Well, let’s jump in!
As any small business owner knows, running a business is not always rainbows and sunshine – especially at first. There are difficult times and struggles. But in these dark times, your response as a business owner can mean the difference between closing up shop and spring boarding into greatness.
Believing in an Endgame
James Stockdale, a Navy Commander and POW during the Vietnam War, did an interview once where he was asked what got him through his darkest times in the POW camp. He responded, “I never lost faith in the end of the story. I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.” Stockdale didn’t stop believing in his endgame – his ultimate goal. He knew that one day he would return home to his family and his country and there was no other option for his life. That firm resolve was what got him through a daily routine of torture and seeing other prisoners die around him. Every day and with every decision he made, he positioned himself to survive and live out his endgame.
Surely, this has business implications as well. A business leader that can focus on his or her ultimate business goal through the darkest of times is one that will make the decisions needed to keep the business going and position it for ultimate success.
Putting in the Miles
As a business owner, knowing where you want to go and having the patience to do what it takes to get there is crucial when it comes to making it through tough times. It can be easy to lose site of the forest through the trees, but with each subsequent step, you get closer and closer to your destination. When everything is going well, patience becomes easier because you’re riding the high wave, but when times are tough, the same timeframes feel like an eternity. This is why fledging businesses often dart from one thing to another, because they do not have the patience to stick with what they need to do to achieve lasting success.
Now, this isn’t to say that you should get complacent and just sit back and expect that things will happen. I don’t believing sitting back and waiting is the same as being patient, but if you have the patience to just keep walking one step at a time, eventually it will pay off and you will reach your destination.
Having “Your Person”
There’s a reason business owners go out and network with other business owners, find mentors and hire life coaches. Running a small business can get lonely and it’s confusing and scary at times. Humans are social creatures, so naturally we do better when we have someone that we can confide in and go to for advice. But I want to take that a step further because, to me, having a confidant and sounding board is basically the description of a friend. As a business owner I don’t think you need a friend. I think you need an accountability partner – someone who will be your cheerleader when you have a win, your advocate when you need some backing and that boss-like figure when you need to be pushed to work harder. I don’t know that there’s a single word to describe this type of person in your life, so we’ll just call him/her “your person.”
Your person needs to be the one who will tell you what you need to hear when it’s not always popular. Maybe you ventured into a new area when you shouldn’t have or spread yourself too thin with projects. Maybe you have lost sight of where you want to go or made some leadership mistakes with your employees. Your person is the one who will tell it like it is and push you to always be better. Having your person is essential for business owners that want to achieve greatness.
By Kate Pierce. Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!