Ladies, Let’s Talk Business

Your Business!

Are you really invested in yours?

I was talking to another entrepreneur about the number of women entrepreneurs who have joined social media groups, forums or other websites. We were noticing that the same questions are asked in each group. Questions like:

· What software should I use to do [fill in with any number of business related tasks]?

· How do I design my logo?

· What should I name my company?

· How do I promote my business?

· How do I do X for my client?

The list of questions can go on.

Now, groups and forums are good for support and encouragement. These should absolutely be utilized to keep you moving forward in your business.

Are you expecting FREE ideas, work, direction, coaching, or consulting when you ask these questions?

Or are you willing to PAY for these ideas, work, directions, coaching and consulting time?

Owning a Business and Expectations

Any Google search on starting or operating a business will result in a business class or coach making statements about how they can teach you to earn the same amount of money as them — if you pay for their class.

Somewhere along the line, while building their business, entrepreneurs conclude they can create a viable, growing business and yet not have to invest money into the development and marketing of that business.

One business owners experience may not be another’s. When they hear how successful another business owner is, they need to investigate:

1. What is the business owner’s idea and definition of success? Is it the amount of money they made in a month, or a year? Or is it the number of people on their email list?

2. How long did it take for someone to reach their definition of success? For instance, it may be relatively easy to reach a level of success if your target audience are all your best friends and they support you by buying your product.

3. Was that business owner already in the same industry they are working in now? Were they a marketing manager for a large firm, striking out on their own? Were they a project manager for someone else, before offering their services to others? If you are transitioning to another industry or needing to learn new skills, it will take you longer to reach your definition of success.

4. Did the business owner already have a cash reserve — whether savings or a spouse with a really steady and successful job — that helped them to cover their expenses and invest in their business?

Think about the success stories you have heard and evaluate your expectations for your own business.

Recognize Your Needs and Costs

After evaluating your expectations, you need to look at your business and identify what you need. These are your weaknesses. Maybe you don’t know how to do graphic design or develop a website. Those are needs. You can choose to either 1) learn it for yourself, or 2) find someone else to do.

Here’s the thing about both choices: you will have to sacrifice something — Time or Money.

If you choose to learn it yourself, that will take time. And then it will take more time to maintain what you’ve built and fix anything that breaks.

If you choose to find someone else to do, that will take money. You cannot expect other business owners to give you advice, consult on your project, create a marketing strategy or design your branding for free.

You don’t necessarily need to have $10,000, $3000, or even $1000, but you should understand that businesses will always need some money to start.

Acknowledge Where You Received Support

This is not to say that others won’t donate their time, energy and knowledge to you and your business. But then shouldn’t you reciprocate by asking what can you do for them?

Maybe it’s a promotional post, or a link in a blog to their site. Acknowledge their support.

I do think that there is an extreme lack of cooperation among entrepreneurs, either fearing the competition or lack of appreciation, that stops them from acknowledging where help was received.

A business associate I know has provided free services to some entrepreneurs just starting out. While she was generous with her advice, time and energy, only one person actually acknowledged her with a recommendation.

Not only did her generosity not result in any acknowledgement, but none of those she helped returned for additional services, knowing they would be charged.

When a business owner takes those free services and then moves on to the next asking for more free services, do they really think that is the best way for a business to operate?

Why are small businesses so threatened by other small businesses? Why are they so afraid to recommend each other?

We need to seriously consider these questions.

This is not a way to grow your business! Don’t ask for or take free information from other business owners if you aren’t going to give anything back. There is room enough for all.