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The business week blog has some good advice on how to face fear when you’re an entrepreneur. Running a small business can be really stressful, lonely and filled with obstacles. I particularly like item 2:
2. Turn to someone you trust who is conservative and practical. Get their perspective—their reality check—and consider talking through your numbers or your books with them. There is no sense in letting fear run you around in circles or in getting depressed because you don’t know what to do. Sometimes a fresh take from a pragmatic ally can send you in a better direction.
What a great idea. Often entrepreneurs are so busy being positive that they fall into the trap of believing that this is the only way to be. Talking to my friends who also run small businesses sometimes makes me feel worried. Everyone seems to have a Marvellous Time With Lots Of Clients. However, when I talk to them in more detail, they often ‘embroider’ the truth a little so that others won’t notice that there are quiet times in every business. So here’s a few of the things I do when I’m ‘between jobs’ (as they say in the movies)
- Don’t worry that the invoice you’ve just submitted will be your last one.
- Continue to network. Connections made now, could bear fruit in several months time
- Don’t network just with the aim of finding new business. Often great connections refer you onwards
- If the customer doesn’t have the budget for your proposal, He often doesn’t have the budget. Ask the appropriate questions up front to save your feeling that you’re being rejected.
- Call a friend. Often they can talk you through the difficult patches and soothe your anxiety
- Use the quiet time in your calendar to do some admin, learning, research or networking. Don’t dwell on the quiet times
- Work on your online presence. Update LinkedIn, Facebook and your blog
- Extend your circle of events. Go to a new networking event – one you’re not familiar with. Your next client could be there
- Update your business plan. Go on, be honest. This should be a living document!
- Shut down the PC at a reasonable hour. Don’t burn out. Enjoy the downtime for a while and use the free time to do some thinking and planning
A little lull in business allows you to regroup and plan your strategy. It’s not the end of the world. Something will turn up from the most unexpected place. Stop worrying about it…