Starting a small business can feel overwhelming. There’s a super steep learning curve, whether you’re switching industries or starting completely from scratch.
The good news is, the vast majority of small business owners don’t have MBAs (myself included) or much, if any, formal training on how to start and run a business.
You’re a scrappy entrepreneur with a product or service you know the world needs. You eat, sleep, and breathe your offering. But sometimes you feel bogged down in the details, all the stuff you knew would be a part of running your business, but you weren’t quite sure how to do it yourself, and you don’t have the capital (yet!) to outsource it.
You feel stuck. You feel discouraged. You wonder if you should just give up already.
BUT WAIT! STOP!
The secret to beating those uninspired feelings is to realign with the “why” that motivated you to start your business.
This is also good to get a handle on if you haven’t launched your small business yet, but you’re feeling like you might be onto something that could change lives, both for you and your customers.
To realign with your business “why”, ask yourself two mirrored questions:
- What gets you out of bed in the morning?
- What keeps you up at night?
The answer to question 1 is the first part of your “why.”
It may be as practical as, “I need to provide for my family” or as profound as, “I need to share what I know with the world.” Try to distill it down to one or two words.
Either way, something makes your feet hit the floor when the alarm goes off.
And something [else?] makes you feel valuable and inspired. Follow that when making decisions about your business.
Any person who has suffered from depression, ADHD, or any number of other disabilities and chronic conditions will tell you: Anticipate periods of lesser energy by planning and automating and systematizing when you feel at your best. Check out this post I wrote about following your natural rhythms if you need prompting to recognize these higher-energy times.
The answer to question 2 is your pain point. Up in the morning is joy, up at night is pain/fear.
This might be something like, “I don’t feel like I fit in anywhere,” or “I worry about being a good partner,” or “I don’t have the right skills to do what I want to do.” [Surprise, these are some of mine!]
Consider whether you would purchase your own product or service. Are you serving a clientele who have the same fears and struggles as you?
When you’re a writer, you might hear people advise you to “write what you know.” The same applies to conceptualizing your business. Sell a product or service that solves a problem that you, a loved one, or your community had, before your offering came along. That way, you will understand your ideal customer’s pain points intimately. Your content will feel authentic and you will feel fulfilled in offering a solution.
Your joy plus your pain/fear is what motivated you to start your business.
Think of it like this:
[what brings you joy] + [the problem it solves] = YOUR BUSINESS WHY!
In taking the leap to start your small business you decide to start living according to possibility rather than obligation.
What’s your business “why”? Still not sure? Contact me to uncover your vision through a collaborative visioning document and company style guide!