“The only real difference between one organization and another is the performance of its people.” – Peter F. Drucker
As a business owner, it’s easy to feel like so many things are out of your control. Economic trends, supply issues, and unforeseen events (like, oh, I don’t know, maybe a pandemic?) can all impact your business in ways you never anticipated. In last month’s article, I talked about some things that small business owners can’t control and how we can minimize their impact on our business. In this article, we’ll explore three key areas we can and should control: attitude, education, and preparation.
Your attitude towards your business and its challenges can significantly impact its success. I agree that it is not the easiest thing to do, especially with the stresses of everyday life. However, maintaining a positive attitude, even in the face of adversity, can help you stay motivated and focused on finding solutions to problems. On the other hand, a negative attitude will lead to a defeatist mindset. Allowing yourself to feel like a victim of circumstance will cause you to miss opportunities and strategies that could improve your business.
One way to cultivate a positive attitude is to focus on your business’s strengths rather than weaknesses. Are you a single owner-operator struggling to stand out from the crowd? Rather than worrying about the advantages the bigger guys might have, sell the fact that you can give your customers a personal service experience that the big guys can’t. Focus on the fact that when they call, the boss will answer the phone, how it will be the same person in their home each time, and how you care about them personally. Instead of dwelling on the challenges you face, look for the opportunities that exist within those challenges. Most importantly, take time to celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem, and use those wins as fuel to keep pushing forward.
Continued education is another area that business owners can control. By staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends and best practices, you can position yourself as a leader in your field and stay ahead of the competition. Joining organizations like the IWCA, window-cleaning Facebook groups, and going to industry conventions are great ways to keep up with what you need to know.
Additionally, investing in your own education can help you identify areas where you can improve your business operations and increase efficiency. That doesn’t necessarily mean getting a degree or taking college courses. It can include subscribing to a magazine like AWC and learning from the articles written here. It can involve watching YouTube videos for technical assistance or watching reviews on new equipment. There are online courses available for IWCA members. Conventions have free courses that you can take to address areas of weakness in your business. Whatever you decide to do, just set aside time each week to focus on your business education. It will pay off in spades.
Finally, preparation is another area that business owners can control. While you can’t always predict the future, you can take steps to mitigate risk and prepare for unexpected events. This might include building up an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses, developing a contingency plan for major disruptions, or investing in insurance coverage to protect your business in case of liability claims. If you are starting a window cleaning business for the first time, you might consider keeping a part-time job that allows you to have some steady income while you adjust to the “ups and downs” of business ownership.
Preparation can also involve taking a proactive approach to your business operations. Conduct regular audits of your finances and operations to identify areas where you can improve efficiency or reduce costs. Work on putting systems in place that can automate repetitive tasks. Hiring people who can do something much better and faster than you is worth the expense. Continuously review and update your business plan to ensure you’re on track to meet your goals.
While there are many things that business owners can’t control, there are also several areas where they can make a significant impact. By focusing on their attitude, education, and preparation, you can position yourself for success and navigate challenges more efficiently. Remember, success is not about controlling everything – it’s about taking control of the things you can control and putting yourself in the best possible position to succeed. You got this.