Tuesday, February 4, 2014

If it were easy, everyone would do it.

I really need to rant a little bit today.

Today's rant brought to you by Small Business America.

I'm no expert in running a business. I don't even have enough fingers and toes to count the number of mistakes I've made.

There are a few things that make me absolutely CRAZY and from business owners THAT SHOULD KNOW BETTER.

1.) Don't become a business owner if your goal is to be a millionaire (or a billionaire or a gazillionaire). If your focus is on money, you lose focus on what is important: PRIMARILY your customers. You become so focused on getting to that $$ goal, that you lose what is truly important. Instead of focusing on money, your focus should be on trying to build something fantastic or being the best at what you do. Success is not defined by money. Success is defined by being the best.

2.) STOP HAVING MEETINGS. START WORKING. In fact, STOP reading self help books. STOP reading books about HOW to become a millionaire. I've got news for you. The people who have successful businesses aren't having meetings about how cool it is. They aren't reading about how great it is. Set your "entrepreneurial toolbox" aside and get moving. What do you think the successful business owners are doing? Hell, I'd ask, but THEY ARE TOO BUSY WORKING.

3.) Running a business isn't about YOU. I know. Crazy, right? You put your heart and soul into a business, but I'm saying it's not about you? Damn straight. How did you get there? Were you able to do it all by yourself? Nope. You either have employees or vendors or suppliers or contractors or shippers or developers. It's takes a team to build a business. Let go of the ego. The Captain will always go down with the ship, but the crew is celebrated with safe arrival.

4.) STOP, please, STOP comparing yourself to others. Oh, you like that new BMW the Smiths are driving? Or that mansion in the mountains? Or that extravagant vacation? NEWS FLASH....focusing on what everyone else has doesn't help your business. You should eat, sleep and breathe your business. Oh, and take time away from it....turn off that phone NOW.

5.) Mistakes aren't the end of the world. They're just mistakes. Plain and simple. We all make them. Sometimes we make the same ones over and over. But eventually, we learn from them. Mistakes are nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, you should laugh at them! Stories about your mistakes are GREAT ways to bond with employees and build a history. Nothing does it better. Besides how do you expect to LEARN without making mistakes? If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you always got.

6.) "NO" is NOT a reason to stop what you are doing. You're going to be told "NO". You're going to be told "It's impossible". Let those people worry about what THEY can and can't do. YOU just keep go on being your awesome self.

7.) Take advantage of social media. Find the one that best fits with your customer and grow your customer base that way. This one just kills me! Social media is a "captive audience". Post often! YOU HAVE to stay in the forefront of your customer's mind or they WILL forget about you. People see your posts. INTERACT with your customers. Get to know them. People share your pictures. Their friends see the pictures, they like your page. Remember that old shampoo commercial: I'll tell two friends. They'll tell two friends and so on and so on and so on. It's like magic. Yes, there *can* be cost, if you go that route of boosting posts or placing ads, etc, but trust me...as for advertising, it's cheaper than Adwords. I think the minimum amount is $5?  I think you can skip the mochachino with extra whip and put $5 into your social media budget.

8.) Being a business owner sometimes means eating pasta and ragu for a year or two or even three. It means not buying new clothes for years. It means driving a +10 year old car. It means LIVING out of that car. It means living a lifestyle now that few would accept to live a life later that few can imagine.

9.) Think you know everything because you've been at this a long time? YOU'RE WRONG. Change is the only constant. Open your mind. Be a student....for the rest of your life. Stay up on trends. Stay up on technology. Stay up on research. You don't like it? It's too much work? Oh, I'm sorry (see numbers 1-8 above).

It's not easy. It's not for the feint of heart, but it is worth every hour, every dollar that you put into it.