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When Things Get Tough This Year Here Are 8 Things To Lean On

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Entrepreneurs quickly learn that the path to business ownership is paved with hills and valleys. While an entrepreneurship career is ultimately rewarding and can lead to success, it is not without its own problems, stumbles, and hurdles. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, and, difficulty.”

While it’s impossible to know what this year will bring, it’s always a great idea to take a proactive approach. To help you combat challenges as they arise, you should plan out your year and build up an arsenal of business resources. We wanted to give you a head start, so we went ahead and created a list of eight great resources that can help you when the going gets tough this year:

  1. Build a support system – Entrepreneurship can be a lonely, isolated world at times. To help you feel less alone, build a group of supportive, resourceful people. Reach out to your local Chamber of Commerce to see if they have a business incubator or accelerator in your area. Programs such as these usually host small business training and foster a community atmosphere for business owners. Take the time to research what’s available in your area and if you still can’t find anything, start your own club or organization!
  1. Find an accountability partner – In order to be successful, you need to answer to someone other than yourself. An accountability partner is someone who can help you stay on track. Choosing an accountability partner can be hard; the person should be someone you trust who will be direct, open, and honest with you. Your accountability partner will help you stay focused, see projects through to completion, and help you target your sales and marketing efforts. In order to have an efficient process in place with your accountability partner, you should start by identifying daily or weekly realistic business goals. Develop a check-in schedule via the telephone once or twice a week depending on both of your schedules. Develop a checklist of what you will be held accountable for so that your accountability partner can go through the list when you check-in with them.
  2. Reach out to people who have expertise in areas where you can learn from – Don’t be the smartest person you know. This may seem like a funny concept, but you can’t succeed by yourself. This is especially true for solo entrepreneurs. You have to surround yourself with smart people. Get to know other business owners who are experienced and have wisdom that they can impart to you. This is especially important when you encounter tough or slow times throughout the year. A lot of times entrepreneurs think they just need to find successful business owners so that they can invest in their start up. Being in business is so much more than that. As an entrepreneur, you will continually have to reach out to people whom you can learn from. This may include marketing gurus, technical wizards, or financial experts.
  1. Offer to help others by providing value – As a business owner, finding value and creating your mission is crucial to your success. This is especially important if you face any sort of challenges throughout the year. You can overcome tough times and differentiate yourself from your competition by selling your value to potential and existing customers. Always present the best qualities of your business. Here are a few ways that you can accomplish value:
  • Provide valuable content
  • Establish a customer community
  • Share your story on Social Media
  • Anticipate and always address your customers’ needs
  1. Ask for help – Author and Founder of Virgin Group, Richard Branson, said in an com article,“You will need advice on how to improve your business, beginning on the first day, and throughout the rest of your career.” Don’t be afraid to ask for help. More times than not, other business owners are willing to help. Bartering has become a common trend among business owners, so why not join the pack? If you have found yourself at a challenging or lean point in your business and your marketing could use a boost, barter your services for some marketing help. But don’t wait for times to get tough to ask for help; there are other times when you should seek out help, such as:
  • During the startup phase of your business
  • When you are launching a new product or service
  • When you are looking for business partners or strategic partnerships
  • Expanding into a new industry
  1. Focus on top priorities – Stephen R. Covey, author of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, offers this advice on prioritizing, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.” Staying focused and disciplined is important for any business owner, but it’s especially important during slow or challenging times when it’s easy to get distracted. Everyday prioritize your work and develop good work habits. Focus on activities that will drive long-term growth and keep these three things at the forefront:
  • Your priorities should align with your bottom line
  • Manage your time frame for short-term and long-term projects
  • Rely on your instincts
  1. Conduct a business check-up – When things get tough during the year, go back and conduct some level of analysis. Analyze the year thus far month by month. See if there were any missed opportunities. Was there anything that you could have done differently? Go through your customer relationship management system (CRM) and your customer list and contacts. Check in with your customers.
  1. Stay positive – If you are faced with challenges, setbacks, or things get tough this year, always remember to stay positive. You can actually redefine your business with positivity. As we discussed earlier, this may mean surrounding yourself with positive, forward-thinking people. Be tenacious and stay on course by developing solutions to the challenges that you are facing. Continue to focus on what you are able to do, rather than on what you cannot do. As Helen Keller once wrote, “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.”

Where do you turn when the going gets tough? Do you have any tips for entrepreneurs? Share them with us in the comment section below or tweet us @KabbageInc.

 

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Kabbage Team

The Kabbage Team is here to not only fund the small business loans you need, but to help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at content@kabbage.com.

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