The latest stats on small business show 60 per cent of us will shut up shop within the first three years. That’s a lot of people walking away from their dream.
There’s lots of reason for these figures being thrown around - the business was a bad idea to start with, lack of cash flow, no capital and no training in key foundational areas that keep a business humming.
Of course, having enough money and knowing what you are doing does help … but these are things entirely within your control. It’s called marketing and training. There is no excuse now days to not know how to tap into these resources – the internet is overflowing with courses, experts and information to take you step-by-step through the process of growing and building a business.
Mindset on the other hand is something you have had to work one. Always.
As a small business owner nearing the end of the third year, I have found my longevity has more to do with how I think about success and failure - what goes on between my ears. The last three years have been like one of those scary upside down super-fast roller coasters at a theme park. A crazy ride filled with uncertainty, moment of fearlessness and a whole lot of fingers-crossed-I-hope-this-works moments.
There have been times I would have happily walked away from my fledging business, taken my bat and ball and headed back to employee world. At least I know there’d be a regular weekly income, holidays, sick leave and someone to back me up. Instead, I learnt a lesson from those moments when things did not go right. I stopped, took stock and sought the help I needed to get me through.
The biggest lesson has been – there is no room for modesty in small business. It is okay to be humble but if you want your business to survive you have to get better at promoting you and your business. That has meant a fundamental mind shift of how I view myself.
If you do not have enough clients, it is up to you to muster up interest. If you want to take your business to the next level, you have to put yourself out there.
Put Yourself Out There
Put modesty aside
Otherwise you will remain the best kept secret. Like many humans, bragging, drawing attention and self-promotion does not come easily. So if you are a full on introvert, being in business in the 21st century must just be plain hard and painful. In a world where content is king, and social media platforms are the primary way many of us do business, putting yourself out there must really hurt.
This is where mindset comes in. You have to get over worrying about what people think of you. You have to believe what you are doing is providing awesome solutions for your target audience. You have to get better at using marketing and PR tools to showcase what you do. Yes, this means putting yourself out there for all to see.
Throw yourself into marketing your business
So many businesses spend little time or no time marketing their business. Word of mouth can only sustain for so long if you want to truly ramp up your business and go to next level. Businesses fail because of lack of cash flow, which can be solved by getting more customers/clients – you have to MARKET your business. In my business teaching people how to raise their profile using PR, I hear so many say – I have nothing to say, no one would be interested in my story, I do not know how, I am too shy, I do not know where to start. There are so many online tools, workshops in your city and people who can help you. There’s social media, traditional media and marketing and networking to help get you out there. Allocate time every week to spend sharing your message.
Success is an inside job
Your success starts and end with how you think about yourself and your business. If you are struggling with self-doubt, imposter syndrome, fear, procrastination or any other internal blockage stopping you from moving forward, get help. Seek out a mentor, a coach or a professional who can help you clear those blockages.