The 5 Steps to Being Successful at Small Business Ownership

by Jenny Ford

PSYCH! (Okay, Okay, I know it's not the 90's anymore, I'm 30- cut me some slack.)

There is no recipe or “one size fits all” process to being a successful business owner.  But, let me begin by saying, I’m nothing special. I don’t presume to be an expert at small business ownership based solely on my 3 years or so of business management and ownership.

I have, however spent countless numbers of hours reflecting upon my life and the steps I’ve taken thus far into my entrepreneurial journey. Below are a few of my reflections. (Please note that all of my reflections are subject to change, as I grow older and wiser. Fingers crossed.)

1.     A small business owner must possess a great deal of self-confidence and self-awareness.

As your own boss, you often will need to self-assess and grow without the help of others pointing out your strengths and flaws. No one will care about your “baby” the way you do. When you aren’t working for someone else, the duty of progress reports and evaluations has to be your own. And that takes a willingness to be open to accept, understand, and learn from your own mistakes.  And while you are being hard on yourself, you also have to remain one hundred percent confident in your vision and your abilities. It is a hard balance, but completely doable, when you have picked and created the right business. I believe if you aren’t able to balance those two things, you may not be in the right business, or business ownership may not be for you.

2.     A small business owner shouldn’t believe in “luck” or “talent” as much as they believe in “practice”, “hard work”, and “dedication.”

“Luck” and “talent” may seem to fall from the clear blue sky. And, maybe, sometimes they do. But most of us normal people cannot rely or fall back on these gifts. The truth of the matter is that most people who get called “lucky” and “talented” did not fall out of their mother’s womb that way. Countless numbers of hours spent practicing a certain skill or interest, exhausting levels of dedication, and a stubborn determination to create the things one wants to create are typically what comes before those moments one person says to another, “oh wow! You are so talented!”  In the great words of Britney Spears, “If you want a ___________, you better work, bitch.”

3.     A small business owner doesn’t make excuses; he or she makes a way.

One of my greatest pet peeves in the world is when someone loves to talk about the things they want, but all the reasons they can’t have them. It’s so weak, it’s so lame. We are all more privileged than someone else, and less privileged than someone else. Almost every person I know has been awarded amazing and incredible opportunities and support in one way or another. If you want something badly enough, you will work to get it. If you aren’t there yet, maybe you haven’t found the thing that will drive you to work that hard yet. But if you don’t try, you’ll never find it. You’ve gotta fight for it.

A small example of what I’m trying to say can be illustrated with a story about one of my closest and dearest friends, whom I love and respect so much. This girl loved taking photos. And not just silly photos, but interesting and well-styled photos. Good photos. She may not have viewed it as a “practice”, but in fact, it was. She did it every day. She didn’t have a $40,000 camera package, but she did have an iphone. And you know what happened? Those good photos started becoming really good photos. Which started turning into amazing photos. Which led her to start expanding her tools and knowledge. I can’t wait for the (very soon) day when this girls “talent” buys her that $40,000 camera package.

I bring up this story because this person used what she had to become great. But a lot of people wouldn’t do that. Many people would say, “whoa is me, all I have is this dumb iphone and I’ll never be good like that person who was “lucky” enough to afford an expensive camera package.“

Make a way, not an excuse.

4.     Smart small business owners covet their time, and surround themselves with people who keep them inspired and motivated.

On the heels of that last story, I think it’s so smart to note that becoming really good at something takes a fair level of inspiration and motivation. If you surround yourself with self-motivated, driven, and passionate people, it will add fuel to your fire. Spend time with people who your really, truly, respect.  People who are a strong and driven as you are. They will help you turn into the person you are becoming. If you walk away from a relationship feeling positive and motivated, it’s a good sign that’s a good relationship, and well worth your already certainly very strained time.

5.     Good small business owners must genuinely care about, and want to help their clients.

This one may be the most important of all. If you truly desire to help your clients, your work will remain true and sincere. Whether your goal is to provide a great service or product, you have to really care about what you are doing and whom you are doing it for. Yes, as a business owner, you want and need to make a living off what you do. Yes, sometimes you will end up with a difficult client. But what you do without love is hollow. Try to find ways to renew your love and passion for your craft or service daily. Because once it is gone, it’s time to move on.

In Conclusion,