Four things I have learnt in four years of business

Happy Birthday Jagged Crow Creative! Four years ago, from my laptop perched on a plastic fold-up table in my shed, I started my web design business. Someone had contacted me and asked me if I could help.

Having built a number of websites for friends, family and community groups and spent some time dabbling around with WordPress and coding since 2010 and several decades experience (more decades than I care to admit!) in business working with technical customer-focused solutions, I thought to myself “Why not?” And so, it began – this crazy, ever-evolving, constantly-learning journey called small business ownership!

If you are a small business owner yourself you can probably relate to some or all of the fear that comes upon you, when you get your first customer. Can I really do this? What if I make a mistake, can I recover? How much should I charge? How much will they really pay? Will they even like what I can do?

It’s always good to start small. And build. If you have the time and support around you.

If you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for a while, I share here four tips for starting and staying in business and loving the journey along the way.

1. Be committed from the start

No matter what you decide to do, be committed to it. Be confident in your decision. Be confident in your skills and if you’re not confident, learn some more skills. There are plenty of online resources and people around that can support you in your business journey. Use them. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help or reach out to connect with people.

In everything you do, be committed. People don’t want to do business with someone who may or may not be around in 6 months’ time. Make sure you let people know that you are in it for the long term.

Customers, clients and prospects are busy, just like you are. They probably don’t want to spend time building relationships with product or service providers who aren’t going to be around for the foreseeable future. 

So develop your confidence in your products or services, back yourself. It goes a long way to building client confidence too. And be committed not only to your own business’ outcomes, but be committed to delivering great outcomes for your clients too.

2. Be Enthusiastic

Being enthusiastic about your business is contagious. If you are excited about the results you are helping your clients to achieve, or the products that are solving real-life problems for people, your excitement will catch on. 

As a small business you are competing for people’s attention in a very noisy, busy market place. Showing enthusiasm and passion for your business and what you deliver will get you noticed. Add your genuine care for your customers and passion for outstanding service delivery and people will remember you.

3. Be Kind

In business you may well meet people from all walks of life, at all stages of life, and experiencing all the yin and yang of life at any point. Showing kindness towards people, whether they are your target audience or not is not only a great way to be a decent human being, but it brings a humanity to your business which people will remember. 

Business isn’t all dollars and transactions. It’s also about relationships. Building strong relationships built on kindness and consideration will deliver a base of long-term loyal customers who keep coming back for more. 

You may not see an immediate ROI on your kindness or in going the extra mile for prospects and clients but I am a great believer in ‘what goes around comes around’. Building kindness into your business enables others to treat you kindly too. And let’s face it, we can all do with a little more kindness in our lives.

4. Be Mindful

This is a bit of a two-sided tip. As a small business owner, developing the ability to reflect objectively on your own successes and failures can help you transform your business from average to successful. 

Being mindful of how you present yourself and your business, can also help you tune into what your prospects and clients are looking for from your business.

Reflecting on how you interact with others, assessing your personal and business impact as well as understanding where your limiting beliefs are can assist you to become the person you need to be, to run the business you want to run.

Being mindful of your clients and prospects can include listening to hear their pain points, seeking to understand their dreams and what they are struggling with. It can also help you to hone your products and services to better meet their needs.

When I started my business, four years ago, I thought long and hard about the services I would provide, the business model I would use, the technology I would use to deliver my services. 

One of the things I couldn’t have anticipated was the friendships that have developed because of my business and the support that would develop along the way. Small business might be a bouncy, winding journey, but as I said to my last corporate boss (it gave me a lot of joy to tell him this) “I love being self-employed, I have an amazing group of clients that I love working with and I love the journey of being a small business owner”. 

The sleepless nights, cash flow challenges and exchange rate fluctuations that most small business owners experience at one time or another, pale into insignificance alongside the things I have been able to help my clients achieve and what I have gained personally along the way. 

Happy Birthday Jagged Crow Creative!

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As part of my birthday celebrations I am offering start-up businesses a ‘one-page website’ at a limited price of $999 + GST. Offer ends 31 October 2021. Get in touch for more details. Book a 30 minute phone hook-up and let’s get started. Conditions apply.


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