I’ve been an entrepreneur for a long time, 30 years to be exact. Back in the dark ages. Back when there were few if any support groups, networking communities, readily available podcasts, webinars and online learning all of which could be accessed from a device that is nestled in the palm of your hand.
We had the phone (cold calling anyone), snail mail, and yep, the good old fax machine which by the way I utilized very effectively as an integral component in my prospecting endeavors.
So I’ve been at this for a long long time, and most of the time, I really love the adrenaline rush I get from doing my work and doing it well.
But sometimes it can really suck.
It’s always helped me if I am aware of where the “suckiness” lies, where I can get tripped up and lose momentum, where the good, the bad and the ugly that comes with the entrepreneurial territory turns to mostly ugly.
Perhaps reading about these pitfalls can help you, if not avoid them totally, but at least be more mindful that they are there just waiting for you to stumble:
Negative Cash Flow
No matter how much you try to even out the naturally occurring peaks and valleys of business you will invariably fall victim to a slow week, month or even longer when your business slows down. You’ve actively prospected, followed up, networked and still, nothing is coming through the pipeline. This happens to everyone at one time or another and here’s how to best get through this time:
1. Have a cash reserve to help cushion the fall and support you until work starts to flow once again.
2. Double up on your biz dev activities recognizing that increased activity will almost always lead to increased results.
3. Ask for leads and referrals. This is no time to be coy or play hard to get.
Total and Complete Exhaustion
Doing it all can get old very quickly and yet that is exactly how most of us start out. Determine what you like to and what you are really good at and when you have the financial wherewithal consider bringing in resources or outsourcing parts of your business that someone else can do for you as, and maybe even more effectively than you can.
Running Out of Good Ideas
It’s difficult to go it alone and I don’t mean the sheer volume of the work itself but also having to come up with all of the innovative ideas on your own. Ideas on new products and services, how to be competitive and win more clients, run the business more efficiently, human resources and operations and all of the mission critical components that comprise a successful business. This is the point in time when you should or must consider joining a peer advisory group or creating one on your own. An informal Board of Advisors can also help you manage and grow your company and avoid some of the upheavals you might experience by going it alone.
And when you feel overwhelmed, when running a small business seems to be just about the stupidest thing you could do, think of this quote:
It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.