If you are running your own business, when was the last time you updated your cv? Probably not since you went self-employed I am guessing. Well, why would you? You run your own business and are not looking for a job so there is no need.
But just stop a moment. This could be a really useful exercise to determine if you are the right person for the job. And I can’t take credit for this idea. It came from my husband.
He was made redundant recently, quite out of the blue. He had been employed for many years so his cv was wholly out of date. We sat down together and I helped him update all his information. Some of this was work related but there was also a host of transferrable skill he had picked up from hobbies such as work with the local football team.
He was so nervous when we started but when he read it back, he was a little taken aback. He couldn’t believe this was him. He thought the cv sounded too good to be true. But every word WAS true. He had just failed over the years to realise how many talents he had and what assets he had that other people wanted.
It was then that he turned to me and said he thought everyone should have to re-do their c.v. every six months to give themselves the confidence boost that he had gained.
And it got me thinking. What a good idea.
How about you go write a job description for the perfect person to run your business. Remember to list all the essential skills required and the additional desirable skills. Ask the question as to why the applicant would like to work for the company and why they feel they are better suited than anyone else.
Now go apply for this job. And be honest with yourself.
One of two things may happen.
Firstly, you realise how bloody wonderful you are and what skills you have to offer to the world. This can be a huge confidence boost as in the case of my other half.
Or, you may realise you are lacking a skill or desirable asset. And if that is the case, as you have now identified this, you can go find out how to fill that gap in your skill set. This will only make you better and more effective at your work which in turn, will help your business grow.
Have a go and let me know in the comments how you found this exercise.
Right then ladies. I have had a few calls for help just lately from women who are setting up their business or in the very early stages. They have come to me as they are feeling so overwhelmed when going on social media and seeing how many others there are doing the same as them and who are more experienced and more qualified.
This awful realisation is stopping them dead in their tracks and leaving them feeling deflated and like they ought to give up now.
When you do look for Facebook groups, DO NOT get put off by the more knowledgeable and qualified people than you. Take inspiration from them. If they can do it, so can you. Think how they got to where they are and be determined to get there as well. They had to start somewhere and inevitably, when they started they would have had the same issues as you. The difference is that they ploughed on regardless and remained absolutely determined to get where they are today.
Also, in your industry, people buy people. They will choose who they connect with and who they feel comfortable with rather than who has the most letters after their name. Think about what qualities you have that your competitors don’t. This could be quite something as simple as your location, your age (does a 70-year-old woman really want to be advised how to do her make up by a 20-year-old? – maybe, but quite possibly not), your positioning in the market place and a whole host of other reasons.
I once decided not to use someone purely because of her voice. Yes, it sounds crazy but her voice really grated on me and I just couldn’t listen to her. Accents can also play a part here.
And at the end of the day, think about how many people are out there who need your service. They can’t all be served by just a couple of people. There is more than enough work to go around for everyone.
So, stop being self-defeatist before you have even started. List all your qualities and start to keep a list of all the reasons that people WOULD deal with you rather than focusing on why they wouldn’t.
Come on. Start to believe in yourself because quite simply, if you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else?
Do you have the mindset of a successful business owner or are you just playing around hoping that things will miraculously just drop into place for you?
Too many times I come across those who tell me they are running a small business whilst complaining that they are not getting the results they want. They blame everything from the economy to marketing just not working for them down to customers just not understanding them. But really?
What is the real reason that your business is not gaining clients and generating income?
So many times during discussions, I find these people are not treating their business as a business but are just doing ad hoc work here and there when it suits them. They play with their business when they feel in the mood and if they don’t get instant results, go off and do something more interesting instead.
I work with these people and help them set out plans and goals for the month ahead to start moving things forward. Heads always nod enthusiastically and then when we next catch up these plans haven’t even been started upon, let alone achieved. It is incredible that the same excuses come up time after time.
- I wasn’t well
- I had to take my dog/cat to the vet
- I had a lot going on in my personal life last month
I am sorry, and I know there are some genuine cases out there, but these really are pitiful excuses. If this resonates with you, do you really mean to say that you were ill all month? Did you have to take your dog to the vet every day? Did you really let your personal life take over your business efforts? Emergencies do happen, but these should be factored into your business and a back-up plan put in place to deal with these.
Have you ever been in employment? If so, do you think the CEO or MD managed to run the business and pay their staff with the excuses and lack of performance you are allowing yourself to get away with? Do you think if they took time off every day to deal with personal situations they would have held on to their job? No. I didn’t think so.
Change your mindset and start to think like a successful business owner.
Stop playing around and decide if it is a truly successful business you want or just a hobby that will fit in when you feel like it. Change your mindset and start to think like a business owner.
As fired up and enthused as you may be about creating your own business, it will take hard work, commitment and personal investment on your own part along with self-responsibility for making things happen.
As John Barney stated in a past article on why many quit their business, being your own boss is tough and comes with its own pitfalls such as not having anyone to be accountable to and telling you what to do. This is one of the reasons that many start their own business but soon discover they need to be given constant direction as they lack the necessary work motivation to get the job done.
To build a successful business you will need to be able to motivate yourself to do work that you do not always enjoy and that does not bring instant results. To be able to succeed, you will need a strong inner drive, work ethic and a laser focus. Sadly too many people I meet lack these characteristics which are needed to accomplish the success they are looking for.
If you truly want to succeed and have a business to be proud of start to act like a business owner now.
- Set out your goals and specific plans to achieve them and put them into action.
- Prepare for the unexpected and emergencies and have a plan in place of how you are going to be able to cover these where possible.
- Set yourself out strict working hours and sit down and work!!
- Sort out your priorities and get them done.
Because if you don’t, you won’t have a business. And there will be no-one to blame but yourself.
Need more help?
If you really do want to put those plans into action but need some help, join The Small Business Kit today. As part of your membership you will be able to take advantage of the Time Management business builder video tutorial along with all the accompanying planners, templates and action plans to turn you into a successful business owner.
How do you know if your business offering is really good enough?
One of the worst situations I have to deal with when working with businesses is that of visiting a client who truly believes their product or service is far superior to the reality.
This is an incredibly difficult situation to deal with as I would never want to crush someone’s dream and self confidence, but at the same time it would not be fair of me to continue to lead them into a world of self delusion.
So how can you be sure your own product or service is really good enough?
First and foremost, if you are already trading, your sales and repeat business along with client testimonials should give you an indication of how good you are.
If you are starting up though, this will be more difficult to determine.
Market research is critical. And please oh please, do not rely on friends and family when undertaking any research. In my experience, friends and family will tell you want to hear for fear of hurting you and will rarely give you an unbiased opinion.
You need to do some test marketing and get feedback from real customers, and making sure these customers are from your future target market base. There is no point at all in asking a group of teenagers to try out a product aimed at the over 50’s market.
When asking for honest feedback, you need to be quite thick skinned as it may feel like a personal attack if any criticism is forthcoming. However, I truly believe far more can be learned from critical feedback, or critique, rather than purely positive feedback. Yes, praise is needed and we should celebrate our successes but if we do not hear what is wrong with our product or service, then how can we ever improve and stay ahead of the competition.
As the saying goes:
Praise makes you feel good but critique makes you better
If you do not feel strong enough to take the hit at this early stage, then get someone else to gain the feedback for you and create an overall report. This can be someone you know who is wholly unbiased (once again not friends and family please) or you can engage with a professional company to do this for you (at a charge of course).
It is far better to get honest feedback in the early days than to find out later down the line why repeat sales are not forthcoming and perhaps a poor reputation has already been gained.
It can be quite a painful process to go through, and yes, I have been through it myself, but it can also be one of the most worthwhile.
And remember, many of the best products out there came from hundreds of knock backs and years of rejection so you are not alone. Just think of:
- James Dyson (Dyson vacuums)
- Colonel Sanders (Kentucky fried chicken) and
- Thomas Eddison (the lightbulb)
All the above went through countless rejections and criticisms but who all did not give up and used any criticism in a constrictive manner to help them improve their products and become market leaders.
What’s the best critique you have had for your business and how did it help you? Leave your comments below.