I loved the Royal Wedding last Friday. The family sat down together to enjoy the day. The bride was beautiful, the dress was gorgeous, the groom was handsome in his uniform and the bridesmaids were cute. The bride and groom appeared to thoroughly enjoy their day and the beginning of their new life together. Most of the people I know sat down and enjoyed the wedding as I did.
Starting a new business can be a little like a wedding.
It’s a lot of work, but you are looking forward to the end result. There’s the excitement of the new ideas that can come tumbling out barely fully formed, there’s the joy of the fun stuff like researching new products, designing new websites and perhaps looking for new premises. There’s the not so fun stuff such as visiting the banks and informing HMRC. Overall it is a time full of promise, full of adventure and full of trepidation.
Then you have to deal with the day to day stuff of running a business. In the service industry, you have to continually find new clients. On an e-commerce website you have to keep your search engine optimisation working as well as you can to bring clients to your website. If you have opened a high street shop, then you need your customers to come through the door. You have to keep your cashflow going and your overheads paid. The shine begins to wear off.
Before you know it, you are struggling to find clients, the website is failing to meet its targets and you are not ranking for any of your keywords in the Google top ten pages. Or you’re faced with a sink full of dirty dishes while your new husband goes off for a sulk over the way you cooked tea…! (It could happen)
What Can You Do?
What you do next will show the stuff you’re made of and whether you’re really cut out to be a business owner. You need to find a way through the slump times and discover a way to bring customers thronging to your door once again.
You can share your problem on the business forums and ask advice from some of the old hands there. You may be able to find a customer or two lurking there as well.
You may wish to read up on your problem. Subscribe to one or two recommended blogs and see what the experts suggest.
Linking and networking with like-minded people can bring help so that you can get your head clear and understand the steps you need to take to remedy the situation.
You may decide to hire somebody like a copywriter or a web designer to ensure that your content and your website are as fully optimised as they can be.
Proactively seek clients, especially if you are in a service industry. Go where your clients hang out and join in discussions. Post your availability and let people know that you are able to help.
Use social networking to increase your customer awareness. Tweet, update your status on Linked-In and keep your Facebook page up to date.
Use a promotional offer to encourage people to buy. Use leaflets to target customers.
Check that your e-commerce website is working as well as it can. Ask friends to check it out and follow up on their comments.
Try a website such wecandobiz.net which encourages networking.
Many of these ideas suggest asking others for help. It can be so encouraging to talk to someone who has gone through this before and is able to share their experience. It can be lonely to be a small business owner, particularly one that is a sole trader. By seeking others out and getting involved in communities then you can find a place to share your problems and also help others.
Don’t give up. Keep going and use every bit of your resources to keep your desire to work for yourself alive. Try and remember a little of the excitement of the first days to help you find the resources to get through these dark days. Every business has its ups and downs – that’s what keeps most of us interested.
Oh – and never burn the dinner when cooking for your new husband!
Have you had some difficulties with your business recently? Perhaps you have just come through a difficult patch or you are feeling low at the moment because things are not going the way you would like. Comment below for a sympathetic ear.
- Form Alliances with Fellow Small Businesses (thecreativewriter.co.uk)