Modern society tends to romanticize start-ups and the idea of striking out on your own. But every entrepreneur knows that starting a business isn’t as glamorous as it looks from the outside. In reality, “being your own boss” means taking responsibility for every failure. “Setting your own hours” often means working longer than employees who punch in and out. And “following your passion” calls for as much sacrifice as self-confidence.
The amount of personal sacrifice required to start a small business can make the inevitable rough patches feel like the end of the road. We’re here to help you embrace those difficulties to carry on and improve your business.
1. Outline Clear, Attainable Goals
When you run a small business, there are so many factors outside of your control. Shifting markets, rising costs, unforeseeable bad hires, investors pulling out — the list goes on. That’s why it’s important to seize command of the factors that are within your power to change by outlining new objectives for your company.
Make a list of actionable goals that you and your collaborators and employees can make daily progress toward. A bad example of an actionable goal would be “get on the Fortune 500 list by 2021.” This essentially boils down to “make more money and be more successful,” which isn’t specific or easily attainable. A better example is a pledge to be more organized with your finances, which could involve countless specific action items. Maybe it means learning to use a new accounting software or adding weekly finance meetings to the calendar — things that you can actually control. This isn’t a wish list. It’s a road map.
2. Relive Your Best Moments
Customer feedback can be a minefield of discouragement and unhelpful comments. But it can also be a reminder of your core values as a company and what your clients love about you. Read back through the feedback and dwell on the positives. You’ll get a confidence boost, plus insight into which aspects of your business could use more emphasis or resources. Use this as an opportunity to recenter your customers.
3. Don’t Let Fear of Failure Drive Your Business’s Narrative
When times get tough, it’s easy to let fear dictate your every decision. But you can’t allow fear to shape your company culture or drive your goals. If you do, then your employees, investors, and clients will sense the tension and seek to distance themselves. A lack of hope is just as detrimental as blind faith.
That’s not to say that you should mislead people who rely on you by pretending that everything is perfect when it’s not. You can be honest about your struggles without giving fear of failure the reins to your business. Make sure excitement about the future is what’s driving your forward.
4. Don’t Treat Your Business Plan Like It’s Written in Stone
Your business plan is your backbone. It reflects your dreams and goals, bringing them within reach. For that reason, it can be intimidating to revisit it with fresh, critical eyes.
But it can also be liberating. Boldly restructuring can revitalize your business. Even if the situation only ends up calling for half-measures instead of radical changes, it’s vital to approach the shifting situation with adaptability and an openness to change.
Running a small business is personal. As a business owner, you may handle everything from finances to interacting with clients yourself. And if you’re capably performing the full gamut of operations, relinquishing control feels unthinkable. But there comes a season in every business’s lifespan when the scales tip and the cost of professional and personal burnout for the owner is simply too high. What’s the point of bringing on talented, trustworthy people if you don’t trust them to use their talents to further your business? A business can’t thrive when its leadership is stretched thin.
6. Get Out of the Office
Due to the personal nature of running a small business, striking an appropriate work-life balance can be challenging. There’s always something that needs doing, which means there’s no clocking in and clocking out. You’re making phone calls while you brew your morning coffee and working late whenever a problem arises. But if your whole life is your business and your business hits a rough patch, it’s easy to feel stuck. Sometimes the best thing for your business is to take a step back and rest your mind so you can meet challenges head-on.
Amid the peaks and valleys, one thing is certain: every business, no matter how small, can benefit from workers’ comp insurance. Financial protection for you and your employees makes doing business that much easier. Get a quote for a workers’ comp policy that’s tailored to your small business’s unique needs.