Help, I’m drowning

Written by Noleen Thompson

On Oct 11, 2019

Hands up and say ‘I’ if you are an entrepreneur or small business owner who feels like drowning and you are not coping. You may feel that there are more challenges than solutions and the money seem to flow in one direction only – out of your bank account. My hand has been up on more than one occasion!

The silver lining to this dark cloud is that you are not alone; there are many just like you out there who are experiencing the same type of pressures and the ugly of being your own boss. Just knowing that you are not unique in this way is probably not enough to make you sleep better at night, but at least there are lessons that you can learn from those who made it through.

Statistics show that small business is responsible for a huge chunk of our country’s economic health and they create many jobs and opportunities too. Statistics unfortunately also tell us that most small businesses don’t survive the first three years unless they find a way to persevere and keep their doors open. And in that lies the key: persistence and consistency.

But what if you realise six months down the line from starting your business that you are just not coping, and the easiest way out is to give up? What if your finances dictate that you are heading for disaster and there is no other way? These are really hard times; when your passion drives you to continue, but the stress of not knowing when your next payment will come in is overwhelming. It’s a reality that we don’t always have money in the bank and debt collectors come knocking on our doors but stay honest with yourself and know what your strengths and limitations are.

Chances are high that you are not an expert in all the areas of running a business and you need to know when to ask for help. Outsource the things you don’t have time for and remain focused on your core business and deliver the service and product that you promised your customers; that is what brings the income. If you get bogged down with trying to be the master at marketing or admin when you lack the particular skills, you will waste valuable time and effort that you could be spending on improving sales and making profits.

Having a passion for what you do is the battle half won. Remain consistent in delivering excellent service or product to obtain the results you need. Continue to build your brand; and that doesn’t mean just posting on social media now and then; it means being consistent in meetings, responding to inquiries, delivering of your service etc. You need to continuously add value to your clients so that they feel the pain when they can perhaps not afford your service. Successful entrepreneurs build relationships and they leverage off the connections they’ve made and the network that they create for themselves. People do business with people and it is important to build trust and give it time; if you have desperation written all over your face, people will see it and be put off by it. After a while of persevering, remaining consistent and pushing on, leads will start coming to you and not the other way around. Stay positive and stay visible.

Owning a business can be lonely too. Family and friends may be very supportive, but you may still lack a reliable sound-board to bounce business ideas off from time to time, and that is when it is very useful to have a strong network to support you. Build contacts with people with similar interests and thought patterns as you, even with your competition – they are the most useful sources of fresh ideas and new perspectives.

Ask yourself every day what motivates you to keep going. If this is a difficult question to answer, you may need to take a step back and re-evaluate your situation. You may have too many irons in the fire and you are losing focus. Remember to take a break from time to time and reward yourself for all accomplishments. You are your company’s biggest asset!

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