business guidance

5 simple tips to save your sanity and grow your business

Posted on: March 11th 2020    •    Posted in: Growing your Business

I’ve been lucky to receive lots of business guidance over the years but it’s the very simple advice that has been the most effective. These five nuggets below are the ones I follow without fail because they’ve proved without any doubt,  the most beneficial to my business and my sanity. They’re so obvious – you’ll wonder why everyone doesn’t follow them ……..

It’s OK to Fail

Learning from failure is good, continually failing in a groundhog day loop is not. I know because I’ve failed, a lot. A few years ago we had an on-line business that sent parcels worldwide via courier. It made perfect sense to offer discounted postal rates to the public whilst enjoying volume discounts. Voila – ‘Post Your Parcels’ was launched. BIG MISTAKE !! I had completely ignored the human factor – how long we’d spend with customers working out the best way to send a crate of marmite to Australia, repacking goods wrapped in a sock (yes, honestly !!), finding missing postcodes and that was without chats about the weather, their children, pot holes. What a rookie mistake! Worked out – it was costing us money !! Dented ego and red faces all round but on the upside, I worked out how to cost things properly.

A fear of failure and the perceived embarrassment paralyses us and stops our business from progressing. Embrace fear as a means of learning and it becomes less scary and more empowering. At the very least, you’ll have an amusing story to share at your next networking event!

Superheroes are so overrated

There’s no shame in getting help. If the boiler breaks down, you get a plumber in – you don’t enrol on a plumbing course and you certainly don’t feel embarrassed. But when it comes to our own business, we stubbornly take on every role believing we must master ever task and that by doing so, we’re somehow saving money. It makes us miserable and frustrated – we’re not cut out to be superhuman. Let’s be honest – no-one looks good with their underpants over their clothes. Think of how those wasted days could have been spent growing your business. A skills exchange is a great solution if money is tight – barter your skills for those you lack. It’s a win, win.

It’s not all about the money

Having money as your main motivation is unlikely to get you where you want to be. You need to believe in and love what you’re doing. Be motivated by offering a great service, by solving a problem and by making a positive difference. If you get those right, you’ll feel truly fulfilled and the success, money and lifestyle will follow. By focussing only on financial gains, you’re likely to miss amazing opportunities. True financial success rarely occurs overnight and often appears in the most surprising ways. One of my largest clients is a company I helped out as a favour two years ago with no expectation that it would lead to any paid work, I just liked what they did and the sort of people they were. Be prepared to give, it’s amazing what it can lead to.

Don’t say yes when you mean no

We’ve all found ourselves in the awkward position of being offered work that we know isn’t a good fit for us or that we haven’t got time for. As a small business, we find ourselves saying yes in the mistaken belief that if we turn work down, the universe will somehow punish us and we’ll never be given another opportunity. Simply saying ‘no’ is powerful and liberating. Far better to be honest than letting someone down or doing a poor job as you’re too rushed. Be brave and take control. Know what you’re good at and stay focussed – don’t grab at everything and regret it. Who knows what you might be offered tomorrow?

Make friends with your ‘enemy’

It needn’t be pistols at dawn when you meet someone locally who appears to be offering the same services as you. Get to know your competitors. There is so much you can learn from others (good and bad) and you’re missing a trick if you ignore an opportunity to make contact. Working collaboratively can be great fun and mutually beneficial. Only last week I was approached for a last minute project that I just couldn’t accommodate. I was able to recommend someone else because I know them and the quality of their work and my client got what they needed quickly. What’s more, that Client has now given me another project for April so it’s done me no harm at all. Remember – what goes around, comes around and next time that competitor could be recommending you!

So there you have it, 5 simple things you can easily incorporate into your working day to help your business flourish and, more importantly, you stay sane. Feel free to pass this on to anyone you know who’s struggling or feeling overwhelmed. It’s always great to hear what others have found to help them, so let us know your sanity tips.

Nici Martin

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