Starting and Growing Your Business

Sometimes it’s Okay to Fall Down…Other Times it is Catastrophic

Today I physically fell down. I tripped over my rolling brief case. I forgot that it was sitting on the floor in the middle of my home office. My wifi was acting up and I was walking into the office holding my iPad in my left hand. Instead of looking at the floor ahead of me, I was looking at my wireless router.

I walked right into the large rolling brief on the floor and fell forward. I bruised both knees. One on the floor and the other on the rolling brief. I put my right hand out to break my fall and jammed my right wrist in the process. It could have been worse.

I could have broken a knee cap or twisted an ankle. While I am in some pain or discomfort, I know that I am lucky. I am at an age and at a certain level of fitness where a fall was not catastrophic. Thankfully, I didn’t totally lose control and hit my head.

The truth is sometimes people fall down and they never recover. For some, a fall can mean never getting back up.

I just read a horrifying news story last week about elderly twin sisters who died in the frigid cold temperatures overnight in the driveway of their home. One of the sisters fell and couldn’t get up. The other sister tried to help and she fell down as well. They died in the freezing cold.

Obviously, at an earlier age, different stage of life and under different health conditions, a fall for one or both would have been different. It may have resulted in a laugh and perhaps a bruised muscle or a bruised ego. But at the age they were, their vulnerability was at its peak. And a fall resulted in the end of life.

Is Your Safety Net Helping You or Hindering You?

When you are starting or growing your business, one of the biggest challenges is overcoming the safety nets you have in place. Many of us have safety nets that keep us from “falling.”  Safety nets come in many forms:

  • a full time job;
  • or loved ones that help to support us financially;
  • or lots of savings;
  • or a loan;
  • or a withdrawal from a retirement account;
  • maybe even a severance package;
  • or a regular retirement or pension check;
  • or an inheritance check.

A safety net is anything that reduces the urgency of making money in your business – “now.”  A safety net is anything that helps to support your life while you consider your business, talk about your business, or build your business. Many people who start businesses begin by doing so part time. That is smart. That is ideal. That is a way to learn and grow. There are, however, two essential challenges to working full time for someone else instead of part time for someone and full time for you:

  1. Limited time and availability to work on your business
  2. A lack of urgency to make money in your business because it is not contributing payment toward the needs and wants in your life

Lots of Work and Little Pay

Many of the people I meet have taken some clear steps to establish their business identity. They have typically done the following:

  • obtained a business tax ID;
  • filed articles of incorporation;
  • opened a business bank account;
  • procured a logo;
  • bought a website domain name;
  • started a website;
  • and perhaps developed some social media presence for others to follow.

What many of these tasks have in common is that they are necessary. They also cost time and/or money. The business owner has invested in the creative, technical and legal tasks…but has yet to earn any substantive income from the business.

When no money is coming in while money is going out, it can be very discouraging. Great ideas and even passion or talent are important but they do not sustain a business. Eventually, the business can devolve into an expensive “hobby.” Something the owner spends money on and occasionally thinks about but not something that generates income.

What is the Role of Confidence in Business Development?

One of the first things that I assess when I am providing coaching/consultation services to my professional colleagues is whether or not they have developed a way to make money in their business. If they have but they want to grow their business, I consider what opportunities they have in front of them that they have not realized.

I take note of their confidence (whether it be overconfidence or under-confidence). People who lack confidence in their actual service or their skills may inadvertently sabotage their business…secretly hoping that no one will contact them for services.

Sometimes people are overconfident. Overconfidence is not necessarily a bad thing, however it can also lead to an overly optimistic view of the challenges of growing a business. Starting or growing a business involves real commitment and many hours, days, weeks, months and years of hard work.

So What Does it Take to Remove the Barriers and Start or Develop Your Business?

  1. First and foremost we must take full responsibility for it. No one is going to do it for you. You can and should get help and support. But you are the director of your own business and no one else can make it happen without your direction and leadership.
  2. Next you must clearly identify what services or products you are offering. People need to know how they can request that service. They also need to know how they can buy and receive the product.
  3. You must be consistent. Develop an identity, grow that identity and maintain the identity. This does not mean you cannot change your business focus or model. It simply means that if you are not consistent, people cannot take advantage of what you have to offer at a time that works for them.
  4. Additionally, you have to keep learning and apply what you learn. Learning involves reading, listening to podcasts, attending workshops, attending webinars, receiving consultation and coaching…but it also involves putting what you learn into practice.
  5. Lastly, you must develop some urgency with regard to earning money in your business. Do not let your safety net be a hindrance. Really and truly assess what level of risk you are willing to take. I think working part time for guaranteed income while you grow your business is a good way to let go of the side of the pool.

If you have capital set aside, do what you can to live off of your part time income and what you earn in your business. If you rely too much on your safety net, it becomes very easy to prioritize everything above growing your business. It is just too easy to not “push”  yourself if you don’t have to do it. Most of us choose the easiest path as a matter of comfort and maintaining the status quo.

I am suggesting that you inject a bit of “need to survive”  off of the money you earn in your business. It can help you keep your focus, intention, consistency and diligence. I have few additional tips about business income in my video below.

Copyright © 2017 Ruby Blow. All rights reserved.

Share your thoughts on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter or log in to one of your accounts below to comment. Subscribe to my YouTube channel.