small businesses succeed
I crazy? What made me think I could start my own business?"
In seven days I heard this question from seven different people.
Each had come to me seeking coaching help for their business.
"Tell me the truth, Carolyn," they all asked, "do
I have a good idea?" Behind their words I could hear them begging
for an answer to: "Will I succeed?"
Sadly, I don't have a crystal ball. But what I can say is that
we must all go through this "am I crazy?" stage. It's
a right of passage that separates the dreamers from the creators,
the hobbyists from the entrepreneurs and the thriving artists from
the frustrated wannabes.
Although statistics claim that 87 percent of all new businesses
fail within the first three years, I find that if people properly
navigate this stage they soon join the 13 percent that succeed.
Recently, I reviewed all my clients over the last seven years and
found that when certain things occur the success rate jumps to 72
Have a deep personal passion that fuels your actions.
Does your core mission align with your personal values and desires?
When one business owner started making knitwear for dogs people
looked at her like she was nuts. Bank after bank turned her down
for funding. She sold her car, mortgaged her house and did whatever
it took to achieve her dream of being a premier international company
selling knitwear for pets and their human companions. Today, less
than three years later, Cosmic Knits has a successful partnership
with an investor and is sold worldwide, including Europe, Asia,
Canada and the U.S.
Put your vision first in your life.
This may seem narcissistic but, to truly be successful, your business
must take center stage for a while. In general I find that it takes
between nine months and three years of full attention. The question
I ask my clients, especially women, is: Are you ready to have your
business take the front seat of your life? And, if you have a family,
the center of your family's life? If not, you might want to get
Ask for help. Lots of help.
What I've found with successful businesses is that the owners have
always asked for help. Not only do they believe in getting help,
they love getting help. What I hear so often from people
is "... but I should be able to do it on my own." You
can't. And if you try, you'll probably fail.
Know that your service or product changes lives.
And don't be afraid to say so. One designer created a line of jewelry
that illuminates the essence of the person wearing it. She talks
about its ability to empower your life and support you to live your
dreams. People will pass up equally fabulous designs to have a piece
of Scarlet Chamberlin's jewelry.
Serve your client community.
This is a critical phase. The most successful businesses have moved
from the initial narcissistic phase of focusing their life around
their own dream to using their dream to enrich the lives of others.
In fact, studies have shown that when people have the choice of
two comparable products they will choose the product that aligns
with a social cause. As you consider your customer, how does your
business structure, promotional materials and outreach focus on
supporting your clients and a community need?
So, if you still wonder if you're crazy, this is my question to
you: Are you ready to put your business first, go public with your
passion and build a community around your business? Without a doubt,
it takes determination, courage and a belief in your importance.
But, as Maya Angelou says, a single fantasy can indeed change a
million realities. What's yours?