10 tips for small businesses Embody Magazine by Helen Froggett
Embody Magazine (Complementary Therapists’ Magazine)
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Text from a feature written by Helen Froggett, on behalf of The Accountancy Practice, Royston, Herts
Setting up and running your own business is a time of great excitement and great expectations. As we start a new decade, it’s as good a time as any to review these ten key questions to keep yourself on track
1.Why did you start your business? Reminding yourself of your key motivations can be a sobering moment. You need an internal compass for decision making, to know what to allow, reject and invite into your life. Was it a desire to ‘be your own person’, gain a better work life balance or a better financial position? Sometimes the reality can be far from the dream.
Which can be a big cause of underlying stress and anxiety. Reflecting on why you started your business can help you refocus and re prioritise some of your workload.
2.On a scale of 1-10 where are you now in terms of your vision? If you picked 6 for example, consider what 7 would look like, or 8. And think about what you’d need to do to get there. Small steps are better than grand plans, you can start NOW. You will feel better. Even if the ‘small step’ is to google the idea/solution to a problem. Starting is the key element. And now you’re moving in the right direction which is motivating.
3.How do you manage your daily tasks? List creation comes in and out of fashion but if you’re feeling overwhelmed with what you’ve got to do, both in your business and your personal life, ‘downloading’ your tasks on a piece of paper can be quite cathartic. Then you can see them and think about which are your priorities, based on the answers from #1 above. You may even find that something you’d ‘forgotten’ about pops into your head when you’ve done the ‘braindump’.
4.Are you busy doing what you want, or what everyone else wants you to do? Do you have any time for you? ‘Finding the ME in TIME’ can be tricky when you’re self employed. So we need an iron will and ability to gently turn down the ‘opportunities’ which people present to you, if they are not helping you on your path. Discovering the beauty and power of saying ‘No’ is liberating. A guide would be,do you feel like you want to say no, but feel bad about it, or guilty in some way?
- Ask questions – it’s not rude, it’s important.
- What’s the deadline?
- What’s the outcome they’re after?
- Who else is involved? Could you do part of the task?
- Can you offer some free advice to get the project moving?
‘No’ doesn’t need to upset the person asking, thank them for thinking of you, explain you’re running at max capacity at the moment and you can’t take anything else on for fear of letting people down. They’ll get the message. Self Care is VERY important. You’re providing it for everyone else all day long. The time you have for YOU is essential for your well being. If you put your needs last, that’s where they’ll be on everyone else’s list!
5.Where is your income coming from? Which treatments are the most profitable for your business? Which do you feel most comfortable delivering? A bit of a focus to determine your ‘ideal customer profile’, their age, location, attitudes, needs, belief systems will be a good investment of your time.
6.Have you got enough clients? – How did you come across your regular clients? think about how you can help them find you. Being proactive with your marketing rather than reactive can help you attract the customers who will respect and value your skills. Consider incentivising referrals from existing clients (vouchers/money off treatments) and contacting businesses in the area who might have a spare office or boardroom you could operate from once a week/month.
7.Be brave. Our life is a series of NOWs. Be the bold self you know you can be, more often. Don’t let indecision or lack of confidence hold you back. Worrying about the past or being stressed about the future are time wasting and undermining. Now is the first moment of the rest of your life! Remember the times you’ve been brave and it’s worked out. Harness that feeling. What’s the worst that can happen? Bruised ego perhaps, but other people love a bit of ‘failure’ so you will seem more human! Remind yourself that ‘Thosewho mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind’.
8.Vague or non-existent business plan? Brain storm and dream. Write it down. Then break your desired turnover into quarters, months or weeks. Put it out there. Have a vision and enjoy the feeling of knowing you’re getting somewhere, one baby step at a time.
9.Where do you find your joy? Consider what you want to do outside of work too, whether it’s regular ‘sacrosanct’ time with your children, friends or ‘other half’, some self development or ‘me time’. Our work life balance and mental health needs nurturing, put yourself first for once! Put yourself on your list.
10.Make time for yourself. Consider meditation or mindfulness and find ways to incorporate it into your life. Even five minutes a day can have a massive restorative impact. Just sit without the usual distractions – looking at a candle can be soothing. Daydreaming if you will. Wasting time…all things we’re discouraged from in the need to be ‘productive’ every second of every day. Well it’s time to ditch that. Notice what you’re doing, be present, and give yourself notice to do nothing. Otherwise your days will go past in a daze which you could argue is the real waste!
How did you get on? Are these already second nature to you? Want to discuss any of them? Would love to hear from you, please get in touch Helen@theaccountancypractice.com
About the Author: Helen Froggett is a passionate entrepreneur, and has been at the sharp end since 1990. In 1991 she was crowned Hertfordshire Businesswoman of the Year (for Thomson Training, which she still runs) in 1992 she was an ‘Outstanding Young Person of the Year’ from the British Junior Chamber for pioneering her work with NVQ’s and Investors in People. She has been a photographer, sold her art in galleries and is a champion of the emerging music scene for Folkstock Records, gaining national radio, press and TV for her artists. She has practiced Reiki, Crystal healing and trained in Bach Flower Remedies, Life Coaching and Systemic Psychotherapy all of which keep her grounded. She has recently joined The Accountancy Practice, focussing on business development and tailored coaching for clients.
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