What you get out of your business in the form of personal satisfaction, financial gain, stability and enjoyment will be the sum of what you put into your business. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, in all likelihood it’s safe to assume that it will be reflected in the success of your business…or subsequent lack of success.
A good friend once told me that if you work full-time, meaning 40 hours per week, which is equivalent to 2,080 hours per year, that is a total of one-third of your life. Surely, we know that a 40-hour work week for a business owner is merely a pipe dream and you are probably spending half or more of your life at your business.
To put it in perspective, if you are not happy and enjoying what you are doing, that is a very large chunk of your life to be unhappy with. Not to mention the fact that if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, chances are you won’t succeed.
Perhaps you have heard me say before that nobody can talk about and promote your business the way you can. After all, it isn’t their passion…it’s yours.
To begin with, take what you do seriously. You cannot expect to be effective and successful in business unless you truly believe in your business and in the goods and services that you sell.
One step you can take toward taking what you do seriously is to become a shameless self-promoter. One of the greatest myths about personal or business success is that eventually your business, personal abilities, products or services will be discovered and be embraced by the masses that will beat a path to your door to buy what you are selling. But how can this happen if no one knows who you are, what you sell and why they should be buying?
I just recently had this conversation with my husband, who is also in the process of starting his own business. He is a gunsmith by trade as well as new business venture, and I found myself reminding him that nobody is going to know who he is or the services he offers when his fliers, brochures and business cards are sitting on the kitchen counter untouched and he is talking to me about his business…I already know who he is and what he does! While carefully trying not to sound like the “nagging wife,” choosing my words carefully and lovingly, and finding that fine line between wife and business development specialist, I explained to him that he needs to get his information out to the places his target market frequents the most, those being the sporting goods stores, hardware stores, grocery stores and even the local tattoo shop!
Where is it that your target market is the most visible to reach out to? Wherever that is…that’s where you need to make your presence known.
Self-promotion is one of the most beneficial, yet most underutilized, marketing tools that the majority of home business owners have at their immediate disposal. And in the process of self-promotion, remember to project a positive business image. Just like a first date, a job interview or greeting a customer on the phone, you have only a passing moment to make a positive and memorable impression on people with whom you intend to do business. Make it a good one!
A former business owner herself and graduate of the Urban Hope Entrepreneur program out of Green Bay, Michelle Madl- Soehren is currently the business development coordinator for Nicolet Area Technical College, where she assists and coaches new and existing entrepreneurs and small business owners with business plan development, provides professional development workshops throughout the area and coordinates and teaches Nicolet College’s eSeed Entrepreneur Program. She holds a baccalaureate degree from Mount Mary College in behavioral science and a master’s in management and organizational behavior from Silver Lake College. Madl-Soehren is also the current president of Northwoods Women in Business and past president of the Northwoods Entrepreneurs Club, and sits on the state advisory board for the Small Business Development Centers. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (715) 365-4492.