Smart Thinking For Small Business Owners

by Bruce W. Hall

While I write these words Iím reminded you and I are not so different. As a fourth generation entrepreneur, who owned a brick-and-mortar business for almost seventeen years, I too experienced days when I felt elated, proud, and wanted to see it grow. Also, there were times of stress and high anxiety, when walking away seemed like a really good idea.

Entrepreneurs seek independence. We like to control the focus of our productive energy. We enjoy living directly from the effort of our own confidence and imagination. We embrace the challenge of business ownership to fulfill a dream of being self-employed, sometimes in spite of overwhelming odds. However, difficulties may occur when we attempt to do most, if not everything, by ourselves. Long hours, increasing competition, and financial constraints, for example, can occasionally create such an emotional roller coaster, we wonder if itís all worth the effort.

It takes a variety of skills such as networking, management, inventory control, and customer relations to successfully navigate a small business through todayís competitive marketplace. But, who has a superlative grasp of them all? Thereís only so much time and energy to go around. If not careful, we run the risk of operating far below our potential. Then we begin to question our motives, or lose a good feeling about what we are doing. Eventually, the driving energy, passion, and motivation that once enabled us to weather daily business challenges can transform into worry, fear, anger, and doubt.

This is a time to set goals, solve problems, and make smart decisions. You donít have to give up, give in, or simply hunker down in the face of economic adversity. You can decide for yourself whatís right, whatís possible and focus on where you are now and where you want to take your business. However, if you want results different from the past, then you must begin to think and act differently in the present.

Firstly, you have to acknowledge a problem exists. Small problems only become bigger when left unattended. The person who has developed the ability to deal with them as they arise creates a much more stable entrepreneurial environment. In a sense, every problem is simply a lack of knowledge. The more accurately a person gathers information, the greater their skill in working out solutions, the less likely theyíll find their business in an untenable position.

Next, be open-minded, willing to accept new ideas and make changes. Each of us has a limited set of life experiences. Nevertheless, we have the ability to adjust, adapt, and accomplish more than we can ever imagine. Inquisitiveness is a great starting point. It can encourage you to release new thought patterns with a steady flow of information, ideas, and possibilities.

Finally, be willing to learn from others. Creative, winning-in-the-marketplace strategies develop best in collaboration from an ever-expanding circle of relationships. Engage in the art of brainstorming. Listen attentively when people speak. You can acquire a considerable number of worthwhile solutions in a relatively short period of time from open discussion with like-minded individuals.

The world is more complicated than ever. Yet, through our choices, decisions, and actions we still have a tremendous amount of flexibility from which to sustain a viable business.

Copyright © 2009, by Bruce W. Hall. All rights reserved.

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