You are responsible for everything. As the boss you have no one to turn to if something goes awry other than yourself. You’re making the decisions. You are the person at the top and the buck stops with you. You will work long hours and will have to make sacrifices when you’re starting out — it comes with the territory of being solely responsible.
Once you can hire staff or contractors, you will find it difficult to delegate. It’s been you running the show for so long it will be hard to give it to someone else to take over.
Starting from scratch or buying into an existing business are vastly different. You need to decide which you’re more comfortable with and make that decision. Buying an existing business means there will likely be policies and procedures in place and if there is existing staff that may make for an easy transition. BUT if you want to come in and make changes, you will need to be prepared for push back and hearing “that’s not how we do it.”
Being willing to take risks. IF you’re not a risk taker, it may be more difficult to run a business than you may have imagined. Keep in mind, “no risk. No reward.” You don’t want to make foolish risks, but you do need to be willing to try something new, experiment and see what happens. If it doesn’t work, start again and learn from your mistakes.
Handling money. It is tempting when you’re just starting out to want to go big with your business. You want to rent office space. Invest in office furniture and go all in. That’s great, but I urge you to start out on a shoestrong and grow when the cash flow allows. You also need to build a team and on that team should be a financial advisor/bookkeeper/CPA. Don’t get on the wrong side of the IRS. Put good financial practices into place before you depost your first dollar.
What have you found to be the biggest challenge when you were starting out?
We all have those customers that we love working with, right? We also all have those clients or customers that we wince when we see their name show up on our cell phone or in our appointment book. How well do you know your customer? How would you like to work with a majority of clients or customers who make you happy and bring you joy? It’s easiest to do this if you know who your ideal client is, what they need and want from you and how you can deliver.
What makes for an ideal customer?
They come to you for more than your price.
They stick with you long term.
They are willing and happy to try new products or services you offer.
They continually boy.
They know what they want.
They pay on time.
If you’re looking for ideal customers or clients, you may need to divest your business of those clients who drain your energy and bring nothing to the table. How can you spot a client who is not idea?
They are never satisfied.
They continually ask for more but want to pay for less
They aren’t financially stable and you are continually in money-chase mode
They don’t value what you do and how to do it
They rarely offer good word of mouth to potential clients.
How can you rid your business of less than ideal clients?
Raise your prices
Be unavailable for their phone calls or meetings
Offer them an introduction to a business partner who may be a better fit
Be direct. “I just don’t think we are a good fit.”
When was the last time you needed to break up with a client that just wasn’t a good fit? How did you do it? Were you able to move past the break up and remain friendly?
Sales people know that in order to make more sales you need to listen more than you speak. Why? If you’re talking the entire time you’re meeting with a client you won’t truly be hearing what they want, how you can help them and what their pain points are. When you meet with a potential client do you feel that you’re doing all of the talking? Yes, you want to help drive and direct the conversation, but ask a question and let your client answer.
Listening is a skill that can be sharpened and could lead to increased success in work and your personal life.
Most individuals retain about 50% of what they hear. There are different levels of listening which are:
Level 1 — this listener is preoccupied
Level 2 – this listener is an active participant
Level 3 – this listener pays special attention to the speaker’s words and body language
Become A Better Listener
Maintain eye contact
Don’t let yourself be distracted
Acknowledge what the speaker is saying
Repeat what you heard, “What I think I heard you say was…”
Don’t interrupt, unless the speaker specifically said, “feel free to interrupt if you have a question.”
Don’t ask only “yes” or “no” questions. Ask questions that give the other party a chance to elaborate
At what level do you listen? When you’re in a situation when you should be listening, what distracts you? Is it that you don’t find the topic engaging? Is the speaker monotone and therefore you’re not engaged because there is no inflection? Are you being “talked at” rather than “talked to”? That plays a role in how actively you listen and participate.
If you want to become a better listener as a way to enhance sales or engagement with your employees or staff, it is something about which you need to be aware in order to become a better listener.
Everyone procrastinates from time to time. Don’t beat yourself up when it happens, BUT if it happens regularly and if you’re not completing client tasks and if your to do list is getting infinitely longer and there is no “done” tasks, you need to find ways to break through procrastination.
There are many reasons we procrastinate and there are many reasons you need to break through and get back on track. Procrastination has an emotional side — you KNOW you need to complete a task but you’re just not doing it. That feeling of not being complete will lead to anxiety and even more avoidance. Thinking that, “I’ll do it tomorrow” is not helpful — especially if you have had more than one “tomorrow” that you’re putting it off.
Here are some of the reasons entrepreneurs procrastinate:
Can’t make a decisoin
Biting off more than you can chew
Never saying “no”
Lack of organization
Lack of resources to complete the task
Not knowing where to begin
Taking on a task that doesn’t fit with your values or mission
Knowing that the outcome will not be a good one. Ie, if you have to fire an underperforming employee or contractor
You’re confused on where to begin and what the outcome will be
In order to break out of procrastination mode you need to look at the reasons you are procrastinating and that will help you break through. If you simply can’t make a decision, for example, I suggest writing a list of pros and cons. If you always say “yes” to everything that’s asked of you — you need to learn how to say no, but more importantly WHY to say no. If something doesn’t fit into your business vision, it’s not a fit. If you’re being asked to do something you just don’t have the time for, say no. If you want to say yes, but aren’t certain, then say, “I might be interested in that, let me get back to you.” Don’t let yourself get boxed in and feel you have to make an immediate decision.
Why do you procrastinate? Which of these items on the list above plague you? If you need help breaking through, have you ever considered working with a coach? If so, leave a comment below or send me an email.