Have you ever thought about starting your own business? I’ve thought about it many times. After all, I like to have the flexibility of doing something from home so I can still be with the kids. Blogging here on Urbanmoms, as well as running my own site and contributing to other sites (yes, I’m addicted), fills the void of keeping busy for sure!
There’s no shortage of small businesses to celebrate. In fact, 98 per cent according to stats Canada. But with 15% of new businesses failing within the first year and a staggering 49% that close within their fifth year, the question is:
How can you ensure your small business makes it to its sixth birthday?
Tanya Dodaro, Mompreneur and Co-Founder of On Q Communications Inc., a boutique PR and Social Media firm in Toronto is about to celebrate her 10th anniversary in business and here’s what she has to say to all start-up Small Business Owners:
Celebrate the benefits of owning your own business.
As as entrepreneur, you have the ability to unleash your potential, there is nothing stopping you from reaching any goal. Tanya says one of the biggest motivators is knowing that “Sky is the limit, in the world of entrepreneurship there is no red tape, no ceiling to stop your creativity or such thing as a set salary.”
There is no question that the mobile office is a common theme in both large and small corporations, but with small businesses especially, this is something to embrace.
Tanya encourages all business owners to take advantage of the flexibility and remember why you started on this self-employed journey.
“One of the reasons I started my own business was because I had the “be your own boss mentality,” I wanted to have a flexible lifestyle, it doesn’t mean I work less, I just work smarter…where I want and when I want.”
Learn to Adapt.
The business and service that you start today may not be the same one five years from now and that’s okay. It’s important to learn to adapt your business goals and services based on the changing environment. Don’t be married to your business plan if it doesn’t ‘fit’ with what your customers need or want any more. Know what you are good at providing to your customers but don’t be adverse to “going with the flow”.
“When we started 10 years ago, social media was not on our service menu, it didn’t even exist,” states Dodaro. “We learned that our clients were in need of social media strategies and execution and in order to fully service them, social media became a must. Today we are proud to offer a combination of PR and Social Media services that essentially work hand-in-hand.”
Don’t be afraid to create your perfect world.
It’s important to continue to embrace that courage that made you start your business in the first place. Don’t be afraid to take risks and go after what you want, even when the people that are closest to you are telling you to be cautious.
“In the end, it’s just about going with your gut and have the courage to take a risk, whether it’s your first year of business or your 10th. If you have done your research and know there is a need in the marketplace, have the confidence to move forward.”
Nine years later, Tanya has started a daycare beside her office to further embrace the work/life balance – despite the hesitation from her close circle. “I’m glad I went ahead with the daycare and now I can walk over and visit my two daughters during my lunch or any other time.”
Learn to compartmentalize the mix of family, business and pleasure.
There’s no question that many small businesses are comprised of family members. Dodaro’s Co-Partner is non-other than her sister-in-law, Livia. How have they managed to work side-by-side at work and then spend even more time together at family functions? The answer is simple: Compartmentalize.
“As the business grows, you learn to grow into your role as business partners and the true skill is learning how to respect each other, allow for mistakes and embrace the relationship you have as family members on a separate level. This was one of the most difficult things to control when we first started out, but you have to realize you can wear many different hats in life, and how you act and react is determined by what hat you are wearing at that time. When you have your work hat on you have to beable to make decisions based on what is best for the business without adding external emotions to the mix. It’s tough but you have to do it.”
So, have you ever thought about starting your own business? What’s holding you back?