Small business owners this is a hard truth to admit, but in order to grow we have to be uncomfortable. So I will do it, I will incur the wrath of my small business brethren and ask ‘what are we scared of?’ I admit to being in a much different environment, federal contracting is a whole different beast but the fundamental principles are the same. Why are we scared to succeed?
Partner, partner and partner some more
There’s an unwritten rule, unofficially confirmed by a large contractor colleague that big contractors will not hire companies with 5-6 employees. A small company is 100 employees to them; to us a small business ranges from just us to 100 employees. What we haven’t learned is how to create partnerships with larger companies instead of other solopreneurs. Once we learn this size, becomes a problem we no longer have.
Build a pipeline
I hear this all of the time, but I don’t think as small businesses we really understand what it means. A pipeline means creating a way to funnel future sales. In contracting my pipeline is 18-24 months at least and that means sometimes creating the opportunities where the opportunities don’t exist. Small businesses have the tendency to shy away from making things happen. They think if it isn’t a sure thing I can’t afford to go after it. But isn’t this why you struck out on your own? Wasn’t this the dream you had? Why aren’t we going after it?
Dream a little bigger
The hard truth is that there is no such thing in business as an overnight success. We entrepreneurs know that sometimes overnight success can take 10 years, but is that enough to make you fold your hand? Deals don’t work out, partners steal your business and sometimes the cost of business is your relationship. But we knew this when we started, we knew it was all or nothing. I for one can’t help but think if I am going to bet against such high stakes, I am going to shoot for the biggest dream ever. Why not? I can try to design my life or I can decide not to try. If I didn’t try, I wouldn’t be an entrepreneur.
As I end my rant, I want to say that I am the hardest on us because I want so badly to see us win. We deserve it and we owe everyone who tried and lost everything an honest effort. So stop being scared of making the wrong choice, of losing what little money you have and build that empire. There will tears and doubt, but it will pass as soon as it comes. And when it’s over… well it’s never really over for an entrepreneur is it?