Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Getting beyond today

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     from a lifetime of experience in business.

     Problems are common in every small business. No matter who you are, no matter what your business, there are problems.

     Accountants and attorneys understand numbers and legal matters. But who among them has walked in the shoes of their clients?

     They have. They run businesses, too.

     Different small businesses are different. But they have much in common. Owners must worry about finding new clients, promoting the business, staying on top of developments in their field, managing on-going operations, dealing with the effects of technology, and running faster--just to stay in the same place. 

     Facing all the problems in small business requires a certain attitude. In my experience, that attitude has three components.

     Keep the focus. Day to day activities can eat up every hour of your time. When you are overwhelmed, your decisions might not be your best. Get a clear idea of who you are and what you are doing. Clear goals will get you where you want to go. They can change, but that is no reason not to have them.

     Plan ahead. Markets and customers change. In business you're sailing your ship on a vast ocean. Planning ahead helps you weather storms. Your business plan is your guide--whether you write it down or keep it churning in your head. I've found it useful to jot down ideas as they occur to me, throw these notes into a cigar box, and every couple of months go through the notes. Some of the ideas are good, others not. But this activity helps you keep perspective and helps in finding your unique path into your future. 

     Never give up. Giving up is the easy way out of problems. Throw up your hands, and it all goes away. But that's not who you are. You thrive on creative solutions to problems. You must go on--deep down it's you. Giving up is not a part of your attitude. Today's storm will pass, and the sun will come out tomorrow. Keep faith in yourself and in doing what you're doing. Find the way ahead.

     Running a race is never easy. If it were, everyone would be running. And in today's politically correct society, everyone would be a winner. Nice sentiment, but it ain't true. Each of us is different, and each of us finds a unique way ahead. It's part of being human.  

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