10 tidbits of encouragement for entrepreneurs this Small Business Month.
Did you know October is Small Business Month in Canada, and National Women’s Small Business Month in the US? Small businesses are the driving force of our economy, providing hundreds of millions of jobs, and catalyzing innovation and growth on a local, federal, and even international level. As crucial as small businesses are, though, it can be incredibly difficult to run one. If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, just thinking about the myriad challenges behind keeping your company afloat can be excruciating. It’s easy to get discouraged when there are a hundred fires to put out before 9AM and you realize it’s only Monday, but do not despair! Below are ten notes of encouragement to help see you through.
- It’s never been easier to grow a business. If you’re reading this, you already have everything you need to start a new company or scale an existing one. The pervasiveness of the internet coupled with major advances in cloud computing, the popularity of crowdfunding, the rise of the gig economy, and the relative affordability of computers has all but destroyed the prohibitive barriers that used to stop people from starting or expanding their businesses.
- You’re lucky to do what you love. There’s a reason many people refer to their jobs as “just a 9-to-5.” Unfortunately, a significant portion of the workforce feels disconnected from their work. It’s estimated that approximately 87% of employees worldwide feel disengaged, which means you’re very fortunate to be able to pursue your passion and get paid for it.
- What you’re doing is impressive and important. Small business owners have a habit of downplaying their work. Especially in the early stages, many entrepreneurs don’t seem to consider what they do a job, but just because you’re not receiving a regular paycheck with all the deductibles precalculated doesn’t mean your work doesn’t matter.
- Failure is completely subjective. Regardless of whether your business is open for ten days or ten years, you are guaranteed to learn some valuable lessons along the way. Failure doesn’t exist, in that sense, because you can use any and all experiences to grow personally and professionally. Don’t dwell on the objectives you didn’t achieve, but instead learn from what happened and why so you can do better tomorrow.
- There are no wrong answers. Of course we don’t mean this in the exact sense, but you need to appreciate the uniqueness of your freedom to build and create. As the company leader, you can listen to your heart and make decisions that align with your vision and values. You don’t have to feel hamstrung by policy or procedure, and you can pivot whenever you please.
- You have more support than you realize. Whoever said “it’s lonely at the top” didn’t go online much. No matter what stage your company is at, there are meetups, subreddits, and forums full of likeminded business owners who are facing the same problems you are, or who have been in your position and can offer advice.
- Whatever problems you’re facing now will pass. Worried about that permit application? Struggling to find a supplier? In sudden need of a lawyer? All these situations are stressful, but temporary. We have a tendency to focus on the negative, even when the positive is far more abundant. For the sake of your employees (and your sanity), see these hiccups for what they are and always look forward.
- You can make real change. Even if you don’t invent the next Fortune 500 company, your business is making a difference. Every customer you serve, partner you collaborate with, and employee you hire will feel the impact of your company, its mission, and its values. Use this opportunity to make the world a better place.
- You’ll never have to wonder “what if?” You might think your business idea is one-of-a-kind, but honestly, at least a dozen other people have probably thought of it too. However, you’re the only one who executed. While the rest of them are left to ponder what could’ve been, you’re busy living out their fantasy.
- This is not a test, it’s an adventure. Don’t forget to have fun as you propel your business to new heights. Sure, the day-to-day grind can get tedious, but it’s important to be present and mindful through all of it. Make a conscious effort to remember what it was like to buy your first piece of equipment, or do payroll for the first time. Many of the experiences of starting and growing a business are actually quite thrilling, eye-opening, and inspiring. Enjoy it!
Pass this inspiration along to your staff
In previous posts, we’ve talked about the importance of workplace culture and how it can either improve or destroy employee engagement. You’re a leader within your organization, which means you have the responsibility of uplifting your employees and instilling a sense of company pride and excitement within them. There are many ways you can do this, one of the most effective being a comprehensive employee wellness program. LifeSpeak is a digital employee well-being platform full of various resources designed to help your employees thrive, both at work and at home. If your company has 50 or more employees, learn more on LifeSpeak.com.
Also published on Medium.