As a small business owner, I was lucky enough to be invited to kick off the Victorian Small Business Festival with a table of fabulous women from ABN hosted by Suzi Dafnis.
Small business is big business, particularly in Australia where it is really the fat bottom of the Australian Economy.
Other people call it the engine room, but to me it is bigger and more stabilising than that, so I like to think about it as the base of a pyramid, with a really big bottom, and tiny top! Small business owners drive this economy. It makes more money and employs more people. So if you are a small business battler, take a bow. Give yourself a pat on the back. Do some star jumps. Buy yourself a massive piece of chocolate cake – you deserve it! At the opening lunch, we had a great fortune to hear Nic Frances speak. Who? Well I hadn’t heard of him before either. But wow – what an inspirational guy – who had some wonderful words of wisdom for small business owners like you and me.
Let’s get some things straight first.
Small business is hard. We can’t leave at the end of the day and forget about our work, we take it home. It’s not only us that ‘work’ in our small business, but our extended family. We don’t do it for the money! Yes – we (hopefully) get to pay ourselves (last of course), but that’s not why we were inspired to start our business. We were driven to help people in our area of expertise, or we saw a way to fill a gap in the market or deliver something in a different way. Small business owners can get lost. Lost in the detail of their business, lost in the pursuit of the business. We can forget why we started our business in the first place. Nic Frances had some wonderful tips on how we can remember the important stuff. Here they are.
Small Business Tip 1. Be clear about your goal.
If you are just starting a business, or have been in business for years, we all had a reason for starting. But …. are really clear on that? Not just our reason for starting, but also clear on what you are trying to achieve through your business. Be it world peace, money to support our family, a way of using our talents for greater good.
Get clear on your goal – have it prominent in your mind and where you work. This goal should drive your decisions.
Tell people your goal – so that you are accountable. Tell someone who can be your honest broker. If you remain true to your overriding goal, then whatever else happens in your business will be ok.
Small Business Tip 2. Be OK with failing.
Failing is a part of life and business. When our kids are learning to walk and they fall over … we celebrate … what do we say? “It’s ok – get up – try again.” Somehow as we grow into adults we forget this. We somehow think that when we are learning something new, we will automatically be great at every aspect of it. Well – that’s just not true. Watch for your mistakes, Say it’s ok. Pick yourself up and try again! Why do so many businesses fail? Because they forget about the lifeblood of business, money! So invoice quickly and collect quickly.
Small Business Tip 3. Play the game differently.
One of the great things that a mentor can have is to help you see the game differently. Challenge yourself to think about how you would change the game in your industry or business. Just because something has been done a particular way – doesn’t mean that you can’t change it.
Remember what my friend Mr Einstein said. “Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result!”
So think about what you can change in the game …. and what different result you really want to achieve. So get out there and show the world what your small business is all about!