Sunday, 11 February 2018

Should we be more honest about our business?

Many of us start a business with little or no prior experience. Some of us are the first in our entire family to venture out alone. So it is no surprise that we question ourselves and our own ability.
  • Why is it other people in similar businesses are doing much better than me?
  • How come everyone seems to be doing so well and yet here I am struggling?
  • What am I missing here? 
What you are missing is that NOT everyone is doing great... perhaps this is actually a 'thin veneer' that is perpetuated because to show vulnerability isn't the accepted thing... that might appear like we're trying to get the sympathy vote... or worse, risk 'the thought' in others that we're not up to running a business... who wants to work with struggling people right?

But underneath that smiley exterior is a battle with our own authenticity. It is so hard to feign a smile of happy success when we really are working all the hours barely scraping by.

To say "yeah things are going great" ... when in truth most people can "see" how tough it is, "see" the reality, even if we think we're pretending well. Body language says way more than the we think it does... about a lot of things! ... we don't have to broadcast how tough things are... but...

Maybe it is pride... maybe it is our desire to conquer this mountain all alone... or maybe it doesn't even occur to us that we're not the only ones having challenges... It may have been true in the past that in business you kept everything secret inside your own 4 walls... but that doesn't have to be the future.

Perhaps we need to rewrite the norm in business. Bring together 'like minded business people' that instead of keeping up the pretence that 'everything is going swimmingly' are able to discuss honestly without judgement the challenges being faced and... where everyone is collectively committed to supporting, nurturing, helping... advising... signposting and even mentoring each other to win. That would be a bit special wouldn't it?

That feeling we get that we must be the 'concrete zeppelin' disaster of business owners ... or that there must be something wrong with me because everyone else seems to know how to run their business much better than me... or thinking that perhaps I'm not cut out for this and I should just pack it all in... it's all too hard... I'm so tired... all the fun really has left the building! ... I don't even remember why I thought that starting this was a good idea anymore!

is that you? ... I think most small, micro businesses and sole traders feel this at some point...

Maybe we ought to reflect and see that there are a million ways we can run our business...

Consider the following :-
  1. We might have just tried the wrong combinations. The solution is there somewhere.
  2. Something is working well but it could be improved... 
  3. We haven't got the right product mix on board yet? ... let's keep innovating!
  4. ...that perfect collaboration... it's just around the corner... more conversations? 
  5. What we're saying or doing might not be attracting the customers we want 
  6. or... we might just need to skill up a bit, or take advantage of technology more effectively...
  7. Where can I get the strength to keep going? ... Meet more inspirational and enthusiastic people

The point I'm making is that rather than a catastrophe... we are probably all about 80-90% there, we are doing way more good than we are bad... we're already A**, congratulate yourself!!  ... the challenge for us is that it's always the last 10-15% that is the 'business owners' reward for 'taking the action'.. so while we are struggling to work out our personal success combination we're hurting... we're in pain... and it isn't fun! ...

So rather than beating ourselves up, let's be honest with each other... let's agree we need to work on what we are delivering and fine tune the engine... it isn't nice having to pretend we're enjoying things when bills keep coming... and overheads need paying... putting on a brave face works for a while but the truth comes out in the end.

And yet we're all part of the same local business community. So why don't we work together? grow together? ... and help each other? We are all amazing and we can all succeed... there is enough for us all... and we don't have to struggle all alone. Facing the challenges head on, talking things through with an attitude of 'this is already a success' ... just it's being a little elusive at the moment... but I'm sure we'll find the answers very soon!!

Through talking, meeting, learning, collaborating and co-creating... we can build deeper relationships, be honest with each other...develop trust, support, and build a strong, vibrant, local independent business community... we're not competing; we're collaborating... and together we can all win!

You know... everyone likes a hero... someone who battled against all the odds... someone who nearly 'Gave up' ... but found the courage and strength to carry on... and who finally won through! ... you are that hero... and you are writing your heroes journey... and no harm having some friends alongside to accompany you!

That's the plan in South West Herts... for more info follow this link