Small Business Fatigue!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog on Job Search Fatigue focused on job seekers who were truly exhausted after months of dedicated job searching.  The topic hit a cord with many.  But it was not only job seekers but also small business owners that responded with their own stories.  They described a very similar fatigue that has resulted in some owners simply closing their doors or scaling back their businesses to a skeleton operation. Many have taken on other jobs – full or part-time – to just pay the bills leaving little time to nurture their own businesses.

These owners have been riding a roller coaster of economic news since early 2009 – coming up on three years.  Sometimes it’s up and sometimes it’s down. They don’t discourage easily but they will admit that it’s been exhausting for those sole proprietors in the service industries; small family-run businesses and those slightly larger businesses with a handful of employees. There’s just not much room for extended financial losses.

A Powerful Shift in Perspective & Expectations

Over this past weekend, my career coach colleague, Ann Boyer, M.ED, CCMC suggested shifting our perspective and expectations to be more in alignment with the changes in today’s work world.  As we talked, we identified a powerful shift in mind set that might just work for you.

So here is something to think about.  It is a different way to approach your business growth next year.  It is a shift in both your perspective and your expectations.  I’m assuming that you’ve pared things down as much as you can – you are slim and trim and still in business.

So start with you having an honest chat with yourself and ask “Do I really want to stay in business?”  And if that answer is unequivocally “yes” that you have your end goal.  You have the entrepreneur heart!

Next, set the financial expectations aside as much as you can.  If you can pay for your rent, your overhead costs and essential house expenses you’re good to go.  Worrying about the money, the bills and how things have changed only drains your mental and physical energy.  You are reacting from fear and it only holds you back.

3 Ways to Continue to Be a “Valuable Presence”

So for now shift your energy and focus on becoming “a valuable presence” in your community.  You actually may have several communities – local, virtual, professional networks etc.  But concentrate on your “presence”.  You are still here and you’re going to stay.

Do this by concentrating on providing value each day, week and month to your communities.  Here’s three ways to do this – do all three since they build and compliment each other.

  1. Stay Active (with colleagues, organizations, activities etc.)
  2. Stay Engaged (put energy & enthusiasm into everything)
  3. Stay Focused (know what is important to you – avoid detours)

And remember you bring “value” in part because you still are here and you provide history and continuity to your community.  And on a good day, whip up a list (or send out a survey monkey) of all the value you bring to your customers, your colleagues, bosses etc.  You will be pleasantly surprised how others see and appreciate your value over the long run!


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