According to TD Canada Trust Small Business Survey 2011, Small business owners say the top benefits of owning their own business are the sense of personal achievement (96%) and being able to help their customers and clients (96%). Other benefits are being their own boss (94%), being in control of their own destiny (94%) and the opportunity to make more money (85%).
Statistics Canada reports over 950,000 self-employed women in Canada as of 2012, up from over 790,000 10 years ago. While they enjoyed being their own boss, they are also facing some major challenges.
Challenge #1: Work & Life balance.
Small business owners work an average of 49 hours per week. As a result, many small business owners find it difficult to separate their business life from their personal life, and the vast majority admits they can never truly stop thinking about their business. What’s predictable from there is accumulative stress and exhaustion and they bring that to their home, relationships problems, misunderstandings, sickness, divorce. I work with all my clients to create structure to maintain their well-being, by doing the simple things, such as take a 30 minute lunch break outside of their office. Consistency is the key. We could only go so far without loving ourselves.
Challenge #2: To create a system for getting and keeping customers and clients.
How do you create clients and customers? “SALES” does not work. Nobody wants to sell. Nobody wants to be sold to.
Building relationships starting from distinguishing what’s your what-for, from there you will create customers and clients. There are many tools and they are effective when you are from your commitment.
Challenge #3: Without a Business Plan or with an outdated one.
Don’t be surprised. There are many entrepreneurs are either not bothering to write one, or not being clear about the purpose of their business plan. If your product or service is not meeting performance levels, you may have to refresh your business plan. One of the clients I’ve worked with was in the business for about 5 years and her challenge was to build a sales team. We built a project plan and within 4 months we have created a team of 3 and her income had doubled.
Another great tool is to get outside advice – create a support system and sounding board. Small businesses usually feel isolated and unsure about who to ask for advice and feedback. Consider joining a local association that offer peer discussion and feedback. Talk to someone you believe is successful and get them to mentor you.