When you are in business from yourself, it is inevitable that you will face challenges. Some of the challenges I hear from mompreneurs in business for less than three years are:
- I don’t have enough customers
- I worry that I may have to get a part time job
- I am having a hard time hiring and keeping staff
- I feel like I’m drowning..I’m too busy
- There aren’t enough hours in the day
Can you relate?
What do you usually do when you are feeling frustrated with your business? Retreat? Fake it til you make it? Sure…no one likes to admit that things aren’t great, but you are actually doing yourself and your business a disservice but not making yourself vulnerable.
I’ve certainly hit my share of roadblocks. Last year I was diagnosed with Leukemia and I immediately went into fight or flight mode “Do I sell my business?” What if I get so sick that I can’t run it? I’ve been fortunate that this hasn’t impacted my business, but I’ve found by opening up about my challenges with my network, their encouragement and support lifts me up.
I’ve found these actions to be invaluable when I am faced with business roadblocks:
Ask For Help
When you share your fears and imperfections with friends and trusted colleagues, you not only get the benefit of support but you might also receive amazing advice. As women and moms, we are wired to help. It’s what we do best. I’ve seen this happen personally, when a BAM member has reached out for help because she is struggling or needs something in her business, her network jumps in to do just that. So, maybe you don’t post on Facebook that you need more customers or you’ll have to close your doors, but see if a friend or colleague will meet you for coffee and you can share what’s happening.
One of the similarities I’ve seen in all successful women and mom-owned businesses is they have a business coach. Just as an athelete can be terrific on their own, a coach brings out their potential and guides them to excellence. A coach can help you achieve the same thing in business. Many coaches focus on ensuring you are solid in the business basics: leadership, marketing, finance so that you have a solid base to start from.
For many women, our natural response when things aren’t going well is to retreat. We just want to hide out and not talk to anyone. We avoid events, networking and any activity where we have to connect. Ironically, connecting is the most important thing you need to do when you are struggling. You never know who you will meet when you put yourself out there. It could be your next client, vendor or a resource that can help your business grow in leaps and bounds.
And when you network, focus on how you can help others, instead of focusing on how you help yourself. When you take the pressure off yourself, amazing things can happen.
It also helps to recognize that all business owners struggle and as you go the struggles change (managing cash flow, challenging employees, etc.). I’d love to hear what tactics you utilize when the going gets tough.
If you are near one of our BAM chapters, come check us out – we’d love to meet you.