My Blog

By Helen Jamieson

A toe in the water… Can you really afford to hold your business back any longer?

30 September

woman-and-starting-line-in-race

I often speak to groups of business women or students at university about entrepreneurship and having your own business. In every group there are those who are only ‘half heartedly’ in business. They are the ones who say ‘I’ll see how it goes, before thinking about taking it seriously’, or ‘I’m not sure what I’m doing so I’ll keep it small’, or ‘it’s just a hobby really, something to keep me busy and bring a bit of money in’.

I’m sure you know what I am talking about and perhaps you can recall hearing yourself or a friend saying these same words or something very similar?

I do understand why we would wish to ‘dip our toe in the water’ when it comes to setting up in business, but do we understand how much this can cost us?  I understand about fears, anxieties, minimising the risk, testing our skills, building our confidence bit by bit etc. but do we fully understand how the limiting beliefs that we permit to roll around in our heads can damage our business before it has even begun?

Limiting beliefs

From various sources I have heard it suggested that as much as 80% of our ‘head talk’ is negative. If 80% is typical, what percentage figure would you suggest for what passes through your head? Whatever the percentage is for you, you have to get your head thinking positive thoughts if you are to get good at promoting yourself and your business. Positive thinking and focus are the way to achieve a solid, sustainable, successful business. Limiting beliefs and negative thinking are not.

We women are known for our passion, our enthusiasm, our determination and our resilience, but if we talk our business down by suggesting that it’s no more than an ‘experiment’ or a trial, we do ourselves a disservice.

And what better way to change our head talk from negative to positive than writing ourselves a business plan with clear steps and goals? Committing your plans and your vision to paper is the first step to achieving your goals.

Taking control

Instead of our head talk being around ‘what if I fail’, ‘will I sell anything’, ‘what if they don’t like me’, your business plan will give you a focus to start thinking about ‘how can I achieve the £1M turnover in my plan’, ‘what do I need to do to attend those first 10 sales in my plan’, ‘how can I maximise my networking opportunities’, ‘where do I recruit my first employee that I need to service the clients I intend to bring in to deliver on my targets’.

And a business plan doesn’t have to be complicated. Just a few simple steps along the lines of:

  • What is my vision?
  • How do I envision my business building (i.e. what are the key stages of development) over the next 1, 3 and 5 years?
  • What are my main revenue streams (you might have just one revenue stream)?
  • What are my unique selling points (USPs) to make me stand out from my competitors?
  • What sales will I achieve for each of my revenue streams in my first year?
  • Where will those come from i.e. what are the critical areas of sales activity for me?
  • What infrastructure do I need to ensure I can bring those sales in, deliver the goods/services and invoice/credit control?
  • What resources do I need to achieve my goals (e.g. people, information, products)
  • What skills do I personally need to develop to ensure success of my business and when will I develop those by?

If you don’t have a plan in place, I urge you to start creating one today.

Then, to banish the 80% negativity from your head for good, put your plan on the wall, use it as wallpaper on your phone or tablet and put it beside your bed or on your mirror. For now, it’s time for positive thinking, dreaming those dreams, having faith in yourself (as others already do) and of course, shouting it all from the rooftops because you know what you are doing and now, with a clear plan in place, you know how you are going to get there.

No more tentative ‘toes in the water’!

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