7 tips for small business owners
I highly doubt there are any small business owners that can say they haven’t learnt some valuable, and often tough lessons along the way. Being a small business owner isn’t for the faint hearted, but despite the ups and downs, it also has a lot of positives, and I personally wouldn’t have it any other way. Life is a process of constantly learning, as to is being an entrepreneur. My top seven tips for small business owners would be:-
1. Get everything in writing
This would have to be my number one tip for small business owners! I have definitely learnt this lesson the hard way. Even if you think the client will remember, or has verbally approved something, it is so important to have it in writing. Whether it is a signed document or simply an email, when it is agreed in writing you have something to go back on if needed. Definitely don’t assume something is confirmed, unless you have documented proof.
2. There are always two sides to a story
Sometimes for whatever reason miscommunication happens. It even happens in relationships with friends, colleagues and families, and business clients are no different. Remember you aren’t always in the wrong nor are you always right. One thing that has always been instilled in me from when I was a kid, is no matter how difficult a conversation might be to have, it is far more professional to sort out a situation over the phone or in person, if possible, rather than email or text.
3. Small business owners should always believe themselves
This one is such a huge and one I am still working on. Many small business owners, and I think sometimes especially as women entrepreneurs, we often feel inadequate at times. Realise your worth, respect yourself and know that you have the skills to deliver above and beyond. Also know that this is an ongoing process, it doesn’t happen overnight and it is always something that will come up more each time you up level. That dreaded imposter syndrome is worth fighting.
4. As a small business owner, don’t undersell yourself
Guilty as charged. Why is it as small business owners we always feel we need to charge less than our worth? When you pay for a service or a product you pay the amount, you typically don’t question it. Remember you are delivering a service and you deserve to be paid for your time, expertise and knowledge. If a client is not willing to pay what you are worth or expects to get something for nothing, then they aren’t worth your time.
5. Membership groups can be a great way to meet other small business owners
When I first started out, I didn’t even know memberships and other groups of copywriters existed. A few years in I came across a membership group and decided to commit to a few months’ membership, as I felt that was all I could financially afford at the time. Suffice to say a year and a half later I am still part of the membership. It has been invaluable for so many things from building a network, to job referrals, to learning more about perfecting my craft and delivering the right client experience. Most of all being able to share with and ask fellow colleagues for help when needed has been nothing short of amazing. Finding people to support you along your journey is really important.
6. Foster relationships with other small business owners
I am a big believer in fostering relationships with both clients and colleagues alike. Take the time to get to know your clients personally and professionally. It not only shows you are invested in their business and vision, but that you take the time to go the extra mile. Working with someone who cares about how you are going is far nicer than working with someone who only cares about how much money they are paying you. For me relationships come first and foremost.
7. You can say no
You don’t have to say yes to every opportunity. Even when you are starting out and building your business, not every opportunity is the right one. Certain ones are more of a headache than they are worth. Even when you feel you need the income, always trust your gut and if it doesn’t feel right then it isn’t right. Money isn’t everything.
Above all celebrate your wins
Something we forget to do as small business owners (I know I am guilty of this) is to celebrate the successes no matter how big or small! If you don’t then who will?
Owning a business and continuing to work in and on your business is no easy feat. But the biggest advantage of owning your own business is the freedom it offers. Being able to work around you and your family’s needs and setting your own hours is worth every struggle along the way.