No entrepreneur can operate in a vacuum. Chances are you started your business because you have a particular area of expertise and have cornered the market on a niche at which you’re extremely skilled.
When you take a step back though, do you do all of the work yourself? Even tasks that you’re not good at like bookkeeping or marketing or sales? If you try to do it all, without relying on the strength of trusted partners, you will spread yourself too thin and your focus will be drawn away from your core competency.
What can you do to make certain you’re working toward success? Cultivate partnerships. Here are my suggestions:
- Understand what you need in a business partnership and what skills that partner can bring to the table. As mentioned above: bookkeeping, tax preparation, marketing, etc.
- Get to know your potential partner and talk with other clients with whom he or she works. You need to trust your business partner to have your best interest in mind when you collaborate so that you can concentrate on your business rather than second guessing and checking up on the partner you’re working with.
- Communication is key. If you don’t have open lines of communication and aren’t setting up regular phone calls or texts or other types of check-ins, items could slide and you may not be aware of it until it’s too late. Make “communication with business partners” part of your weekly to-do list.
What can you do to enhance partnerships as a way to grow your business?
The end of the year is typically a time when business owners step back and slow down. I think it’s the best time of year to spend time planning for the new year ahead. Many individuals and entrepreneurs look at January 1 of any year as that magical time to put resolutions into place. If you wait until then and if your plans take time to bring to fruition, you may be missing out on valuable opportunities.
I take time on or around December 1 to look at what I did last year and then plan for next year. That way when January 1 rolls around I am armed with fresh ideas and a great way to kick off the new year.
Here are some of the steps I take to form my strategies:
- Look at what worked. You need to have metrics in place to help you understand whether you’ve met goals you’ve set. Look at what didn’t work. If something didn’t work could it have simply been bad timing? Was it a strategy that just isn’t right for your industry? Was the execution of it just a bit “off”? Don’t completely discard an idea, it just might need to be on the back burner.
- Look at ways to generate new leads and thereby generating more income. Again, what methods of lead generation are you applying currently that are working, what aren’t? Tweak them and have a new plan moving forward.
- Look at your marketing plan. Analyze your results. Measure whether the effort is worth the money realized. Revamp if necessary.
When do you set your business resolutions? What works in your industry?
If only you could be an overnight sensation, right? Even those “overnight sensations” that we read and hear about on Facebook and Twitter, likely were not so immediately overnight; They might seem like overnight sensations to us, the reading public, simply because we never heard of them before. By the time they burst on the scene it’s like “pow” one minute they weren’t there and the next they were.
In the real business world though, it’s slow and steady that will help you win the race. Who knows some day your booming business may seem, to others, to have been an overnight success but you will know the truth and the work that you put in. Here are my tips for being a successful entrepreneur:
- For some clients, the results and the steps toward achieving them may be more important than the price. Results matter.
- Perfection is great, but in many cases not feasible. It’s better to be fast than perfect BUT you need to deliver quality goods and services. Fast is no excuse for sloppy.
- Negotiation is more about how good of a negotiator you are than about getting what you deserve in a business dealing. Understand the art of negotiation and you will get what you’re hoping for.
- No business is problem free. If you want to have a career in which you don’t have to deal with any headaches, you should probably find a job rather than start a business. No business is headache or problem free. How you deal with those headaches, however, will make all the difference.
- Be patient and work diligently and if you have a good idea and great business ethics, success will follow your hard work.
What steps have you taken to make sure your business thrives?
Have you ever heard the saying: “When you stop being better you stop being good”? I believe that is true and I am constantly doing things to improve myself and my life — both business and personal. If you stop learning you stagnate, you aren’t an interesting conversationalist and you don’t grow. Personal growth and business growth should be lifelong pursuits.
What can you to do keep improving? Here are my thoughts:
- Keep in touch with your industry through reading trade journals and attending meetings.
- Make sure you budget to attend meetings, conferences or workshops– even if it’s only one a year. Attendance will inspire you, allow you to meet new people and help grow your business.
- Set aside time each week to read books or magazines on subjects that interest you on a personal level (it’s not all about work!)
- If there are ways in which you can earn certifications in your field of expertise, do that and then announce it to your clients and on your social media pages.
- Talk to yourself in an encouraging tone. Be positive and upbeat!
What is the last thing you did that amounted to self improvement?