You Can’t Build a Reputation on What You’re Going to Do

Keeping up with the day-to-day problems and tasks of running a small business can be exhausting, even when everything is going well.  Add in a few problems, some family obligations, a health limitation or two, and things can feel overwhelming.

It can be too easy to just think of putting one foot in front of the other, which can keep you from seeing the “big picture”. For instance, there may be a few changes that you could afford to make now, that would save you lots of time and money in the future. Only  you just can’t slow down long enough to make the changes you need.

Here are a few tips to help you budget your time and money which can pay big dividends in the future:

1.       Don’t be a Lone Ranger –  Too many small business people tough it out and go it alone, when it really isn’t necessary.   “Networking” is big these days, but don’t forget that networking isn’t only about getting new clients or patients!  Network for support as well.  Are you good at setting up an in-office system for paying bills but hate online marketing?  Find another business owner and set aside a few hours to help each other out.

2.       Get your professionals lined up in advance – Don’t wait until you have an emergency to have contact information for professionals such as a business attorney, bookkeeper, CPA or I.T  to help you out.  If you have some of these professionals among your contacts or in your networking groups, talk with them about what services they provide for small businesses like yours, and keep their contact information in a safe, accessible place that you will be able to remember when you need it.   Some attorneys  offer a short consult for a small fee that business clients can schedule in order to get to know the attorney and get advice about day-to-day operations and future dreams and plans.

3.       Don’t keep reinventing the wheel –  If you don’t have time to make a “procedure manual” for your business, at least keep a digital or paper file that you add to.   This will prevent two things from happening; 1) having to dig through old emails and rack your brain to figure out when you saw this situation before and how you solved it and 2)  this gives your employees a place to go  for guidance, instead of coming to you each time the same situation occurs.

Henry Ford said, “You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do”.  He was correct.  But all too often we, as small business owners, expect too much of ourselves.  The key is to find a way to take small steps and make steady progress, rather than become overwhelmed and make no progress. 

So take a look at those items on your “to do” list that have been getting pushed back for the last 18 months. What can you do to break them into small parts?

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