I was watching Galaxy Quest last night. It's a send-up of the original Star Trek and Jason Nesmith has a brilliant catchphrase ...
As Jason says often, "Never Give Up, Never Surrender!" But what weapons do you need in your armoury to make that statement true?
It is hard work being an entrepreneur, isn't it? In the early years of your business you'll sacrifice your social life in favour of your work diary, your finances will probably be all over the place and, sitting in your office late at night, you'll find it to be a very lonely place - even if you do have friends and family to support you financially or emotionally.
As many of you know, the last few years have been very challenging for me and with everything that's happened many people on the business scene in Milton Keynes - friends and clients alike - have patted me on the back and told me how proud they are of me for hanging in there. It's really meant a lot to me.
So how have I actually managed to keep going? What weapons did I use to grow my client base and double my income in just a few short months, then rescue what was essentially a stalled company after my near fatal illness? It's no secret, it's certainly not magic!
Apart from the obvious great product or service, there are five things you need.
You have to take 100% of the responsibility for every decision you make and how it affects your future. Blaming anyone else but yourself for any woes you may be experiencing right now is not going to get you anywhere.
Although it is very easy to give up when times are hard, the resolve to take responsibility and push forward against all challenges that are thrown your way will result in a positive outcome.
Every entrepreneur starts a business believing that they have something to offer and know it is so great that no one would consider turning it down. Then along the way we face the knocks that are a natural part of business life, but we can't let them shake our self-belief can we?
You have to believe in your product or service and, of course, yourself. I've always believed in LNK URL="https://www.sblogit.com" Title="sblogit.com"} and how it can help small businesses. Why else would I have spent the last seven years working all hours to develop it and continue to promote it to the business community across Milton Keynes, Northampton and beyond?
Self-belief on the inside results in passion on the outside - "as you think, so shall you be" - so start believing in yourself and show everyone the passion for what you're doing.
Finding clients is the hardest thing in the world for a small business, isn't it? Why should they trust you when there are a whole host of other, larger companies that can help? You're going to get knocked back a lot until you can prove the effectiveness of your product or service. Flexibility in your own behaviour is always a good thing and persistence is at the core of this.
Make a deal, add value to the proposition, give the odd freebie or set up a service exchange. Do what it takes to kick-start your client base. But eventually - although you may not get an immediate avalanche of enquiries - the snowball will start rolling on its own and people will begin to come to you.
Your clients will only continue to do business with you if they get a consistent standard of service from you. If you say you're going to do something on a specific day and at an agreed time, then do it, ok? No excuses! Promising things then not delivering can be fatal.
I'm very fortunate that I've built the entire sblogit.com platform myself as it has allowed me to systemise everything I do, which makes my life much easier! For example, my clients always know that they will get a scheduling email when they submit their words, an approval email once they've been edited and a publication email once it's gone live.
They know that I'll share out their post to my own networks and encourage the rest of The Sblogerati to do the same. My business contacts know they will get my top pick's email on a Friday and there's a whole host of other things I do at specific times during the week.
Consistency goes a long way because it makes it much easier for clients to do business with you. If a client knows that you will treat them exactly the same way every time they place an order then why would they want to go anywhere else? Why do you think McDonald's has been such a success? Consistency!
It is so important to be happy in all of your online and offline interactions, even if the people you're talking to can't do anything for you. In your business world, never post, share or say anything that makes you look sad, unhappy or even stressed out - even if you are!
You want to be approachable, friendly and helpful at all times so that people know they can ask for your advice and assistance when they need it. Remember that givers always gain! Be a little ray of sunshine and people will want to be around you and you quickly become someone who gets invited to events, business socials and, of course, referred.
Responsibility, self-belief, persistence, consistency and happiness are five of my core values and I'll continue to uphold them as long as I have breath in my body. Just like Jason and his crew - I will "never give up, never surrender!" and this attitude has most definitely contributed to my growth over the years.
So what's in your armoury? What weapons do you have to rely on in the pursuit of your dreams?
If anything I've mentioned here resonates with you, do call me on 0333 335 0420 and let's see how I can help.