Most of us weren’t even in business the last time our economy faced such adverse times or at least perhaps not in business for ourselves.
The last recession “we had to have” I was in late high school!
The GFC – I was a young mum with 3 very small children.
But that doesn’t matter. As a marketing strategist and thought leader for small business, I know there’s five simple steps, you can take, that can mean the difference between closing your doors and growing a great business.
We are told that 4 out of 5 small businesses fail before they reach the 5 year mark. And 95% of them are women lead businesses.
BUT they DON’T FAIL – they simply burn out.
They simply get so tired of the daily grind that they feel they have to do to keep enough customers coming through the door to keep the business afloat.
Eventually, they just give up, and go and get consistent income – a J.O.B
Here’s 5 simple strategies that cannot only help survive but THRIVE in business!
- Watch where you put your time.
As business owners we spend a LOT of time working “IN” our business and not enough time working “ON” our businesses.
So instead of doing all the doing, make time to grow your business.
Look at what’s working? What’s not? What’s next?
Importantly, identify your 3 Money Making Activities, you know those things that ACTUALLY make you money, and make sure you are giving them as much time and attention as possible.
In fact, as a little exercise, get a piece of paper and draw two columns.
Column 1 – put your money making activities in there.
Column 2 – put a % number in there of how much time, in a given week, you spend on that activity – the one that makes you money.
If you find that the activity that makes you 80% of your money is only getting 10% of your weekly attention – then you know what you need to do to improve your bottom line 😊
- Find a source of good advice.
Get yourself a mentor, a board of directors or surround yourself with people who get what you do.
A good mentor (paid or unpaid) will show you the way, help you avoid costly mistakes (perhaps from experience) and show you the short cuts to better results.
You are the sum of the 5 people you hang around the most. So, in business, who are you listening to? Who are you surrounding yourself with? Forward thinkers? People who you will challenge you? Or people who just want to pull you back down, because you are growing too fast, changing, or worse, outgrowing them?
It’s so important to surround yourself with great people. People who get what you do and will support you.
Remember, don’t let the people in the cheap seats, have an expensive opinion on you or your business.
- Do what you do best and outsource the rest.
When just starting out, we want to do everything in our business. Or perhaps we have to, because we simply don’t have the money to outsource or get help.
This can be a mistake.
To grow a business in the fastest possible timeframe it’s best for the business owner to stick to their areas of unique ability, their genius zone, and outsource the rest to people with the appropriate skill sets.
Do what you do BEST and outsource the rest.
Even if that means asking a friend or giving a student an opportunity to learn firsthand from a business owner what it takes to grow a business.
If you’re unsure whether you should be outsourcing, I refer you to back to your work above in 1 – how much time are you spending on the money making activities? If you start outsourcing would you have more time to work on things that will actually make you money?
- Narrow your focus and niche your expertise.
Just like not everyone is your customer, you can’t be everything to everyone.
There’s not enough time in the day.
Think about “What do you want to be famous for?”.
If people think of you, what do you want them to be thinking?
Write down on a piece of paper – “I want to be known for ….” and fill in the blank.
Top of mind marketing is why we use platforms like social media. So, when people think ‘X” they think of us.
We just have to make sure that everyone, who should know, knows what “X” is!
Our businesses are existing in an overcrowded and very noisy marketplace. To stand out, we have to be famous for 1 thing (or maybe 2 – but not everything we do).
Think of it like standing in a room of 200 people and all at once you yell your business names out.
Who heard it? Hardly anyone right?
It’s hard to stand out, but when you know what you want to be famous for, remembered for, known for, standing out becomes easier.
Take my business for instance, I want to be famous for helping small businesses make marketing a priority in their business, because I know the power of marketing. They think marketing – they think Jenn Donovan (that’s the goal 😊)
But I also do copywriting, but you don’t really know that, until you come into my world. I don’t want to fill my books up with copywriting jobs, I want to help people with their marketing and just because I don’t advertise other services, doesn’t mean I’m not good at more things than marketing!
The more niche you are, the easier it is to attract attention. The simpler your business is, the more money you will make.
- Make time to think and rejuvenate.
This point is arguably the most important.
A study by the University of South Australia suggests self-employed people tend to work six hours more a week than their salaried counterparts. Simply working longer and harder is no guarantee of success.
What can be much more effective is to ‘work smarter’ by creating enough downtime to think creatively about how to grow your business.
Some of my best thoughts come from when I am in the bath (and I have lots of those!) or walking listening to podcasts or just sitting on the verandah doing, well, nothing.
There is little doubt that running your own small business can deliver lots of great rewards but making it through the first few years can be extremely challenging, especially in a pandemic.
Remember, it’s not the most talented small business owners who will make it, in the end, it’s the ones who are willing to learn new things, step outside their comfort zones and learn to market their talent, that usually win all the business.
So, become a great marketer of what you do, not just a great doer of what you do.
If you would like to have a chat about your business strategy, then book a call with me!
Send me a message on any of my social platforms or book a call at http://bit.ly/Discoverwithjenn
You can also access my thriving Facebook Community dedicated to all things small business – Like Minded Business Owners. It is an awesome bunch of small business owners in the group who share a wealth of knowledge – please join if you aren’t already a member and become a part of a wonderful community!
Or you can DM me on Instagram or shoot me an email email@example.com
I wish to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land, the Yorta Yorta People, on which I conduct my business today and pay my respects to their Elders past and present. I extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples reading this blog post today.
About the Author:
Jenn Donovan of Social Media & Marketing Australia. Jenn’s a coach and mentor from rural NSW and is all about empowering business owners to earn what they’re worth so they can make a bigger difference in the world. The Founder of Buy From a Bush Business, Co-Founder of Spend With Us – Buy From a Bush Business Marketplace and host of the very popular podcast Small Business Made Simple, Jenn is all about community and humans interacting with humans! H2H Marketing – human to human marketing. Jenn talks the talk but importantly walks the walk! Jenn’s online community is over 320,000 with her famous Facebook Group currently at almost 320,000 members and still growing every day. She’s the major of her own little online city!
Get in touch – www.socialmediaandmarketing.com.au
On Instagram – @jenndonovan_
On Facebook – Social Media and Marketing AU
Or on LinkedIn as Jenn Donovan