By Adrienne Tom
As a small business owner and independent practitioner you are likely faced with a range of challenges each and every work day.
From figuring out how to generate new sales, build your network, innovate your offerings, and balance all of the demands of working for yourself – there is never a dull moment in the life of an entrepreneur/mompreneur/ careerpreneur!
In the Fall of 2016 I was welcomed to Forbes Coaches Council to expand my own professional network. Part of my work with this group is sharing expert insights on a variety of topics each month.
Although I registered with Forbes Coaches Council under my other business (where I share job search and career tips), I also apply my business coaching background to share business insights that would be valuable to the CareerPreneur community.
A few of my recent Forbes.com contributions – along with a WEALTH of other tips and advice from industry experts – can be located in the posts below. Enjoy!
My Tip: Remember: Some Of The Best Things Happen When You’re Uncomfortable
In times of stress or discomfort, remind yourself that some of the best things happen outside a comfort zone. These experiences can both challenge you and help you grow. Commit to giving the situation a try with your best effort, and keep expectations low to alleviate additional pressure. Ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that can happen?” then focus on achieving the opposite result.
My Tip: Keep Pivoting
Innovation is often the key to long-term business success. Those who innovate stay competitive. What works can always be enhanced. What isn’t working can be improved. Trial and test, then evaluate and re-purpose to identify areas of your business that could benefit from transformation. Make changes strategically and pivot with purpose. Think ahead to stay ahead.
My Tip: Check Your Email Less Often
A huge time-sucker, and often a cause of stress and distraction, is email. According to Radicati Group, the estimated amount of emails sent and received per day, around the world, will be 246 billion by 2019. To increase productivity, set aside times throughout the work day for email. Address the urgent, flag others for follow-up and return to email only at designated times to reduce interruption.
My Tip: Step Back And Say No
Everyone faces a sea of opportunities and demands, but to excel, you must be selective and focused. You can’t ride every wave that comes along without eventually going under. Identify priorities and schedule them appropriately. Foster essentials in alignment with goals and be OK with saying no to anything that distracts you from your plan. Sometimes you are needed most “on the shore.”
My Tip: Be Consistent
Great networkers are always networking. Professionals who pursue networking only when they need something (e.g., a new job) typically don’t generate the same results as those who network continually and consistently. To raise visibility, network frequently. Create a reputation as a dependable contributor — someone who engages and shares — not just when a goal is trying to be achieved.
My Tip: Be True to You
Be authentic to who you are, the values you have, and the skills you excel at. Authenticity is imperative to branding success. Avoid pressure to constantly reinvent yourself or overstate and inflate your message. A simple articulation of who you are and what you are good at – shared succinctly and clearly – will suffice to nail down your brand.
My Tip: Adapt Your Communication Style
We all gravitate toward people we like and relate to. To close deals, top sales professionals need to recognize and adapt their communication style for different audiences. Demonstrating flexibility in communications and approach — and modifying strategies for each unique target — is paramount to information sharing, buy-in, and winning the sale.
My Tip: Engage Difficulties
If you are finding it hard to get engaged with people or projects at work, it could be a sign of burnout. To help get yourself back on track, try to identify the root cause and seek support from peers, management, or professionals. Burnout is often due to overwork or a mismatch in work and skills. Addressing the issue of burnout is important to avoid progression into depression or illness.
My Tip: Focus On The Quality Of Your Work, Not The Quantity
Clocking more hours doesn’t always translate into better results. Demonstrate value through continual professional development. Take on new tasks. Make it a priority to exceed deliverables with valued insights and outcomes. Your reputation as a dependable, qualified worker will certainly start to outshine those who work long but produce less.
My Tip: Expand Your Knowledge
Start by identifying areas, topics, or skills you feel less confident about and work to address them. Professional development (classes, volunteer work, special projects) can expand your knowledge base and eradicate uncertainties. For example, if you struggle with speaking/sharing with peers in meetings, join Toastmasters. The more you know, the less you will second-guess yourself.
My Tip: Listen More Than You Talk
Start by building and fostering relationships where you do more listening than talking. Learn about the needs of others, and identify ways to align yourself with their requirements. By demonstrating clear value, you won’t need to conduct hard sales or pressuring networking tactics to get people to hear you out. Listening to learn puts others first, helping build trust to secure investments.
Although I didn’t personally contribute to this post, it contains valuable information worth sharing – to help you GROW your business!
— Adrienne Tom is Co-Founder of CareerPreneur Partners and Founder of Career Impressions.
Got a burning business challenge? Reach out via email to let us know how we can help here at CareerPreneur Partners: firstname.lastname@example.org . We support small business professionals and career pros with the resolution of a wide range of business challenges.