On Monday, I spoke with Lauren Brophy from the Apple Valley Inn B&B and the Candy Apple Shoppes about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. There were three big take-aways for me.
1. Value your employees and your customers
2. Life has a lot more to offer than just your day job
3. It takes heart, passion, resilience, and perseverance to be a successful entrepreneur.
I wanted to share more of my thoughts on these ideas.
Valuing employees and customers
We are facing an unprecedented crisis with the on-going pandemic. Businesses, employees and customers are feeling stressed by the unknown. As an entrepreneur, you know that cash flow is vital to your business. Without your customers and those loyal, dedicated employees, you will have no cash flow.
Lauren spoke of the gratitude she and Leigh have for their employees. She spoke about seeing them as part of an extended family. Small businesses are in a wonderful position to embrace their employees, take the time to get to know them personally and speak with them honestly about some of the tough decisions they are facing. It is the uncertainty that causes the most stress. When you honestly share with your employees, they are more willing to be part of the solution.
When your employees trust you, they convey that feeling to your customers. Truly, with a small business it is all about the relationships. Nurture your relationships with your customers, with your employees and with your partners. If any of those are not strong, your business will not be strong for long. Letting people know that you appreciate them, goes a long way.
Life has a lot more to offer than just your day job
We do spend more hours at our day job than anywhere else … unless we are retired. For many people, their day job is what defines them. Without that, they wonder who they would be. This is a dilemma I hear a lot when I coach people about preparing for what they are going to do when they step away from full time work. They have been so busy with work that they have not nurtured their most important relationships, they have forgotten some of the things they used to do as a child or young adult that brought them joy, or maybe they have not developed any new hobbies or interests that they can look forward to. This can be very frightening.
The truth is that life DOES have a lot more to offer than just your day job, and YOU CAN find those things. They are different for all of us. For some, it may be giving yourself time to read just for fun. For some, it may be planting a garden. For others it could be a beach vacation, or a skiing trip, developing an interest in a craft, or maybe volunteering.
For most of us, the human connections are especially important. Research by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) has found that loneliness and social isolation lead to a higher risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and death. This knowledge alone shows you how important it is to take the time to reconnect with those who are closest to you.
What are you going to do today, that is not part of your day job?
Heart, Passion, Resilience and Perseverance of the Entrepreneur
Passion for what you do fuels your heart as you go forward. It can get you through a tough day and restore your belief in your vision. With passion and heart, you take responsibility for your business and ride the waves of your setbacks, learn from them, and learn to celebrate your successes. You can also fuel your passion by making sure you are having fun. If you are constantly stressed out, it is going to be tough to stay passionate, so make sure you remember what is fun about what you are doing.
Just like Heart and Passion support each other, I believe Resilience and Perseverance support each other. Resilience is when life gives you lemons and you make lemonade. Perseverance is when you take those lemons and keep squeezing them, stirring in the sugar and water to get to that delicious finished juice.
This pandemic has tested the heart, passion, resilience and perseverance of many entrepreneurs. Those that are finding the belief in themselves, in their mission, are finding ways to pivot and keep moving forward. Sometimes life’s lessons are not easy, but the entrepreneur will continue to look for the silver lining and ways to continue to deliver on their vision.