Feeling as though today could be one of the last good opportunities to ‘get out and enjoy summer,’ my hubby and I, the kids and my mom and dad headed out to the beach. Turkey Point is a delightful beach just an hour from our house – the sand is nice, the water is usually warm(ish), and it’s an easy drive with great scenery!
As I was looking at some pictures that my Dad took today, I was thinking about some business lessons that I have learned in my (almost) three years as an entrepreneur.
1. Dive into New Challenges!I am not a risk-taker by nature (far from it, actually!), but I have really learned to enjoy new experiences…just let me experience them at my own pace, okay?
The one thing that I have learned in business is…
Sometimes, in your business (or life!), you need to do something new to succeed. Or maybe, it’s a case of trying new things all the time! For me, this comes in many forms – talking to strangers and giving out tea samples all over town, calling customers on the phone to ask how they are enjoying their products, leading team conference calls, being assertive and asking someone to support you in the business, or perhaps speaking to a whole conference of people about your experience with Steeped Tea. (When you speak directly after Jim Treliving, that branches into a whole new category of “trying something new!”)
For me, some of the things that I have mentioned have less to do with the actual activity (talking on the phone or speaking in public), but more with the action or attitude behind them – being assertive, being out-going, being direct, etc.
For the most part, when I look at my business and my numbers aren’t where I would like them, I can look back over the past week/month and realize that I have been only doing what’s comfortable.
2. Face Your Problems Head-OnThis picture makes me laugh – I just had to include it! For my darling baby, her big ‘problem’ was that she wasn’t holding a sandwich, and she certainly made sure we knew about it! Every time someone took a bite, her nosy little self would whip her head in their direction and stare them down.
Back to my point…
Don’t run from your problems, big or small! I have had those times, TRUST ME, I have had those times when something gets miscommunicated and a customer is upset, needs some returned, doesn’t react to your services as you had hoped, or perhaps *gasp!* has a bad experience.
I have found in many cases, it is often not the circumstance, but how you handle circumstance that is remembered by the customer.
3. Find a Good Support System
When you are a business owner or entrepreneur, you don’t have the normal coworkers to lean on through your work. You are your own boss, you don’t have anyone setting your schedule for you, or telling you what to do.
This is always good…and bad. You need to find self-motivation and discover for yourself what works and doesn’t work in your business.
You also don’t have anyone patting you on the back, praising you for your good work, helping you through a problem, or giving you tips and advice.
You need to find people that will do all of this for you – both those who are in business like you, and people who were already in your life before your business. You need people who will tell you the truth, keep you positive, encourage you, or help you problem solve and work through a situation.
I am so thankful to have great training, support and cheerleaders through Steeped Tea – both in the corporate head office and other leaders and team members. I also have a few friends and family members that are #1 cheerleaders, they come to events with me, support my ideas, give honest feedback, and let us not forget my hubby! The man supports everything I do by taking care of the house and kids when I need to leave, plus cheering me on with every step!
In business, there are many times where all a situation or problem needs is a different perspective.
You may do an event – a trade show, open house or party – and have very poor results. However, if you are a business owner, you cannot be stunted by short-term thinking. If you want to make your business work, you need to work it like you are there for the long-haul.
There have been many, MANY times where one event that goes poorly turns into a number of excellent contacts, events and opportunities a year down the road. I have met some of my best customers through poorly attended or low sales events.
How does this happen?! Long-term thinking.
Don’t write something off because it didn’t give you the results you expected right now. Keep working those relationships – find out how you can benefit each other, network together, and don’t lose hope! Through good communication, follow-up, and a genuine spirit of trying to help others, you will learn to turn these events into positives for your business…in the long-run!
Note: Sometimes you do need to know when to walk away, too. There is a fine line between trying something over and over again or using all your energy on something and realizing that you need to walk away and find a new opportunity.
I believe I have said it before on the blog, but it’s worth saying again – My Grandpa said (months before cancer took his life), “You can look at a situation in your life in one of two ways – with hope and hilarity or with despair. Either way, you have to deal with it.”
These were quick thoughts from a water-logged mama after a wonderful, wavy, crazy beach day. (Yes, we were some of the few crazy people jumping the huge waves and swimming in cold water!) I would love to hear your thoughts and tips on running your own business!