Just because your business
There is a subtle distinction between changing on a dime and changing on a whim, but it’s critical for a small business owner to understand the danger in changing on a whim.
Most small business owners I know work constantly. Even if they aren’t on the clock the business is constantly on their mind. It’s surprisingly easy to get so caught up in doing that we don’t devote nearly enough time to planning.
As small business owners, we know that we need to grow our business but because we don’t place a high priority on planning – or perhaps we think we are too busy to plan – we end up making business decisions and setting goals on the fly and then doubting those decisions. The result is that we find ourselves in a constant state of course-correcting.
A small business owner friend of mine clearly struggles with this. Whenever we talk about business, I am reminded of something my manager in pharma liked to say: “All motor and no rudder.” My friend has lots of energy but her business plans and goals change dramatically from week to week, often contradicting each other and often based on emotion, something she read, or something someone said.
Creating a plan isn’t complicated but it’s vital to growth. There are three main steps: Assess your business, assess your market to identify opportunities, and create your plan.
Assess your business. Here’s where being a small business owner has its advantages. So, in addition to looking at the numbers, make sure you take into account what you enjoy doing.
Assess your market to identify opportunities. My father once told me that to stand out in your work, you need to look for the unmet need. That thing that nobody else can or wants to do - and become the expert in it.
Create a plan.
A final word of advice if you're just starting out - keep it simple. Don't try to do everything right out of the gate. If you eventually want to build a Custom Order business, you might want to start out by focusing on creating unique finishes and learning the best places to sell those pieces before devoting time and energy to building a Custom Order business.
Three to 6 months down the road, re-assess. If you've started to build a following and you're in a comfortable place with your furniture painting and selling, it may then be the perfect time to focus your attention on launching that new part of your business.
Be patient and be confident. If you’ve put the time into assessing and planning, you should feel confident in the direction you’ve chosen. You’ve done your homework and your plan is solid. Now trust yourself and give it time.
Change - even subtle change - to your business direction, can take time to gain traction.