According to the Japanese Scholar, Kakuzo Okakaura, “The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings.” This of course is not only important in our personal lives in general but in our professional lives as business owners and managers as well.
Do you feel constant stress and frustration with gaining new customers or making sales? Do you ever ask yourself, 'What was I thinking getting into self-employment?' Maybe it’s because you haven’t been willing to step outside of this idea in your head of what your business should be about, what services and products you offer and really explore a different way to grow.
When I started my business I gave it a name that made sense to me, found a need in an industry I loved and hit the ground running. I registered as a Sole Proprietorship with my state and planned to sell email marketing services to small businesses in the horse industry. Initially, I targeted this niche market and after about a month I had one client. I was excited about this one client, celebrated it, and when I got back down from cloud nine, I realized this one client wasn’t going to pay the bills. So I trudged forward and apologized to potential clients when I told them that I didn’t offer any other services.
Okay, let me stop here because you’re probably rolling your eyes and thinking to yourself, ‘hello! Why are you turning away potential clients?’ However, you may be doing the very same thing I did because when we start a business, we create this mental master plan of what we’re going to do in our business and we set out to do just that.
After a few more people asked if I offered help with social media and then later web development, I realized that maybe I needed to expand my business idea. Okay, so I can be stubborn. Businesses in the horse industry need more than just newsletters to communicate with their customers. Small businesses need other tools to create an online presence and email marketing is just one important piece of this puzzle.
I adapted to the needs and wants of those in my target market, expanded on my services and slowly started gaining new clients. As I experienced growth, I found the need to form a Limited Liability Company. I then partnered with my husband so that we could offer even more services and take on more clients, we changed the name and we opened up ourselves to any business that was interested regardless of their industry. This whole process is never as fast as we want it to be and patience is key every step of the way. But seriously, who has patience when we are trying to build a business! I know I certainly don’t.
So right now, look at your business and be honest with yourself. Do you need to adapt? Do you need to change? Over the last few years I have spoken with many business owners who are mistakenly resistant to adapting to not only the needs and wants of their customers but also to how businesses successfully market themselves in a world where your customers and clients are online more than five hours every day.
If your current or potential customers are asking for services or products that you don’t offer, you have an opportunity. If you’re letting your work life disrupt your home life, you have a challenge to overcome. If you find yourself continuing with the way things are because you’ve never done it any other way, you have room for growth.
The number one thing that you should do as a business owner is listen to the needs and wants of your customers, then find ways to satisfy those needs and wants. If you allow change within yourself, within your business and within your employees you open the door for growth and opportunity. Your only limits are those that you set for yourself.
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