There’s a lot of information available about how to be successful at a small business. The problem is, most of this information is aimed at extroverts who’re in a big hurry to make as much money as possible, and doesn’t contribute something great to the world.
If that sounds as terrible to you as it does to me, here are 3 pearls of wisdom from the real-life trenches for how to build business as unusual.
1. Follow the path less taken.
As in fashion, being fully self-expressed is going to mean you’re in a category of one. If you find yourself in an ‘in crowd,’ whether that be at mainstream events, or among a gaggle of agreeable others, you’re likely in the thick of a fad or trend.
Legwarmers and Farrah Fawcett hair trends may feel fun to be part of in the short term, but you know that’s not going to make you proud 10 years later. Being an original takes work and one of the easiest measures is if you’re a little lonely on your path. This goes for business as well as your wardrobe or personal style.
Congratulations. If you’re feeling lonely sometimes, it’s just because you’ve chosen, every step of the way, to follow the path less taken and leave the Kool-Aid behind. Keep going.
2. Allow yourself the luxury of time.
One of the biggest failures in small business is the rush-job. Hurrying, adrenalizing, pushing….not only leads to poor results, but usually poorer health in the long run. Hurrying is no longer the badge of the well-coached, folks.
Great coaching helps you pick the right process, path or step, be more accurate and precise about your moves, and gives you peace along the way. Don’t expect outrageous success rapidly – it’s unlikely to happen with a newer income stream or idea. Big paydays still happen, but only when you’ve paid your dues.
Keep your expenses low – your bank account will thank you. Allow yourself breathing room to test and fail a lot. You want to win the long game, why? Because what your business offers the world is so worth being patient. Make your plans accordingly.
3. Cultivate your inner scientist.
If you think you’re here to build a business that follows another person’s model, may I invite you to try painting by number and faking a Mona Lisa in your mind? Give it time. No matter how many of these replicas you attempt, you’ll finally find out. You have no choice. You must find your one-of-a-kind painting to do
because you’re not Leonardo da Vinci.
What is your one-of-a-kind business that only you can do? How do you start? Begin by proving the worth of your work by testing with any clients who’ll let you. Do the best job you possibly can so you can start collecting proof (something you can show) of what only you can do.
When you’re building something one-of-a-kind, you’re on uncharted ground, so you’ll need to measure as you go, and course correct along the way. Soon, you’ll have lots of data – an ecosystem of data that will guide you to what you seek.
Especially for independent thinkers, sensitive souls, and people on the leading edge, the above 3 things are doorways into new paradigm success as a small business. None of them requires you to rush, pressure you to maximize profits immediately, and each step allows you to contribute as much value as is humanly possible.
The final word…
Anyone who tries to tell you they know a color-by-number method to sustainable business success and tries to teach you this en masse, is candidly, deluded, or worse, in my opinion, being less than truthful. In the final analysis, experimentation is the only holy ground, and successful entrepreneurs – the ones that last decades in the market – are all scientists at heart.