places this is more evident than in the office! If your weakest employee isn’t weak at all, you’ll be better off. By surrounding yourself with a great team, you can alleviate some of the pressure on yourself. Just as it’s important to keep your clients happy, your employees should receive the same treatment. Consider offering a competitive small business benefits package to attract and retain great employees.
There’s no rule book when it comes to running a small business. That’s both the beauty and the drawback of starting your own company. But you’re not alone. There are plenty of entrepreneurs out there with the same worries that you have. So, on your most worrisome days, keep these pieces of advice in mind and remember that there are strategies that can help your small business succeed!
1 Forbes (April 4, 2018). Web page: 7 Reasons Entrepreneurs Are Particularly Vulnerable to Mental Health Challenges. Retrieved on June 21, 2018 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/meganbruneau/2018/04/04/8-reasons-entrepreneurs-are-particularly-vulnerable-to-mental-health-challenges/#64aa91d863a3.
2 Entrepreneur (n.d.). Web Page: Why Entrepreneurs Especially Need to Take a Vacation. Retrieved May 17. 2018, from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/249453.
3 Entrepreneur (n.d.). Web Page: Warren Buffett Knows It. Reinvesting in Your Business Can Lead to Huge Growth. Retrieved May 17, 2018 from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/241196.
4 Conversational (October 24, 2016). Web page: How Much Are Loyal Customer Worth to Your Business? Retrieved June 21, 2018 from https://www.conversational.com/how-much-are-loyal-customers-worth-to-your-business/.