Because I work with small business owners, I often connect with other small business providers. Those whose business is small business. We often laugh and joke about small business owners and the mistakes that are made and bemoan the fact that many small business owners “just don’t get it.” I was prepared to write about that phenomenon this when I realized that I have contributed to the problem many times myself.
In all honestly, I am the typical small business owner. When I started my law firm sixteen years ago, I just decided to do it. I bought some business cards and BOOM; I was in business! Easy peasy right? My first year in business I earned $13,000.00. I wanted to quit and get a job. Except that was the very reason I went into business in the first place. No job. So I just sucked it up and kept it moving.
I bought marketing kits, I spoke around the city of Houston and I contracted with various entities to increase my business. My business did increase but it never became what I really thought it could be. No matter how much money I was making I was always struggling. Struggling to get bigger businesses, struggling to maintain financial stability, struggling to learn how to perfect my craft. In some ways I did everything right, but the business was not where I thought it should be.
A lot of the problem was me of course. I made certain family choices that inevitably was going to prevent me from being on the level that I said I wanted to be. Some of it was ignorance, I just did not know any better. However, some of it was simply a refusal to invest in the things that were going to make a difference. Two years ago, my office mate and I were having a discussion about our practices. We were both experiencing the same type of problems. We discussed what we needed to do to make a change and were both frustrated by our own choices. But now things were different and now we had to step up and out in a way that we had never done. She hired a business consultant, I hired a business coach and we both began the process of turning our businesses around. Neither the consultant nor the coach has said anything that we did not know already, but this time the truth from an outsider looking in made all of the difference.
If you are going to make a change in your business, you are going to have to do things that make you uncomfortable. You are going to have to be willing to go to a land that you have not gone to before and you have to be willing to open yourself up to new challenges. It will not be easy, it will not be cheap, but it will be necessary.
My point is that my journey is no different from your journey. My struggles and insecurities are no different from yours. I understand what it means to step out on faith and pay money to a consultant or coach not knowing if you are going to get a return. I understand what it means to spend time doing things that ordinarily you would think was pointless and a waste time. But that is the point, investing the time and money into developing your business from the inside leads to results on the outside. What are you willing to invest to make the changes you desire in your business?
Shahara Wright is an experienced and highly sought after business law attorney and business strategist. She is the author of From Entrepreneur to CEO and host of the CEO Collaboration Circle. Shahara founded The CEO Effect, LLC to work with small business owners who want to implement strategy to build capacity.