Make business work for you with one simple change
Okay, so the heading and subtitle are a bit “clickbaity” and lifted directly from the classic book “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie, but now that I have your attention, exactly what does it take to succeed in business? Unfortunately, there is no “easy” formula or answer, as there are many ways to grow. However, one thing is essential when it comes to success, not just in business but in life in general. Mindset.
When it comes to doing business, mindset is everything. Of course, we all want to succeed, but what does it take? Talent? Effort? Intelligence? Clever strategies? Intimate knowledge of the market? Genius solutions that would make everybody want to buy from you? While all of these are valid and can contribute to the success of your business, the most fundamental thing you’ll need is mindset.
“If you have a different mindset, you will have a different outcome.” – Jack Ma, Entrepreneur.
It’s a simplistic saying, but like many simple sayings, they convey the simple truth. To succeed in business, you must think like a successful business owner. You can’t think like a small business owner.
What is a small business mentality?
You might be wondering how does one think like a small business owner? Being a small business means a limited budget and time (because most startups are just working in their garage / spare room while juggling a full-time job or other responsibilities) and having to do everything yourself. You are the jack of all trades – the secretary, the VA, the graphics designer, the web designer, the content creator, and the social media manager.
Starting a small business is tough; there are many late nights, many balls to juggle and much money spent on establishing the business. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart, but don’t make it harder for yourself by doing everything to save money.
And yes, outsourcing these is not cheap; understandably, when starting, you won’t have the budget to pay for all these services.
But to be seen as professional and trustworthy in the business world, you have to match your professionalism with what you put out there. If social media is not your strong suit, outsource it. If writing is not your strong suit, outsource it. If websites aren’t your strong suit, outsource them. Nothing screams unprofessional more than a DIY effort. Nothing will cheapen your brand and repel potential customers faster than DIY marketing materials. As a small business, you often only have one chance of making a good impression.
But what about the cost of scaling up?
“But I’m a small business; how can I afford a professional website, writer, or graphics designer?” You might ask.
Start small. Joining a networking group (for example, a small business networking group) helps as many members of these groups are just like you – they are a small business and more likely just starting. They are looking for clients, and you are looking for a service provider. Sometimes they may even give a discount if you refer clients to them, for example, if you introduce another small business owner friend who also needs their expertise. In that way, you also kill two birds with one stone – you find a professional service provider, and you may also find a potential client at the same time.
Some small biz owners also trade services. For example, you provide her with your graphics design services while she provides you with her social media management expertise as payment.
What about outsourcing websites?
Some outsourcing websites out there help you find service providers for a fraction of the cost, such as Fiverr and Upwork. A word of caution on freelancing sites: you can find professionals on these platforms, but remember that price does not always equal quality. In some cases, you get what you pay for. Carefully vet candidates and look at their portfolios and how well they stick to your briefs to determine if they’re the right freelancer for you.
Focusing on what you can do best and outsourcing the rest is the key to scaling a business. Read more about the 80/20 rule here.
Change your mindset, transform your business
The bottom line (pun intended) is that you can transform your business when you change your mindset. It can be tempting to try to do everything at once; in the beginning, that is what you may have to do. But eventually, you have to think like a big business to grow your business:
1. Invest in professional branding and marketing materials
2. Increase your network and see if you can trade services with them to benefit both your businesses
3. Outsource what you can’t do well, and concentrate on doing what you do best