When I was eight I started my second business. A childhood friend, “Mimi’ and I got together and created the “MimiChelle Boutique”. (cute huh!) We made one of a kind jewelry out of telephone wire. Remember the multi-colored wires you could get by just asking the phone guy at the end of the road? We set up shop in my playhouse, put up a sign and waited eagerly for business.
Business came of course. First my family (it was at my house), then her family, then a few friends of friends. I don’t’ remember how much we sold, but probably around $5.00 in today’s money. Then after waiting around another day or so we got bored, closed shop and went about our childhood.
I still remember the thrill of selling something, of owning my own business at such a young age, telling my friends about my store and being a ‘proud entrepreneur’.
As a child it disturbed me that I had to close because of lack of sales, I just remember the thrill of being in business.
Now, fast forward a bunch of years and I’m still an entrepreneur. I’ve spent my life in sales, marketing and business management for myself and as a consultant. I still run my own business and I still love the rush of ‘being an entrepreneur’. Unlike childhood though, if sales aren’t there I’m not closing up shop. I’m forging through, finding clients, helping people and using what I know to continually expand my business.
Most of us don’t close down shop just because sales aren’t there. We don’t want to close down shop. We want business. We want it now.
Along the way I’ve worked with people who’ve had crazy entrepreneurial ideas. Sometimes just a tweak can turn a crazy idea into a terrific business model. Sometimes the crazy idea needs a marketing brainstorm and a GO button. Sometimes we need to think it through more thoroughly so that we aren’t wasting a year (or 2 or 3) making something work that no one really wants. (remember New Coke?)
I’ve discovered a few things to grow my business and generate cash but there aren’t any one stop shop answers. What works for me might not work for you. As entrepreneurs we have to try new things, push ourselves, test new models, talk to clients and customers and prospects, (and we are told to collect data, fill out worksheets and templates, create spreadsheets and pay careful attention to the numbers). What we want is to just ‘get on’ with it. Do what we love, serve our customers, make a difference.
Templates, blueprints, worksheets, formulas are great to get the juices rolling (I use them all) but at some point we want to know what makes YOUR business different, how YOU roll, what your PURPOSE is and how the heck you want to manage your life. Every business is different because as entrepreneurs we have our own spin on things. That’s why the templates only go so far. At some point you need a mentor, a coach, someone who really gets you and your business to help guide the progress and takes you to the next level, or the one after that (it’s OK to skip steps!)
If you’ve been in business a while, and you aren’t bringing in clients, or making the sort of money that you deserve, it’s time for some tweaking
Throw out your system, stop with the worksheets. Talk a long walk and regroup.
What are you doing that no longer works? Keep asking that question, then turn it around.
Don’t you love being an entrepreneur?
Leave a comment below. I want to know about your first time.