I hope by now you know me for providing frank advice and I have to be honest, some days persevering in small business is just hard. The majority of the time our friends and family just don’t get it and there are days where it all seems easier to pack it all in and get a J.O.B.
The other day I asked the members of my Facebook Group how they persevere in their small business. I’ve taken some of their responses and my own tips and made this list of seven tips for persevering as a small business owner.
It’s not personal
Can I be honest? This is the hardest one for me. I take things to heart. I’m a recovering people-pleaser. Not taking things personally is a muscle I’m learning to flex.
When things get hard, there’s knockbacks, it’s hard not to take it personally. To feel like a failure. To doubt ourselves. To talk harshly to ourselves.
The thing is, there are a lot of things which influence our small business success, we are not the only one. You could have done all that was possible and it still could have gone wrong. If it’s a bad interaction with a client, staff member, contractor or supplier; remember that they all have their own drivers and own influencers and we all have bad days.
In the end, it’s about business, it’s not personal. (Even though we are so much of our business)
Take responsibility for your actions
Ok, so it’s not personal but we all have a part to play. Part of persevering is understanding the role we play. That can be for good or bad.
When I asked my group what persevering was to them and their small business, taking responsibility for their actions was one response.
The other part I see to taking responsibility for your actions and persevering in small business is that it’s taking a step up. It’s backing yourself. It’s backing your business. It’s being objective. It’s being the business owner your business needs you, and your clients deserve, you to be.
Facing the knockbacks head on
Ok, so it’s not personal, we’ve taken responsibility for the role we had to play, what about next time? When it comes to knockbacks and rejections in small business sometimes persevering and tacking the knockback head-on. And this is why this was one of the skills my group identified as necessary to persevere as a small business owner.
The first part to tackle is any fear of rejection. Fear is our most basic driver and it needs to be in check before we can progress. I have identified six steps to handling a fear of rejection, review them and then come back.
When we face the knockbacks head-on, and live to tell the tale, we are adding to our success story and growing our resilience. It boosts our confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. All necessary parts of our mindset as a successful small business owner.
Pushing back against the inner voice
I hinted to it earlier with the fear of rejection. Our brains hate gaps and love filling them with stories. That’s our inner voice.
Our inner voice speaks to us with the stories we have heard, been led to believe, or makeup ourselves about ourselves. Pushing back against our inner voice was the most common way my group identified to persevere in business.
To get through some things we need to quieten that inner voice, sometimes that means pushing back, sometimes it means challenging it. It’s a process. Done well it will stick with you for your lifetime and the inner voice will only fill you with good and encouraging stories. Your own person sheer squad.
One day one step
Just do one thing that gets you closer to your goal. Some days you just don’t want to. This is one place my group and I agreed. (On not feeling the love and the solution) We all agreed that persevering in our small business came down to doing one action every day that moves the needle, no matter how small. We also agreed that sometimes persevering in small business also came down to taking it one day, one step at a time.
For me, one of the things that keep me going in my business when things get tough is my core value. I really love values as I find that they are my guiding principles. When I feel bumped off course or swayed my core values restore me to my path. If I feel doubtful, they guide my action. Being clear on and keeping my actions consistent with my values helps me to persevere in my business.
Have a community around you that lifts you up
It’s lonely at the top. It can also be lonely as you work your way there as a small business owner. I mentioned at the start that friends and family often don’t understand. This is where a community comes into play. I have been a paid member of a few and have my own communities I foster. Either way, owner or member, having a community to help you celebrate the good times, pick you up in the tough times, and answer your questions when you’re stuck. (Yes, my group does this for me as an owner)
The caveat is that they must lift you up. They don’t have to be in your industry (or they can be). They don’t have to be the same gender (or they can be). They just need to lift you up. It’s the people who lift you up who help you to persevere when you run a small business.
What I’d love to know now is which of these you rely on and which you will bring in to your business?