Growing a Baby-Business through the Troubling-Teenage years.
Puberty had hit!
Something has happened in our house. Realistically, it has been building for a while, but it really hit home this week. My daughter was feeling anxious about a decision she had to make and we were chatting back and forth over cups of tea, when she abruptly said “You know, I really need to hear from Jess on this.” She jumped up, headed to her phone for her bestie’s advice…while I was left at the table drinking my tea alone.
Now, before you start sobbing, I’m fairly practical and I knew this day would come. I recognise my teen is in a time of growth and self discovery, finding who they are and where they fit in the world. They need and value the input from their peers more than their parents. So what advice did her bestie give? We’ll come back to that later!
Growing a small business can feel the same as raising kids. When your business is in its baby stage, it is tiny and takes up a lot of time, energy and focus. After a while it begins to take on a life, a personality, a place in the world of its own – you’ve hit the teenage years.
How do I, raising a small business, get through the rocky years of navigating my business’ place in the world, while still being able to feed my family and put fuel in the car? While I have plenty of valuable resources available to me as a parent of a teen, and many places I can turn for advice, the world of small business advice can be tricky to negotiate.
Not all advice is free.
Not all advice is valuable.
Not all advice is applicable.
Not all advice is practical.
What do we recommend? The answer is simple:
Find your TEAM.
Your team should be crafted from people who share your values and belief in your business. Who are invested in seeing you grow.
An accountant who specialises in small business, not just the “big fish”.
A marketing team who can train you to manage what you can’t yet afford to outsource.
A business coach who helps keep you accountable to making decisions and action to-do’s on time.
A PR team who teaches you how to engage with your customers for the long-term relationship build.
When your team works together to support and advise, you will begin to hear similar themed advice trickling through. Which makes it easier to stay on track, and make the right decisions.
- Your accountant notes it is less expensive to retain clients for repeat work.
- Your marketing team has a plan on how to re-target your warm audience.
- Your business coach sees value in retaining your clientele and sets goals with you.
- Your PR team has strategies to help your business offer a continually high standard of customer satisfaction to retain customers.
….and hey presto! As similar themed information begins trickling through, this confirms a good path for you to take and you begin to work on retaining clientele instead of focusing all your energy on new customers.
Consistent, valuable advice should be offered from a team. Be wary if one voice in your team is yelling louder and at a different level than the others – you need to reconsider their place in your business. Be especially wary of those in your team who disparage other voices that disagree with theirs. A good team will honour and listen to advice you bring to the table from others across your team.
- Your accountant does not feel you are ready financially to put on a staff member to help with administrative tasks.
- However, your marketing team is concerned you are taking a long time to respond to feedback forms and new enquiries, which is slowing down your business turnover.
- Your business coach has noted you are drowning under the weight of the administrative tasks, and suggested you outsource to a staff member.
- Your PR team is concerned as customer satisfaction is dropping due to the time it takes to complete the tasks and respond to requests. Customers love your work, but the delays are killing repeat orders.
We’re all in this together!
When your business goals and values align within your team
When you take your concerns from your team back to your accountant. They listen, and then reconsider, noting that while you are still not quite financially ready, your business is going to suffer further if you don’t stretch. Reassessing your financial situation, they make some suggestions and together you come up with a cash-flow plan to put on a part-time admin help. A good place to start.
That’s how it should work. Working together, finding ways to help grow your business, and tackle growing issues as they arise.
So, how did it work out with my daughter?
She strolled back into the kitchen, “Jess is so smart Mum. She said I should do … ”. As she turned and tipped her (now cold) tea down the sink, I just smiled to myself. My daughter’s bestie had shared advice which was literally word-for-word what I had just said!
When surrounded by a good team, our businesses (and teens!) will thrive.
Choose your team wisely, and they will see you through the turbulence of those troubling teenage years.