The other day I was sitting on the fence about whether or not I should hire someone full-time to fulfill a much needed role at my company Onboardly. It became painfully evident that I needed her, and needed her full-time. In the midst of building a house, postponing my wedding, attending two out of country weddings, traveling for work, and getting ready for my baby (Due this summer), there was just no way I could do all this work anymore. I emailed my fiancé to ask him what his thoughts were, and – to no surprise – he said go for it! Take the leap. (Context: The reason for getting his approval was because he was also launching his startup. Between the two of us, there is no ‘steady income’. I figured I should get his input on this.)
small business tips
In an instant, you can experience an incredible turn of events. Things can occur that will change a moment, an hour, a week or a life. It’s how you react when you are down and getting kicked that will determine how you will eventually succeed.
It doesn’t take much to shake off a bad situation, like getting fired, dumped or getting a flat tire (to say the least). It really doesn’t. Take a moment to do the following:
1. Analyze the situation
2. Get some answers
3. and figure out your next steps
Your ‘next steps’ is the action item. It is what you do, when you do it that will get you to your feet again. But you must act, and act fast. Make a clear decision and go with it. It will all work itself out, as long as you stick to your plan. If that plan doesn’t work, go back to step one and start over again. Ask yourself:
1. Why didn’t it work the first time?
2. What can I do to make it work?
3. How much time will this take me?
If the effort outweighs the benefit then you need to get more answers to some questions. Don’t sweat over the small stuff. Think big picture. All the little things will fall into place as you work on the big picture items.
What have you done to quickly overcome a nasty situation?
It is tough being an entrepreneur. Some days are amazing. While others you just want to crawl under a rock and stay there – forever. I, at the moment, am experiencing what Mark Suster calls the terror in starting something new (On the other end of the pendulum is euphoria).
As you may come to understand or have already experienced, there are a billion different emotions that overcome entrepreneurs at the best of times and at the worst of times. Anxiety, stress, euphoria, happiness, accomplishment, … all in a given week. It is not ever constant or consistent. Today for example, I had one client terminate a contract, another client say “I don’t think we can pay your invoice’, and another client wanting more for FREE! Oh, and the cherry on the top, our top designer is too busy doing her own thing to focus on our work at the moment.
Where to find comfort? It’s knowing you’re not alone and talking to other entrepreneurs who have been there too. A good friend of mine today said to me “I know exactly how you are feeling today, as I went through that a few years ago. I forgot how hard it can be. Just know that now is NOT the time to give up. You can’t give up. Your business partner relies on you. People expect great things from you. You will get through this”.
Well, sure. Sounds possible. But where is the light at the end of the tunnel? These damn Ramen noodles are getting gross and I am sick of drinking the cheap beer.
These damn Ramen noodles are getting gross and I am sick of drinking the cheap beer.
Again, I chose this route. I chose this lifestyle. I chose freedom over having a boring job helping someone else get rich.
What I have learned is simple and easy to remember:
1. Your business partner can easily comfort you in chatting about how/why you feel the way you do.
2. Moms DONT always know best. Try to keep family out of the tricky conversations. Chat to them when you think there is something they can help you with. But avoid too many negative conversations [They'll get worried]
3. It will pass, as long as you keep on going. Don’t Stop!
4. Books, podcasts, audio books, webinars, and events can help you through the emotions. Think about how bad some entrepreneurs had it, and they overcame it. [FedEx is a great example. The founder had to gamble everything he had in order to win enough money to pay his employees wages]
5. Start working out more. A little sweat releases those fancy endorphins that make you happy.
6. Find your source of inspiration [Mine happens when I'm in the shower and getting ready in the morning. Hence why I have an excessively long grooming schedule ... half the time I am emailing or jotting down my ideas]
7. It’s life. Suck it up!
8. It was never meant to be easy. If it is easy, you are doing something wrong.
9. Think about everything you have learned and have yet to learn.
11. Have a beer (The good stuff)
As this will pass, so will the good times. Just F****** deal with it and move on.
It starts in pretty much the same way every morning. A groggy start to yet another work day. You exchange coffee with your partner and his or her weary eyes show strains of worry about the incoming loads of work. Preparations for the day ahead get under way and then its off to work.
Typical married couple? Nope, that’s your average small business partnership we’re talking about. It’s easy to get confused. Some partners know more about each other than their real spouses and some, even see more of them. You and your partner spend so much time together at the office that you might as well get married! The similarities between a wedded couple and of a partnership are uncanny. Firstly, you have a binding contract to be together also you share your assets with your ‘special someone’, whats more, your partnership agreement is the business worlds equivalent of your marriage agreement. In addition communication is vital, just like it would be in any marital engagement and the company you both run together takes the role of your child. You cherish it, feed it (with capital) and hope that it will grow and one day help you.
Just as with any relationship, disagreements on the company’s future are bound to occur and this, fueled by the fact that more often than not one partner will be more fond of his partner than the other would mean each day would be interesting.
The sad part about these arguments and is that there will come times where the partners do not get along. This, or course, calls for the corporate worlds divorce. The termination of the partnership contract. A common occurrence in the corporate world just as divorce is common. Let’s face it, not everybody has the knack for getting along. That is, after, all the very reason there are escape clauses in just about every agreement out there. Once the fighting comes to that point where you can’t take it anymore; getting out of the agreement is the workable option. And who knows? If you’re lucky, you might even get something out of the settlement.
Importantly, even as you two continue to blush and have butterflies during the ‘honeymoon’ stage, always sign that prenup. Always. (Shareholders agreement equivalent) You never know who may wander off with that 23 year old secretary or delivery boy.
(Thumbnail image from How to Protect Yourself in a Business Divorce – Good read)
I asked this question this morning on Twitter and the replies were fantastic. Here they are:
1. @TanyaGeisler: I think Gerber (E-myth) explains it best…most business owners are working IN their business not ON their business.
2. @jeffparks: Doing the work to understand if the community values their ideas / products / services as much as they do.
3. @Cg6Inc: You need to fail to succeed
4. @skanwar: They take their core competency for granted.
5. @nav_een: They don’t have a solid business plan/model (but that applies to any business type)
6. @davegray: Lack of customers
7. @markeelliott: The biggest reason start-ups fail is lack of revenue from poor sales planning and execution.
8. @ethnicomm: They don’t have any idea on how to take it from an idea to something that generates cash flow.
9. @AlexIkonn: Lack of support and not feeling connected to a community.
10. @AKthe5th: of knowledge in the sales process. just because you do something well, doesnt mean you know how to sell that to clients!
11. @TraderZed: Super Mario Bros. fail? Because they don’t give the Princess any attention, therefore, she’s constantly snatched by Bowser.
12. @tukutela: too high expectations from the founders
13.@THE_REFINERY: Owners go into business thinking things will be different for them, and realize how much work it really is. Also, entrepreneurs need to have a lot of faith in themselves when others are skeptical – takes a lot of confidence.
14. @todd_herman: poor positioning in the marketplace and marketing
15. @jamiekalynuik: people focus more on creativity than strategy.
Here are some other great articles about why Small Businesses fail:
- According to the Small Business Administration, two-thirds of new businesses survive for at least two years, and only 44 percent survive at least four years
Renee’s one of those ladies that gives so much hope to folks like me. She makes running a business look easy and a lot of fun.” – KarmaCake.com