Some days, owning a small business feels like a struggle. Some days you simply feel alone.
In your quest to help others and to make the world a better place, I assure you that the support you need already exists. It’s all around you. Sometimes you need to look for it, and sometimes you just need to ask for help.
Here are a few key steps to help you find the support you need.
First, define your problem.
Being able to pinpoint your problem makes it easier to determine what type of support you actually need. Here are a few examples:
- You need to attract more clients.
- You have trouble describing what you do in a way that will get you clients or referrals.
- You have plenty of clients, but don’t know where all your money is going (because you never seem to have any)?
- You have great client sessions, but many customers don’t return more than once or twice.
- Or, you… [insert your problem here].
Second, plug into support.
Support exists all around you. Sometimes you need to look for it, and sometimes you just need to ask for help. Consider these resources:
Join a local, state, national, international or other association specific to your field of work. These organizations will connect you with other practitioners and mentors in your field, as well as provide best practices, valuable information, education, legislative advocacy and marketing resources.
Consider volunteering on a committee or the association’s Board. Your contribution makes a difference at whatever level of participation you choose to engage.
MeetUp groups exist for just about every interest you can think of. In my MeetUp group, Alternative Health Business Network, members learn business and marketing skills that can be put to use in their practice right away.
They ask questions, receive and give support, and celebrate successes together, as they connect with other practitioners who share the same business challenges. Explore MeetUp and find the groups that work for you.
Paid or non-paid networking groups can be a valuable source of referrals and mutual support. Personally, I don’t participate in any paid weekly networking groups. I’ve subbed at a few weekly uber-structured membership groups, and the referrals felt forced, not authentic. I give referrals because I believe in someone’s work and think it has value, not because I’m required to produce a specific number of referrals weekly.
That said, some of the larger membership-based groups (where there is not a strict attendance requirement) can be a great resource to plug into to develop valuable business relationships that lead to referrals or collaborative partnerships.
Also, there are plenty of free or low-cost networking groups (with no membership requirement) that can connect you with others in your field or complementary businesses who serve the same customer base that you do. Regardless of which type of group you choose, remember that networking is about building relationships, because people will refer to or do business with people they know, like and trust.
A mastermind group is a smaller group of business folks (10 or less) that meets monthly to brainstorm ideas, solve problems for one another, and provide support and encouragement as you grow your business.
There are many different types of these groups you can connect with. My mastermind group is a Co-Creation Circle led by Abundant Business Coaching. The other women entrepreneurs I connect with monthly are an invaluable source of love, encouragement and authentic support that lights the way to success as I continue to build my business.
There are so many different types of business coaches out there, it’s hard to know where to start. Here’s my advice: do some research before you hand over your hard-earned $. Go back to our first point here. What is it that you need help or support with?
When you find or hear about a business coach that sounds interesting, read their website. Does what they offer speak to you? If so, sign up for their email list or join their Facebook group (if they have one). Do this for more than one coach so you can evaluate your options and determine the best fit.
Then, read each coach’s email newsletter and engage with them and others in their FB group. Do you like how this coach leads and how they communicate? Do they explain the things you need to know in a way that makes sense? Does their style and approach resonate with you?
If so, schedule an introductory consultation with that person. If the conversation goes great, invest in their online program or individual coaching sessions. If not, move on and evaluate another coach.
There is no shortage of online content. Some content is free, some is paid, but there is plenty out there to choose from if you’re motivated to teach yourself what you don’t know.
First, figure out in which area(s) you fall short. Then find blogs or websites that address those topics and sign up for their email list. Read their emails, grow your knowledge base, and put their tips into action in your business. Figure out what works for you, then fine-tune your approach. Rinse. Repeat.
If reading is not your thing, or you simply don’t have the time, there are many other ways to learn:
- participate in an online summit
- watch YouTube videos
- listen to a podcast series
Content is everywhere now, in many forms. And the majority of it is recorded content, so you can view or review it later on your time schedule, at your convenience. Key: once you listen and absorb the content, it’s key to implement what you learn to create better results for your business. Just listening to it isn’t enough.
Third, Ask for Help
If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask. Some of us – especially those in helping professions – will help everyone else but ourselves. It’s ok to recognize you need help and ask for it.
Many small business owners try to do everything themselves, but you can’t be an expert at everything. There are some things you need help with, and support is one of them.
Asking for help does not mean you’ve failed. It means you are being honest with yourself. Once you identify the area where you need help, it’s easy to find many resources that can fill that need or solve your problem.
Lastly, Prioritize Self-Care
Make time and space for self-care, whatever that looks like for you. For me it means balance – stepping away from my desk, taking a break, moving my body, spending time in nature and listening to my body’s needs.
The other day at 11:30am I was on the computer and was so tired I could barely focus. So you know what I did? I extracted myself from my desk and took a 30 minute nap. Usually I’d just try to push through the lull (unsuccessfully).
But on that nap day I awoke refreshed and was able to return to my work with new energy and perspective. It was hard to break away, but I did it and it paid off in my increased productivity for following few hours.
What if you’re in an office? Go outside for a 20 minute walk. Change your environment and your mindset.
Allowing your self a few precious minutes to rest and reset will make a huge difference in how you approach your work or client when you return to your space.
Better yet, give yourself a day off to play, be creative or to spend time not “doing.” What you gain will surprise you and make you more whole.
And if you’ve made it this far, here’s the recap:
If you want to stop struggling, you need to accept the fact that you can’t do everything yourself. To feel more balanced and supported in your business, follow these 4 steps:
• Define your problem.
Understand what you need help with, and seek / ask for it.
• Plug in to support.
Online or offline, there are a myriad of resources available to you. Don’t be afraid to research and explore to find the support that suits your needs and communication style.
• Ask for help.
Just do it. If it doesn’t make sense now, it will later.
• Prioritize self-care.
You can’t give from an empty vessel. Be kind to yourself. Listen to the needs of your mind, body and spirit and allow yourself the time to replenish. You (and your clients) will notice the difference, and they’ll thank you.
Images sourced from:
www.deakin.edu.au, www.nukestone.com, www.meetup.com, www.ibpf.org,
www.freeiconspng.com, www.verindra.com, www.motherhoodunadomed.com